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The Most Famous


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This page contains a list of the greatest Hungarian Mathematicians. The pantheon dataset contains 823 Mathematicians, 20 of which were born in Hungary. This makes Hungary the birth place of the 10th most number of Mathematicians behind Ukraine and Switzerland.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Hungarian Mathematicians of all time. This list of famous Hungarian Mathematicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Hungarian Mathematicians.

Photo of John von Neumann

1. John von Neumann (1903 - 1957)

With an HPI of 77.46, John von Neumann is the most famous Hungarian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 93 different languages on wikipedia.

John von Neumann ( von NOY-mən; Hungarian: Neumann János Lajos [ˈnɒjmɒn ˈjaːnoʃ ˈlɒjoʃ]; (December 28, 1903 – February 8, 1957) was a Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, engineer and polymath. He had perhaps the widest coverage of any mathematician of his time, integrating pure and applied sciences and making major contributions to many fields, including mathematics, physics, economics, computing, and statistics. He was a pioneer in building the mathematical framework of quantum physics, in the development of functional analysis, and in game theory, introducing or codifying concepts including cellular automata, the universal constructor and the digital computer. His analysis of the structure of self-replication preceded the discovery of the structure of DNA. During World War II, von Neumann worked on the Manhattan Project. He developed the mathematical models behind the explosive lenses used in the implosion-type nuclear weapon. Before and after the war, he consulted for many organizations including the Office of Scientific Research and Development, the Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory, the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. At the peak of his influence in the 1950s, he chaired a number of Defense Department committees including the Strategic Missile Evaluation Committee and the ICBM Scientific Advisory Committee. He was also a member of the influential Atomic Energy Commission in charge of all atomic energy development in the country. He played a key role alongside Bernard Schriever and Trevor Gardner in the design and development of the United States' first ICBM programs. At that time he was considered the nation's foremost expert on nuclear weaponry and the leading defense scientist at the Pentagon. Von Neumann's contributions and intellectual ability drew praise from colleagues in physics, mathematics, and beyond. Accolades he received range from the Medal of Freedom to a crater on the Moon named in his honor.

Photo of Paul Erdős

2. Paul Erdős (1913 - 1996)

With an HPI of 66.35, Paul Erdős is the 2nd most famous Hungarian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 63 different languages.

Paul Erdős (Hungarian: Erdős Pál [ˈɛrdøːʃ ˈpaːl]; 26 March 1913 – 20 September 1996) was a Hungarian mathematician. He was one of the most prolific mathematicians and producers of mathematical conjectures of the 20th century. Erdős pursued and proposed problems in discrete mathematics, graph theory, number theory, mathematical analysis, approximation theory, set theory, and probability theory. Much of his work centered around discrete mathematics, cracking many previously unsolved problems in the field. He championed and contributed to Ramsey theory, which studies the conditions in which order necessarily appears. Overall, his work leaned towards solving previously open problems, rather than developing or exploring new areas of mathematics. Erdős published around 1,500 mathematical papers during his lifetime, a figure that remains unsurpassed. He firmly believed mathematics to be a social activity, living an itinerant lifestyle with the sole purpose of writing mathematical papers with other mathematicians. He was known both for his social practice of mathematics, working with more than 500 collaborators, and for his eccentric lifestyle; Time magazine called him "The Oddball's Oddball". He devoted his waking hours to mathematics, even into his later years—indeed, his death came at a mathematics conference in Warsaw. Erdős's prolific output with co-authors prompted the creation of the Erdős number, the number of steps in the shortest path between a mathematician and Erdős in terms of co-authorships.

Photo of George Pólya

3. George Pólya (1887 - 1985)

With an HPI of 60.45, George Pólya is the 3rd most famous Hungarian Mathematician.  Her biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

George Pólya (; Hungarian: Pólya György, pronounced [ˈpoːjɒ ˈɟørɟ]; December 13, 1887 – September 7, 1985) was a Hungarian-American mathematician. He was a professor of mathematics from 1914 to 1940 at ETH Zürich and from 1940 to 1953 at Stanford University. He made fundamental contributions to combinatorics, number theory, numerical analysis and probability theory. He is also noted for his work in heuristics and mathematics education. He has been described as one of The Martians, an informal category which included one of his most famous students at ETH Zurich, John von Neumann.

Photo of Marcel Grossmann

4. Marcel Grossmann (1878 - 1936)

With an HPI of 59.35, Marcel Grossmann is the 4th most famous Hungarian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Marcel Grossmann (April 9, 1878 – September 7, 1936) was a Swiss mathematician and a friend and classmate of Albert Einstein. Grossmann was a member of an old Swiss family from Zürich. His father managed a textile factory. He became a Professor of Mathematics at the Federal Polytechnic School in Zürich, today the ETH Zurich, specializing in descriptive geometry.

Photo of Rudolf E. Kálmán

5. Rudolf E. Kálmán (1930 - 2016)

With an HPI of 55.35, Rudolf E. Kálmán is the 5th most famous Hungarian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Rudolf Emil Kálmán (May 19, 1930 – July 2, 2016) was a Hungarian-American electrical engineer, mathematician, and inventor. He is most noted for his co-invention and development of the Kalman filter, a mathematical algorithm that is widely used in signal processing, control systems, and guidance, navigation and control. For this work, U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Kálmán the National Medal of Science on October 7, 2009.

Photo of John G. Kemeny

6. John G. Kemeny (1926 - 1992)

With an HPI of 53.59, John G. Kemeny is the 6th most famous Hungarian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.

John George Kemeny (born Kemény János György; May 31, 1926 – December 26, 1992) was a Hungarian-born American mathematician, computer scientist, and educator best known for co-developing the BASIC programming language in 1964 with Thomas E. Kurtz. Kemeny served as the 13th President of Dartmouth College from 1970 to 1981 and pioneered the use of computers in college education. Kemeny chaired the presidential commission that investigated the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. According to György Marx he was one of The Martians.

Photo of László Lovász

7. László Lovász (1948 - )

With an HPI of 53.43, László Lovász is the 7th most famous Hungarian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

László Lovász (Hungarian: [ˈlovaːs ˈlaːsloː]; born March 9, 1948) is a Hungarian mathematician and professor emeritus at Eötvös Loránd University, best known for his work in combinatorics, for which he was awarded the 2021 Abel Prize jointly with Avi Wigderson. He was the president of the International Mathematical Union from 2007 to 2010 and the president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences from 2014 to 2020. In graph theory, Lovász's notable contributions include the proofs of Kneser's conjecture and the Lovász local lemma, as well as the formulation of the Erdős–Faber–Lovász conjecture. He is also one of the eponymous authors of the LLL lattice reduction algorithm.

Photo of Peter Lax

8. Peter Lax (1926 - )

With an HPI of 52.05, Peter Lax is the 8th most famous Hungarian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Peter David Lax (born Lax Péter Dávid; 1 May 1926) is a Hungarian-born American mathematician and Abel Prize laureate working in the areas of pure and applied mathematics. Lax has made important contributions to integrable systems, fluid dynamics and shock waves, solitonic physics, hyperbolic conservation laws, and mathematical and scientific computing, among other fields. In a 1958 paper Lax stated a conjecture about matrix representations for third order hyperbolic polynomials which remained unproven for over four decades. Interest in the "Lax conjecture" grew as mathematicians working in several different areas recognized the importance of its implications in their field, until it was finally proven to be true in 2003.

Photo of Paul Halmos

9. Paul Halmos (1916 - 2006)

With an HPI of 51.09, Paul Halmos is the 9th most famous Hungarian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Paul Richard Halmos (Hungarian: Halmos Pál; March 3, 1916 – October 2, 2006) was a Hungarian-born American mathematician and statistician who made fundamental advances in the areas of mathematical logic, probability theory, statistics, operator theory, ergodic theory, and functional analysis (in particular, Hilbert spaces). He was also recognized as a great mathematical expositor. He has been described as one of The Martians.

Photo of Frigyes Riesz

10. Frigyes Riesz (1880 - 1956)

With an HPI of 50.83, Frigyes Riesz is the 10th most famous Hungarian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

Frigyes Riesz (Hungarian: Riesz Frigyes, pronounced [ˈriːs ˈfriɟɛʃ], sometimes spelled as Frederic; 22 January 1880 – 28 February 1956) was a Hungarian mathematician who made fundamental contributions to functional analysis, as did his younger brother Marcel Riesz.

Pantheon has 20 people classified as mathematicians born between 1878 and 1948. Of these 20, 3 (15.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living mathematicians include László Lovász, Peter Lax, and Endre Szemerédi. The most famous deceased mathematicians include John von Neumann, Paul Erdős, and George Pólya. As of April 2022, 3 new mathematicians have been added to Pantheon including George Pólya, Rózsa Péter, and Cornelius Lanczos.

Living Mathematicians

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Deceased Mathematicians

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Newly Added Mathematicians (2022)

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Which Mathematicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 16 most globally memorable Mathematicians since 1700.