Who changed the world?

Table of Contents

Teachers Change Lives

It is not an exaggeration to say that a great teacher can change a student’s life. There are an endless amount of great teacher stories that attest to the benefits of a strong relationship between an educator and pupil.

As some of the most influential role models for developing students, teachers are responsible for more than just academic enrichment. If you want to be a great educator, you must connect with your pupils and reach them on multiple levels, because the best teachers are committed to their students’ well-being both inside and outside the classroom. By forging strong relationships, educators are able to affect virtually every aspect of their students’ lives, teaching them the important life lessons that will help them succeed beyond term papers and standardized tests.

It is not always easy to change a student’s life, which is why it takes a great teacher to do so. Some just need an extra push like the student whose math grade is just a few points shy from the A that will give them a 4.0 GPA; others may be going through something troubling in their personal lives and need someone to talk to. Whatever the student needs to help them excel, a life-changing teacher will be there for them.

While you will spend your entire career learning the different ways you can change your students’ lives, here are three aspects that are directly affected by great teachers:

1. Education

A great teacher makes learning fun, as stimulating, engaging lessons are pivotal to a student’s academic success. Some students who are more prone to misbehavior, truancy or disengagement are more dependent on an engaging teacher. Making your classroom an exciting environment for learning will hold the students’ fascination, and students learn best when they are both challenged and interested. It’s part of motivating students, which may not be easy, but which will benefit students immeasurably in the long run.

2. Inspiration

Have you ever had a teacher who inspired you to work harder or pursue a particular goal? Were you inspired to become an educator by one of your own great teachers?

Inspiring students is integral to ensuring their success and encouraging them to fulfil their potential. Students who are inspired by their teachers can accomplish amazing things, and that motivation almost always stays with them. Inspiration can also take many forms, from helping a pupil through the academic year and their short-term goals, to guiding them towards their future career. Years after graduation, many working professionals will still cite a particular teacher as the one who fostered their love of what they currently do and attribute their accomplishments to that educator.

3. Guidance

Teachers can also be a trusted source of advice for students weighing important life decisions. Educators can help their pupils pursue higher education, explore career opportunities and compete in events they might otherwise have not thought themselves able to. Students often look to their teachers as mentors with experience and knowledge, and, as an educator, you will almost definitely be asked for advice at some point during your career.

Did you know that one in four students drops out of school or that every nine seconds, another student drops out? Dropping out is a decision that students won’t likely come to you about, but an adept teacher can notice the indications that a student is struggling and intervene before it’s too late. Aside from educating them on the hard facts about dropping out, teachers can also help assess the problem and figure out an alternative. In such situations, teachers undoubtedly have the ability to change the lives of students.

Why family relationships are important

Good family relationships are enjoyable for their own sake – it just feels good to be part of a warm and loving family.

But good family relationships are important for lots of other reasons too. They:

  • make children feel secure and loved, which helps their brains develop
  • can help to overcome difficulties with children’s eating, sleeping, learning and behaviour
  • make it easier for your family to solve problems and resolve conflict
  • help you and your children respect differences of opinion as your children develop more independence
  • give children the skills they need to build healthy relationships of their own.

This is why it’s always worth looking at the relationships you share with your children and other family members, and thinking about how you can improve them.

As a parent, you’re doing the best you can for your children, probably while you’re juggling work, friends, household management and more. But even for the busiest of parents, there are plenty of easy things you can do to develop good family relationships.

Good family relationships are an important part of strong families. Strong families grow from love, security, communication, connection – and a few rules and routines too.

Quality time and family relationships

Quality family time can happen anywhere. It’s about making the most of the time you spend together. Here are some ways you can make quality time happen in your family:

  • Use everyday time together to talk and share a laugh. For example, family meals and car travel can be great times to catch up on the day.
  • Have one-on-one chats with each family member to strengthen individual relationships. It can just be five minutes before each child goes to bed.
  • Set aside time with your partner, if you have one. It can be a good idea to explain to your children that it’s good for your relationship with your partner to have this quality time together.
  • Do regular, fun things together as a family. This can be as simple as a family soccer game at the local park on Saturdays, or a family board games night each week.
  • Make decisions together about what to do for special events like birthdays. Even young children can be part of these decisions.

Positive communication and family relationships

Positive communication is about making the time to listen to each other, listening without judgment, and being open to expressing your own thoughts and feelings. When you have positive communication in your family, it helps everybody feel understood, respected and valued, and this strengthens your relationships.

Try these positive communication ideas to strengthen your family relationships:

  • When your child or partner wants to talk, stop what you’re doing and listen with full attention. Give people time to express their points of view or feelings. But sometimes you might have to respect their need not to talk – especially if they’re teenagers.
  • Be open to talking about difficult things – like admitting to mistakes – and all kinds of feelings, including anger, joy, frustration, fear and anxiety. Just remember that talking about feeling angry is different from getting angry, though.
  • Be ready for spontaneous conversations. For example, younger children often like to talk through their feelings when they’re in the bath or as they’re getting into bed.
  • Plan for difficult conversations, especially with teenagers. For example, sex, drugs, alcohol, academic difficulties and money are topics that families can find difficult to talk about. It helps to think through your feelings and values before these topics come up.
  • Encourage your children and partner with praise. For example, ‘It’s a big help when you bring the bins in without being asked, Leo. Thanks!’.
  • Show appreciation, love and encouragement through words and affection. This can be as simple as saying ‘I love you’ to your children each night when they go to bed.

Positive non-verbal communication
Not all communication happens in words, so it’s important to pay attention to the feelings that your children and partner express non-verbally. For example, your teenage child might not want to talk to you but might still come looking for the comfort of cuddles sometimes!

It’s also important to be aware of the non-verbal messages you send. For example, hugs, kisses and eye contact send the message that you want to be close to your child. But a grumpy tone of voice or a frown when you’re doing something together might send the message that you don’t want to be there.

Teamwork and family relationships

When your family is working as a team, everyone feels supported and able to contribute. It’s easier to work as a team when everyone understands where they stand, so it helps to have clear expectations, limits and boundaries.

You can encourage teamwork in some of these ways:

  • Share household chores. Even very young children like the feeling of belonging that comes from making a contribution – sometimes, at least!
  • Include children in decisions about things like family activities, rules and holidays. Give everyone – including young children – a chance to have their say. Family meetings can be a good way to do this.
  • Let children make some of their own decisions. The decisions you allow will depend on your children’s abilities and maturity, and the boundaries you’ve set. For example, you might let your 12-year-old child decide whether to walk home from school or ride his bike.
  • Create family rules that state clearly how your family wants to look after and treat its members. For example, ‘In our family we speak respectfully to each other’. Rules like this help everyone get along better, and make family life more peaceful.
  • Work together to solve problems. This involves listening and thinking calmly, considering options, respecting other people’s opinions, finding constructive solutions, and working towards compromises.

Appreciation for each other and family relationships

Valuing each other is at the heart of good family relationships. Here are some ways you might be able to do this:

  • Take an interest in each other’s lives. For example, make time to go to each other’s sporting events, drama performances, art shows and so on.
  • Include everyone in conversation when you’re talking about the day’s events. For example, ‘What was the highlight for you today, Izzy?’.
  • Share family stories and memories. These can help children appreciate things that aren’t obvious, or that they’ve forgotten – for example, Mum’s sporting achievements when she was younger, or the way a big sister helped care for the youngest child after he was born.
  • Acknowledge each other’s differences, talents and abilities, and use each other’s strengths. For example, if you praise and thank your teenage child for listening to a younger sibling reading, he’ll begin to see himself as helpful and caring.

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All parents want if for their children to be happy, healthy and successful. But sometimes they stint their kids and don’t let them prove and show themselves. The most important thing about children is to let them do what they really want to do which will definitely make them happy. Sometimes your children can succeed making videos of themselves on YouTube, acting, dancing, painting, being smart, inventing something useful or inheriting fame. They must really love what they are doing. Also a parents’ love and support play an important role in their succeeding.We present you a list of 20 famous kid celebrities, who can show your kids and you how to become happy, successful and wealthy by doing only those things you really like to do.

  1. Cleopatra Stratan (age 12) is a Moldovan-Romanian singer, the youngest person ever to score commercial success, with her 2006 album La vârsta de trei ani (“At the age of 3”). She holds the record for the highest paid young artist, the youngest artist to receive an MTV award and the youngest artist to score a No.1 hit in a country. This little girl is world-famous thanks to her sweet voice and unbelievable ear for music. According to the Guinness Book of World Records she is the youngest talent ever to perform on stage and record her own album. Pavel Stratan, father of Cleopatra, was in a studio recording a song with three-year-old Cleopatra hanging around. Impulsively, she grabbed a microphone and started singing along with Pavel. Everybody was stunned so they ended up recording the song with Cleopatra performing the lead vocals. And that is a wonderful lesson for parents: if your kid wants to do something, don’t be in its way, but try to help him, it may succeed.
  1. Your children will totally be happy doing something they really like to do. A great proof of these words is Aelita Andre (age 8). She is an Australian abstract artist known for her Surrealist painting style and her young age. She began to paint when aged nine months, and her work was displayed publicly in a group exhibition shortly after she turned two. Her first solo exhibition opened in New York City in June 2011, when she was four years old. That’s why if your child likes to paint, don’t laugh at those paintings. Maybe the next generation of famous artists is growing up before your very eyes.
  2. Elaina Smith is only 7 years old, but she already is Britain’s youngest agony aunt. She rang a phone-in on her local radio station and told a woman caller who had just been dumped to go bowling with friends and drink a mug of milk. Her advice was such a hit Elaina was given a weekly slot on Mercia FM’s breakfast show. This famous little girl can give you a lot of useful and funny tips how to get a man, deal with a lazy brother or become successful. And the main point here is to be a sincere and open-hearted person.
  1. The next kid is a celebrity due to his famous parents who ensured his success. Brooklyn Beckham (age 16) is best known for being David and Victoria Beckham’s eldest son. But he is also a model, made multiple red carpet appearances, dated actress Chloë Grace Moretz, and got an impressive Instagram following. He probably won’t become a famous football player or a singer, but he has got an incredible sense of style for sure.
  2. Isabella Acres (age 14) with her golden curly hair and charming smile looks like a little angel on her baby pictures. She is an American actress who played Rose on Better Off Te and also the voice actress for 13-year-old Princess Bubblegum. She became interested in acting while performing in children’s theater productions in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Isabella has already got a lot of awards for her brilliant acting.
  3. Crawford Collins (age 18) is Vine phenomenon who collaborates with his brother and fellow internet star Christian Collins on comedy videos. He has over 1.4 million followers on Vine and is also popular on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat. He posted his first Vine video, “How I feel when my phone dies,” on February 20, 2014, accumulating more than 750,000 followers in only 5 months. He can definitely prove you that making videos and spending your time in the Internet is not always a waste of time.
  4. If you think your child can’t make money, look at Nick D’Aloisio (age 19) who is an English computer programmer and internet entrepreneur best known as the inventor of Summly app for Yahoo. This boy is actually a genius who is currently one of the youngest self-made millionaires with a net worth of over $30 million and recently won the 2014 Apple Design Award. He deserves his fame for sure because he’s been working really hard.
  5. Child prodigy Adora Svitak (age 16) says the world needs “childish” thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids’ big dreams deserve high expectations, starting with the adults’ willingness to learn from children as much as to teach. She garnered national attention at just seven, when she appeared on Good Morning America opposite Diane Sawyer to discuss her writing. Though that may seem a very grown-up thing to do, Svitak was there to promote the idea that the world really needs more “childish” thinking. She shares her ideas in her TED talk, What Adults Can Learn From Kids.
  6. At 15, Maya Van Wagenen became a best-selling author.Once her novel fell into the hands of a literary agent, Penguin signed her up for a book deal — and Dreamworks nabbed the movie rights. She says she won’t succeed without the support of her parents. So if your children like to write stories, have an eye on those stories: that might be the next NY bestseller.
  7. Madison Kimrey (age 12) has been active in politics for quite some time now. “My first protest I went to was down in Jacksonville, FL, protesting a children’s museum because they were discriminating against a same-sex couple, claiming they weren’t actually a family,” she told the Huffington Post. On top of her gay-rights advocacy, she also writes letters to congress promoting youth involvement in politics, women’s rights, and animal rights. She has a lot of ideas how to make the country and the world a better place to live in. It is also a great example of not being afraid of sharing your own mind even if you’re just a little girl.
  8. Connie Talbot (age 14) is a young and popular pop singer. At age six, this cute girl was a finalist on Britain’s Got Talent. She has recorded with Rainbow Recording Company. She earned Simon Cowell’s praise during her first tryout. Her album Over the Rainbow sold more than 250,000 copies. She has always liked to sing and her big dream of becoming a singer has come true. So, dream big and your dreams will also come true.
  9. Many people would be tempted to say that Jaden Smith (age 17) was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, given the fact that he is the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Jaden has proven to be worth his fame by starring in two of the most popular movies of the past decade. The Karate Kid and The Pursuit of Happyness gave Jaden a chance to prove his skills as a young actor and he did not let the world down. This boy isn’t only a film star, but also a rapper. Born in 1998, Jaden has accomplished more in his teens than most teenagers have.
  10. Quvenzhané Wallis (age 10) is the youngest actress to be nominated for an Oscar. Her role in Beasts of the Southern Wild led to her part in 12 Years A Slave. Recently, she’s been busy filming the new cinematic version of Annie and landed the 2014 Armani Junior campaign. She’s officially the busiest — and likely the most successful — 10-year-old on the planet.
  11. Paige Hyland (age 14) is a jazz and musical theatre dancer who became known for her appearance on Lifetime’s Dance Moms. She placed 1st on the season 2, episode 7. She began dancing for the Abby Lee Dance Company when she was nine. This girl has been working really hard to gain her fame.
  12. For such a young actor, Asa Butterfield (age 17) has undertaken many major roles in famous films. The English actor is best known for playing Bruno in the holocaust film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. He has since earned his fame by being cast in other major roles, which he plays splendidly. Butterfield started acting when he was seven at a young actors theater in his hometown. He has been nominated for many awards at his young age and he has managed to achieve a lot at only 17.
  13. Ruby Karp is only 13, but she has already become a famous writer and comedian. She has regular shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, and she writes for HelloGiggles. Outside of her public appearances, though, she’s challenging the social norms of teenagers. Her “Ugly Selfies” project is just one way she’s tackling social media and its sometimes negative effects on youth. Not every adult can boast of that.
  14. Shania McDonagh (age 16) just likes drawing. She is an ordinary kid who goes to school and likes hanging with her friends. What makes her so special then? Unlike a lot of children this young artist won the Texaco Children’s Art Competition in Ireland. With skills like this, she’s bound to be a big name in the art world.
  15. Cameron Boyce is already a big star at the age of 15. Cameron was born in 1999 and he lives in Los Angeles with his parents. Cameron is famous for his cute, freckled baby face and the humor that he presents in his films and TV series. At only 15 years old he has managed to be cast in five films and nine television performances. He also won a Young Artists award in 2012 for best performance in a feature film. Boyce has also been cast in many commercials and he is in a break dancing group called X Mob. He is also one of Disney’s biggest stars.
  16. China Anne McClain (age 16) has managed to be in a total of 10 films, and 12 TV series. China has also released two albums and featured in numerous hits with other stars. She has three award nominations to her name, two of which she took home. China is one of the fastest growing child stars of present times. She is a singer-songwriter, dancer and actress whose parents are both singers and producers. She first appeared in 2005 when she was cast in the movie The Gospel at the age of seven. She was also cast in House of Payne, which really boosted her acting career, and she is presently known for her work on the show A.N.T. Farm on the Disney Channel.
  17. A famous DJ Alex Angelo is only 14 years old but he already knows a lot about earning money. He is a Singer, DJ, dancer, and radio host on RadioDisney who rose to fame as an Internet sensation. He was a DJ for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. He first started mixing on his dad’s iPad when he was 10 years old, but when his family moved he was unable to bring along his skateboard ramp and was forced to sell it. With that money, he purchased some DJ equipment. He opened for top artists such as Justin Bieber, Pitbull, Carly Rae Jepsin, and Hoodie Allen.

Well guys, it certainly has been awhile since we took stock of the celebrity baby world and figured out which tot ruled them all. Just in case you forgot, when we originally published this ranking in November 2014, North West resoundingly topped the list, followed by Blue Ivy Carter and Prince George. But so much has changed in the last two years.

A lot of new babies have been born, and a lot of former babies have been aged out of the classification. (Reminder: a baby is defined as being zero to three years old.) Goodbye Baby Future! Have fun in preschool, Blue Ivy! See you later Prince George! With so many spots in the Baby Top Ten vacated, and so many newcomers vying for infant glory, we once again crunched the numbers, looked at adorable photos, and unfairly judged celebrity parents. Which babies are running shit in their early years? Which ones have more Instagram followers than God? Which ones appear to be on track to rule the world? Those are the questions we asked ourselves, all to provide you with an updated, definitive list. Without further ado, here are The 2017 Celebrity Baby Power Rankings.

P.S. Some babies who appeared on the 2016 ranking appear on this version as well; you can see how far they’ve fallen or how high they’ve risen in the parentheses next to their names.

P.P.S. And again, in case it needs to be said, this is all in good fun. We love all babies—even not-famous ones.

California is pressing ahead with solutions that will reduce emissions of fluorinated gases (that damage the ozone layer and the climate) without compromising comfort.

Current Scoping Plan measures and the Federal Clean Cars Program are expected to reduce F-gas emissions (Source: CARB Research Division, 2017)
*Million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent

What you should know about fluorinated gases

Fluorinated gases (F-gases) have a variety of practical uses. They keep your refrigerator and air conditioner working, act as fire suppressants and spray can propellants, and are used in foam insulation. Unfortunately, F-gases include substances that destroy the ozone layer (which protects the Earth from some of the sun’s rays) and contribute to climate change. In 1987, growing fear about the ozone hole prompted the international community to adopt the Montreal Protocol, which required a phase-out of 99.5% of ozone-destroying F-gases by 2020. Other F-gases replaced the ozone-destroying ones, and the ozone hole has begun shrinking back to its normal size.

However, these new F-gas substitutes turned out to be very potent greenhouse gases with hundreds to thousands of times the warming power of carbon dioxide, and they are now widespread in refrigeration and air conditioning systems. The international community is coming together to address this recently discovered threat to our climate and in October 2016 signed the Kigali Amendment, agreeing to phase-down the global production and use of climate-warming F-gases.

New Research Findings

Climate-warming F-gases can be Reduced by 85% by 2050

Multiple California Air Resources Board (CARB) research projects have complemented national and international studies to determine the sources, magnitude and impact of climate-warming F-gas emissions, as well as possible control strategies. Achievements include:

  • Developing the world’s first regional California specific inventory of F-gases, which played a major role in guiding regulatory efforts both in California and nationally;
  • Discovering that commercial refrigeration is currently the largest source of F-gas emissions. Residential air-conditioning is the second-largest source and increasing rapidly; and
  • Confirming that technically feasible and cost-effective strategies to reduce F-gas emissions exist, including substitution with refrigerants that have a smaller impact on the climate, energy conservation measures and refrigerant leak reduction measures.

Importance of Future Research

Energy Efficiency, Safety, and Global Impacts

Because of growing concern over the impact of F-gases on the climate, ongoing research is investigating potential concerns associated with possible substitutes:

  • The energy efficiency of refrigerants with a smaller impact on the climate, including the natural refrigerants carbon dioxide, ammonia, hydrocarbons and water, along with hydrofluoro-olefins (the newest synthetic refrigerants). In particular, research is examining the efficiency of these substitutes at very high ambient temperatures.
  • The safety and feasibility of allowing increasingly flammable refrigerants – which may be the next frontier in energy efficiency – in refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
  • Innovations to scale down the size of refrigeration systems that use F-gas alternatives into smaller equipment sizes more suited for small grocery and neighborhood convenience stores.

On-going Efforts to Control F-gas

  • Senate Bill (SB) 1383 requires California to continue cleaning up F-gas emissions and sets a target to reduce these emissions by 40% below 2013 levels by 2030, with a focus on disadvantaged communities.
  • The Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Strategy lays out strategies to keep California on track to achieve the 2030 target set in SB 1383.

For More Information

Research project information can be found at:

  • F-gas performance analysis for commercial buildings (Contract 09-306)
  • F-gases from appliance and building waste in landfills (Contract 11-308)
  • Stationary air conditioning and refrigeration sources (Contract 06-325)
  • Emissions from auto dismantling and recycling (Contract 06-334)
  • Emissions from DIY servicing of vehicle air conditioning systems (Contract 06-341)
  • Refrigerant emissions from heavy-duty vehicles (Contract 06-342)
  • F-gas emissions from foams (Contract 07-312)
  • Lifecycle analysis of high-GWP F-gas destruction (Contract 07-330)
  • Refrigerant recovery from decommissioned shipping containers (Contract 09-303)
  • CARB’s short-lived climate pollutants website has information on F-gases

World’s Fairs in the Cold War

The post–World War II science-based technological revolution inevitably found its way into almost all international expositions with displays on atomic energy, space exploration, transportation, communications, and computers. Major advancements in Cold War science and technology helped to shape new visions of utopian futures, the stock-in-trade of world’s fairs. From the 1940s to the 1980s, expositions in the United States and around the world, from Brussels to Osaka to Brisbane, mirrored Cold War culture in a variety of ways, and also played an active role in shaping it. This volume illustrates the cultural change and strain spurred by the Cold War, a disruptive period of scientific and technological progress that ignited growing concern over the impact of such progress on the environment and humanistic and spiritual values. Through the lens of world’s fairs, contributors across disciplines offer an integrated exploration of the US–USSR rivalry from a global perspective and in the context of broader social and cultural phenomena—faith and religion, gender and family relations, urbanization and urban planning, fashion, modernization, and national identity—all of which were fundamentally reshaped by tensions and anxieties of the Atomic Age.

This is a list of 100 people who have changed the world (for better or worse). Also see: People who made a difference and changed the world for the better.

People who changed the world

1. Jesus of Nazareth (circa 5 BCE – 30 CE) Spiritual Teacher, central figure of Christianity.

2. Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) American President 1801 – 1809. Author of Declaration of Independence

3. Mikhail Gorbachev (1931 – ) Leader of Soviet Union 1985 – 1991, oversaw the transition from Communism to democracy in Eastern Europe.

4. Lord Buddha (circa 563 BCE – 483 BCE) Spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism

5. Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) Prime Minister of Great Britain during Second World War

6. William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) English poet and playwright

7. Muhammad (570 – 632) Founder of Islam.

8. Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) Civil Rights leader

9. Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) American President during civil war, helped end slavery

10. Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) Anti-apartheid leader, first President of democratic South Africa in 1994

  1. St Paul (5 BCE – 67 CE) Christian missionary
  2. Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945) Dictator of Nazi Germany
  3. Augustus Caesar (63 BCE – AD 14) First Roman Emperor.
  4. George Washington (1732 – 1799) First President of USA
  5. Sri Krishna (circa 2-3000 BCE) Spiritual teacher, prominent figure in Hinduism
  6. Emperor Constantine (272 – 337) First Roman Emperor to embrace Christianity
  7. Martin Luther (1483 – – 1546) Key figure in Protestant Reformation
  8. Socrates (469 BCE – 399 BCE) Greek philosopher
  9. Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) Indian nationalist and politician
  10. Karl Marx (1818 –– 1883) German philosopher, founder of Marxism
  11. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 –– 1821) French military and political leader
  12. Simon Bolivar (1783 – 1830) Liberator of South American countries
  13. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) US President 1932-1945
  14. Charles Darwin (1809 –– 1882) Developed theory of evolution
  15. Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727) English mathematician and scientist
  16. Confucius (551 BCE– – 479 BCE) Chinese philosopher
  17. Akbar (1542 – 1605) Mughal Emperor
  18. Queen Victoria (1819 –– 1901) British monarch 1837 – 1901
  19. Konrad Adenauer (1876 – 1967) German Chancellor post WWII
  20. Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964) First Prime Minister of India
  21. Ramses II (1279 BCE – 1213 BCE) Egyptian Pharoah
  22. Alexander the Great (356 BCE –– 323 BCE) King of Macedonia
  23. Moses (1391 – 1271 BC) Jewish prophet of Old Testament.
  24. Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924) American president during WWI
  25. Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506) Italian explorer
  26. Marcus Aurelius (121 –– 180) Roman emperor and philosopher
  27. Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) Astronomer and physicist
  28. Plato (424 BCE –– 348 BCE) Philosopher
  29. Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431) French saint
  30. Charlemagne (742 – 814) King of Franks and Emperor of the Romans
  31. Aristotle (384BCE –– 322BCE) Greek philosopher
  32. Saladin (1138 –– 1193) Leader of Arabs during Crusades
  33. Babur (1483 – 1531) Founder of Mughal Empire
  34. Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 –– 1618) English explorer
  35. Voltaire (1694 – – 1778) French philosopher
  36. Catherine the Great (1729 –– 1796) Empress of all the Russias 1762 – 1796
  37. Mozart (1756 –– 1791) Austrian composer
  38. Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539) Spiritual teacher, founder of Sikhism
  39. Leonardo da Vinci (1452 –– 1519) Italian scientist, artist, polymath
  40. Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895) French chemist and Biologist
  41. Leo Tolstoy (1828 –– 1910) Russian writer and philosopher
  42. Albert Einstein (1879 –– 1955) German physicist
  43. Ataturk (1881 – 1938) Founder of the Turkish Republic
  44. Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) Spanish painter and sculptor
  45. Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005) Polish Pope from 1978-2005
  46. Margaret Thatcher (1925 – 2013) British Prime Minister 1979 – 1990
  47. Muhammed Ali (1942 – 2016) American boxer and human rights activist
  48. John F. Kennedy (1917 –– 1963) American President 1961 – 1963
  49. Boris Yeltsin (1931 –– 2007) First President of Russia 1991 – 1999
  50. Indira Gandhi (1917 –– 1984) Prime Minister of India 1980 – 1984
  51. William Tyndale (1494 – 1536) Translated Bible into English
  52. Tim Berners Lee (1955 – ) Inventor of World Wide Web
  53. Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005) Civil Rights activist
  54. Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007) Prime Minister of Pakistan 1993 – 1996
  55. J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) German composer
  56. 14th Dalai Lama (1938 – ) Spiritual and political leader of Tibetans
  57. Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) Black Civil Rights activist
  58. Lech Walesa (1943 – ) Leader of Polish solidarity movement
  59. Charles de Gaulle (1890 – 1970) French politician
  60. Joseph Stalin (1879 – 1953) Leader of the Soviet Union 1922 – 1952
  61. Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) Chemist and physicist
  62. Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807 – 1882) Independence leader in Italy and South America
  63. Johann Gutenberg (1395 – 1468 Inventor of the printing press
  64. Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658) British Parliamentarian
  65. Vladimir Lenin (1870 – 1924) Leader of Russian Revolution in 1917
  66. Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) Austrian neurologist, psychoanalyst
  67. Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997) Macedonian Catholic nun and missionary
  68. Bill Gates (1955 – ) Founder of Microsoft
  69. Ernest Hemingway ( 1899 – 1961) American author
  70. John Lennon (1940 – 1980) British musician and member of the Beatles
  71. Genghis Kahn (1162 – 1227) Ruler of Mongol Empire
  72. Haile Selassie (1892 – 1975) Emperor of Ethiopia 1930 – 1974
  73. John M Keynes (1883 – 1946) Influential economist
  74. Michael Faraday (1791 – 1867) English scientist who enabled electricity to become a viable source of power.
  75. George Orwell (1903 – 1950) English author of ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’
  76. Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) Inventor and businessman
  77. Dwight Eisenhower (1890 – 1969) Supreme Allied Commander WWII
  78. Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962) helped to draft UN declaration of human rights
  79. Dr B.R. Ambedkar (1891 – 1956) Indian political activist and social reformer who drafted Indian constitution
  80. Lyndon Johnson (1908 – 1973) US President 1963 – 1969
  81. William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833) Campaigner against slavery
  82. Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943) Scientist, inventor
  83. Alexander Fleming (1881–1955) Scottish biologist who discovered antibiotics
  84. Lao Tzu (6th Century BC – ) Author of Tao Te Ching and founder of Taoism
  85. Eva Peron (1919 – 1952) First Lady of Argentina 1946 – 1952
  86. Henry Ford (1864 – 1947) American industrialist
  87. Princess Diana (1961 –– 1997) Humanitarian
  88. Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011) Entrepreneur who led digital revolution
  89. Beethoven (1770 – 1827) German composer
  90. Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) American writer and polymath

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “People who changed the world”, Oxford, UK. www.biographyonline.net, First published Jan 2008. Last updated 1 March 2018.

Related pages

Books that changed the world: Important books which influenced and changed society and the world. Including The Republic, The Iliad, The Communist Manifesto and The King James Bible

Inspirational people: People who made a difference in a positive way and left the world a better place

Women who changed the world: Famous women who changed the world, including Sappho, Marie Curie, Queen Victoria, and Catherine the Great

Quotes that changed the world: Inspiring quotes that changed the world from some of the world’s leading minds, including Einstein, Buddha, Darwin, and Galileo

Ideas that changed the world: Scientific, political, religious and technological ideas that transformed the world, including democracy, feminism, human rights and relativity

Inventions that changed the world: Famous inventions that made a great difference to the progress of the world, including aluminium, the telephone and the printing press


Book of 100 Most Influential People

100 Most influential people in the world by Michael H. Hart (Author) at Amazon.com

Books about people who changed the World

  • Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World at Amazon.com
  • Artists, Writers, and Musicians: An Encyclopedia of People Who Changed the World
  • 101 World Heroes by Simon Montefiore

Related pages on events that changed the world

  • Events that changed the world
  • Quotes that changed the world
  • Speeches that changed the world

Other lists of people who changed the world

  • People who shaped democracy
  • Young people who helped change the world

Note: It is hard to select a ‘top 100’. It is also even harder to rank people in terms of influence. I agree there could easily be a different order and ranking. But, hopefully, this will be of help for researching some of the famous people who have made a big difference to the world.

100 Women Who Changed the World: the results

Welcome to the results of BBC History Magazine poll, which features 100 inspirational women from history. In 2018, we asked experts in 10 different fields of human endeavour to nominate 10 women they believe had the biggest impact on world history. We then gave you, our readers the opportunity to vote for your favourite figures from that list. The results – presented here – may well provoke debate…

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Marie Curie, 1867–1934

Marie Curie. (Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images)

Marie Skłodowska Curie changed the world not once but twice. She founded the new science of radioactivity – even the word was invented by her – and her discoveries launched effective cures for cancer.

“Curie boasts an extraordinary array of achievements,” says Patricia Fara, president of the British Society for the History of Science, who nominated the Polish-born French scientist. “She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, first female professor at the University of Paris, and the first person – note the use of person there, not woman – to win a second Nobel Prize.”

Born in Warsaw, Curie studied physics at university in Paris where she met her future research collaborator and husband, Pierre. Together they identified two new elements: radium and polonium, named after her native Poland. After he died, she raised a small fortune in the US and Europe to fund laboratories and to develop cancer treatments.

Marie Curie was a woman of action as well as enormous intellect. During the First World War, she helped to equip ambulances with x-ray equipment, and often drove them to the front line herself.

  • Marie Curie: her life, achievements and legacy

“The odds were always stacked against her,” says Fara. “In Poland her patriotic family suffered under a Russian regime. In France she was regarded with suspicion as a foreigner – and of course, wherever she went, she was discriminated against as a woman.”

Despite becoming ill from the radioactive materials she constantly handled, Curie never lost her determination to excel in the scientific career that she loved. Her memory is preserved by the cancer society that bears her name and continues to help terminally ill patients all over the world.

The rankings, inclusions and exclusions have provided plenty of food for thought. We asked a selection of historians to share their opinions on the composition of the final list. To read more,


Rosa Parks, 1913–2005

Rosa Parks. (Photo by Don Cravens/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

In 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American living in Montgomery, Alabama, challenged the race segregation that existed in parts of the US by refusing to give up her seat on a bus so that a white person could sit down. Her protest was supported by many other African Americans and sparked the civil rights movement which, in the 1960s, eventually won equal rights. Four years after her death in 2005, Barack Obama became the first African-American US president.

  • From Rosa Parks to Martin Luther King: the boycott that inspired the dream


Emmeline Pankhurst, 1858–1928

Emmeline Pankhurst. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

In 1903, the social reformer Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union to campaign for the parliamentary vote for women in Edwardian Britain, ‘Deeds, not words’ being its motto. A charismatic leader and powerful orator, Pankhurst roused thousands of women to demand, rather than ask politely, for their democratic right in a mass movement that has been unparalleled in British history. Always in the thick of the struggle, she endured 13 imprisonments, her name and cause becoming known throughout the world.


Ada Lovelace, 1815–52

Ada Lovelace. (Photo by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

A gifted mathematician, Ada Lovelace is considered to be the first computer programmer, an industry that has since transformed business, our lives and the world. In an industry still dominated by men, it’s particularly striking that the first programmer was a woman.

  • Ada Lovelace: a visionary of computing


Rosalind Franklin, 1920–58

Rosalind Franklin. (Photo by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

When the double helix structure of DNA was discovered, scientists claimed that they had unravelled the secret of life itself. The crucial piece of evidence was provided by the expert crystallographer Rosalind Franklin – the famous photograph 51, an X-ray picture showing a dark cross of dots, the signature image of a concealed molecular spiral. The life-changing innovations that followed – mapping the human genome, test-tube babies, genetic engineering – all depend on understanding the chemical foundations of heredity.


Margaret Thatcher, 1925–2013

Margaret Thatcher. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Britain’s first female prime minister came to power at an unsettled time in the country’s history, as it faced political disharmony and economic recession. Further trials, including the 1982 Falklands War and the conflict in Northern Ireland, helped to define her influential career.

  • What is the nature of Margaret Thatcher’s legacy?


Angela Burdett-Coutts, 1814–1906

English philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts. (Photo by Hulton-Deutsch/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images)

The first woman to have been made a peer, Burdett-Coutts was made a baroness by Queen Victoria for her work on behalf of the poor. Prevented from working at Coutts Bank despite inheriting her grandfather Thomas Coutts’ shares and fortune, Burdett-Couttsinstead devoted her time – working with a Coutts client Charles Dickens – to philanthropy. She was a pioneer in social housing, building homes for the poor, and financed numerous projects, including the redevelopment of East London.


Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759–97

Mary Wollstonecraft. (Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)

An English writer and philosopher Wollstonecraft championed education and liberation for women. Her book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was published in 1792 and is seen as one of the foundational texts of modern feminism. Written against the backdrop of the French Revolution, it argued for the equality of women to men.


Florence Nightingale, 1820–1910

Florence Nightingale. (Photo by London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images)

Florence Nightingale led the first official team of British military nurses to Turkey during the Crimean War, fought between Britain and Russia (1853-56). More soldiers died from disease than wounds in this conflict and Nightingale – as well as tending the sick – reported back to the army medical services on how to reduce avoidable deaths. Nicknamed ‘the Lady with the Lamp’ for the night rounds she made tending to the wounded and sick, Nightingale continued in her work after the war and was instrumental in establishing a permanent military nursing service and implementing improvements to the army medical services.

  • Florence Nightingale: nursing by numbers


Marie Stopes, 1880–1958

Marie Stopes. (Photo by Baron/Getty Images)

Marie Stopes, advocate of birth control and sex educator, was born in Edinburgh but studied for a science degree at University College, London. In 1918, she published the highly popular Married Love, a second book titled Wise Parenthood – which dealt explicitly with contraception – appearing shortly after. A controversial figure, especially for her views on eugenics, Stopes nonetheless was a key figure in publicising her cause (a first birth control clinic was set up in a poor working-class area of north London in 1921) and in bringing to women worldwide the opportunity of planned pregnancies.


Eleanor of Aquitaine, 1122–1204

Eleanor of Aquitaine. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

One of the wealthiest women of the Middle Ages – and one of its most eligible brides – Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII of France and then, following their divorce, the future Henry II of England. As such, she occupies a singularly important position in the medieval histories of both countries.

  • Eleanor of Aquitaine: the medieval queen who took on Europe’s most powerful men


Virgin Mary, 1st-century BC–1st-century AD

The Virgin Mary. (Photo by Ashmolean Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

The mother of Jesus, Mary is venerated by both Christians and Muslims, and is proably the most famous woman in history. The actual details of her life are veiled as much as they are elucidated by the New Testament.


Jane Austen, 1775–1817

Jane Austen. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

One of the most famous figures in British history, Austen’s novels have gone on to become literary sensations. Often lacing plots exploring marriage, status and social sensibility with a distinctive irony, her works have been adapted many times in plays, films and TV series.

  • 8 things you (probably) didn’t know about Jane Austen


Boudicca, c30–61

Boudicca. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Queen of the Iceni tribe during the Roman occupation of Britain. In either 60 or 61 AD Boudicca united different tribes in a Celtic revolt against Roman rule. Leading an army of around 100,000 she succeeded in driving the Romans out of modern-day Colchester (then capital of Roman Britain), London and Verulamium (St Albans). Her success led Roman emperor Nero to consider withdrawing from Britain entirely, until the Roman governor, Paullinus finally defeated her in a battle in the West Midlands. Shortly afterwards Boudicca died, probably either by suicide or through illness.

  • Boudica: scourge of the Roman empire


Diana, Princess of Wales, 1961–97

Princess Diana. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

In 1981, Diana Spencer became the first wife of the heir apparent to the British throne, Charles, Prince of Wales. Their wedding reached a global television audience of more than 700m people and she continued to attract much media attention, even after her divorce in 1996. She became well known internationally for her charity work for sick children, the banning of landmines and for raising awareness about those affected by cancer, HIV/AIDS and mental illness.

  • Diana: the rebel princess


Amelia Earhart, 1897–c1937

Amelia Earhart. (Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images)

Earhart took up aviation in 1921, aged 24, and went on to break the women’s altitude record the following year when she rose to 14,000 feet. In 1932 she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and over the next five years continued to break speed and flying records. In June 1937 she began a flight around the world, becoming the first person to fly from the Red Sea to India – she was reported missing on 2 July near Howland Island in the Pacific. Earhart’s disappearance is one of history’s unsolved mysteries and she was declared dead in absentia in 1939.


Queen Victoria, 1819–1901

Queen Victoria. (Photo by Alexander Bassano/Spencer Arnold/Getty Images)

Victoria remains one of the UK’s most iconic monarchs, more than a century after her death, portrayed in countless films and TV series. Crowned in 1837, she oversaw the nation and its empire throughout a remarkable period of social, technological and economic change.

  • 7 things you (probably) didn’t know about Queen Victoria
  • Visit our Queen Victoria page


Josephine Butler, 1828–1906

Josephine Butler. (Photo by London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images)

Josephine Butler brought into open discussion in Victorian Britain the double sexual standard that existed in a male-dominated society. She campaigned successfully for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts which provided for the compulsory and regular medical examination of women believed to be prostitutes, but not their male clients. In later life she campaigned against child prostitution and international sex trafficking.


Mary Seacole, 1805–81

Mary Seacole. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

In her late forties, Mary travelled from her home in Jamaica to Britain to offer her services as a nurse during the Crimean War (1853-56). Despite being turned down Seacole refused to give up: a woman of mixed-race with a Jamaican mother and Scottish father, she had dealt with prejudice and impediments her whole life. Funding her own passage to the Crimea Mary established the British Hotel near Balaclava. Nineteenth-century soldiers had no welfare support and Seacole’s hotel provided a comfortable retreat away from battle with accommodation for convalescents and the sick. In addition, Mary nursed wounded soldiers on the battlefield earning the title Mother Seacole.


Mother Teresa, 1910–97

Mother Teresa. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images) Advertisement

Mother Teresa, born in Albania, was a Roman Catholic nun who lived in India for most of her life. In 1950 she founded the Missionaries of Charity which attracted many sisters who took vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and free service to the poorest of the poor. The work that the order undertook, in over 130 countries, included managing homes for people who were dying, soup kitchens, orphanages and schools. Although criticised for her opposition to abortion, her charitable work changed the lives of many of the most vulnerable people in the world.


Mary Shelley, 1797-1851 Novelist

Mary Shelley. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Born to political philosopher William Godwin and feminist activist Mary Wollstonecraft, and husband of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley managed – through her 1818 work Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus – to make a name for herself, even in such high-achieving company. Blending the horrific with the sympathetic, the Gothic with the Romantic, the novel has gone on to become a literary classic.


Catherine the Great, 1729-96 Empress of Russia

Catherine the Great. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images)

Russia’s longest-ruling female leader, Catherine was head of the country as it modernised, expanded, and strengthened. A patron of arts and a supporter of education, her reforms led her to become one of the most influential rulers in Russian history.


Vera Atkins, 1908-2000 British intelligence officer

Vera Atkins. (Photo by Military History Collection / Alamy Stock Photo)

In the 1930s, Atkins and her Jewish mother emigrated to Britain from Bucharest to escape the rise of Fascism. A talented linguist, Atkins joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE), a branch of British Military Intelligence responsible for training and sending agents overseas. She rose from administrative roles to become an intelligence officer in the French Section of the SOE. At the end of the Second World War, as a member of the British War Crimes Commission, Atkins set out to find out what had become of the 118 SOE agents who had not made it home, establishing how and when they had died – she was able to trace all but one. Atkins was awarded the Croix de Guerre in 1948 and appointed a Commandant of the Legion of Honor in 1987.


Cleopatra, 69 BC-30 BC Egyptian pharaoh

Cleopatra. (Photo By DEA PICTURE LIBRARY/De Agostini/Getty Images)

Final ruler of Egypt’s Ptolemaic dynasty, Cleopatra was more than the famous beauty her subsequent, simplistic portrayals often depict. A formidable, politically shrewd monarch, she was directly involved in the running of a kingdom that faced challenges on many fronts.

  • 6 things you (probably) didn’t know about Cleopatra


Elizabeth Fry, 1780-1845 Social reformer

Elizabeth Fry. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The so-called ‘Angel of Prisons’, Fry was an English Quaker who led the campaign in the Victorian period to make conditions for prisoners more humane. She also helped to improve the British hospital system and treatment of the insane.

We often think of people who changed the world as those who have (or had) fame, money and influence to help them bring about major changes. For several famous humanitarians, activists and leaders, this was the case. But what about those who didn’t have such tools? What about the ordinary people who have changed the world through selfless good deeds and acts of outstanding bravery? Better World International would like to celebrate these wonderful people, past and present, to show how kindness and courage can truly change the course of history.

Mother Teresa – A humble Albanian nun who changes the world forever

This will come as no surprise to many! A humble Albanian nun with a mission to touch thousands of lives by nursing the sick, visiting the dying, educating the poorest children and going on countless missions. She spent 69 years in service of the world’s most in-need populations. She won 124 awards for her incredible humanitarian contribution and inspired thousands (during her lifetime and after) to dedicate their lives to helping others and changing the world for the better. Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and was canonized on September 4th this year, only 19 years after her death. This article is dedicated to her life.

Rosa Parks

Source: Washingtonpost

A few may know of the bravery Rosa Parks showed on December 1st, 1955. In the midst of the racial tension surrounding African-American citizens in the mid 20th century, she famously refused to give up her seat to a white person on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was swiftly arrested for violating segregation laws and subsequently fired from her job. It caused absolute outrage both inside and outside of the civil rights community, leading to a bus boycott led by Martin Luther King. After a year, the boycott successfully made bus segregation unconstitutional and paved the way for later victories of the civil rights campaign. Rosa Parks was a brave and passionate woman who changed the world and became a respected and much loved national symbol of the civil rights movement.

Emily Davison

Source: alchetron.com

An avid member of Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union, she was known for her extreme dedication to the suffragette cause in Britain. Her actions often resulted in her arrest for public disturbance and vandalization. She became a leading feminist figure of the suffragette movement following her dramatic death at the Derby in 1913 when she famously collided with a horse and rider. It’s thought to be a major catalyst in gaining the vote for women in 1918.

Tank Man – The Chinese Unknown Protester

Source: QZ Website

On June 4th, 1989, a mysterious man bravely stood in front of a column of tanks after the Chinese military forcibly quelled the Tiananmen Square protests the previous day, killing thousands of students. He impeded the movement of the ‘lead’ tank as well as several others, and his actions were caught on camera and broadcasted worldwide. Nobody knows the fate of this courageous activist but he changed the world in a special way and became the symbol of the Tiananmen Square protests that were held by students fighting for democratic reforms, freedom of speech and the press.

Malala Yousafzai

Source: CNN

A real hero of the millennials! This courageous 11 year old made global headlines when she was shot in the head by the Taliban, after she insisted that girls should be educated in Pakistan. Despite this horrific life-threatening injury she survived and continued to speak out for women’s education in her new home country, the UK. Even after receiving further death threats from the Taliban, she has never wavered from her cause. Her bravery won her a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, making her the youngest ever to receive this award. Find out more about this incredible young lady.

Alexander Fleming

Source: Time.com

Born a humble farmer’s son in the depths of rural England, Alexander Fleming had no inkling of the gargantuan effect his discovery of penicillin would have on the world. He accidentally discovered the superpower bacteria-killer whilst working as a scientist studying the influenza disease in 1928. After it was fully developed in the 40s, the drug completely revolutionized the medical world, saving innumerable lives and leading to the creation of many other life-saving antibiotics. Now it’s up to us to tackle the growing world-wide issue of antibiotic resistance, which threatens to leave us helpless against our bacterial enemy again.


Source: biography.com

Another obvious choice, perhaps, but this list would not be complete without a tribute to this incredible man. His lifelong dedication to religious harmony and social peace in South Africa and India, as well as his famous non-violent activism for India’s independence from the British Empire, has made him a staple household name. Gandhi is celebrated for bringing about significant change by protesting against some of the most terrible social and political issues that marked the early 1900s.

Ken Surritte

Source: pinterest.com

Ken Surritte is another modern-day philanthropist who has changed the world through good deeds. Whilst working in Kenya to build a well for a children’s home, he discovered the reason the children were getting so ill was because of the stagnant, disease-infested water that they were drinking. Surritte has since founded the company, WATERisLIFE, that provides clean, safe water for people in developing countries all over the world. His work is incredible as waterborne diseases are a major killer in these countries and tackling this issue has the potential to save millions of lives. Read this cool article written by another Better World dreamer to find out more about this wonderful man.

It seems that changing the world begins within the heart. Doing good deeds and using your power to bring about even the smallest amount of positive change can cause a rippling effect. Get out there and change the world, dreamers! The power is in your hands.

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Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913) Tubman escaped from slavery but returned on many dangerous missions to Maryland where she helped lead slaves to freedom. She also served as agent and leader during the Civil War. She became a symbol of the abolition movement.

Princess Diana – First wife of Prince Charles, Dian was involved in many humanitarian charities. Helped to de-stigmatise diseases such as AIDS.

Confucius – Influential Chinese philosopher who laid the groundwork for much of Chinese philosophy and society. Confucius taught principles of morality, reverence for ancestors and orderly conduct.

Mozart – A musical genius whose compositions continue to give joy to millions of people.

John Keats – Romantic Poet. Keats lived a short life, but the intensity of his poetry has left a deep and lasting legacy. ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” – Keats.

Eleanor Roosevelt – A supporter of the rights of women and committed to the oppressed in society, Eleanor also helped to draft the UN Declaration of human rights.

Woodrow Wilson – Woodrow Wilson had a vision for a League of Nations, a forum where nations could come together to solve disputes. The League of Nations struggled to make an impact before the Second World War but became more effective as the United Nations.

Leo Tolstoy – Influential Russian author, whose great epics include War and Peace. His philosophy of non-violence and a return to rural simplicity inspired other politicians such as Gandhi.

Sri Krishna – Revered as Hindu Spiritual Teacher. His teachings are immortalised in the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna taught a middle path of yoga, selfless action and devotional worship.

Louis Pasteur – French scientist who found many important improvements in medical science, e.g. vaccination for Rabies, and a safe way to pasteurise milk.

Billy Graham (1918 – 2018) American Christain evangelist. Graham preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to billions of people around the world in live mass meetings and on the tv and radio. He preached an inclusive philosophy, eschewing racial segregation making outreach to other faiths.

Rumi – Muslim poet and Sufi mystic. His poetry about love and the deeper meaning of life have a universal appeal. Rumi has become one of the best-selling poets in the world.

Charles Darwin. Darwin published his Origin of Species detailing a belief in evolution at a time when such a decision was very controversial.

Akbar – The Great Moghul Emperor who went a long way to uniting India under his rule. Akbar was known for his love of culture, music and philosophy, although he was also a great warrior. He introduced enlightened laws on religious tolerance in his kingdom and encouraged representatives of different religions to come to his court.

C S Lewis – Author of best-selling ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ and Christian apologist.

Sophie Scholl (1921–1943) German student who took part in resistance to Hitler and the Nazi party. She helped distribute leaflets criticising the war and the Nazi ideology. She was executed for ‘ treason’ and became an important symbol of German resistance to Hitler.

Oprah Winfrey – US talk show host who became an important figurehead for women in America. Encouraged belief in self-improvement.

Martin Luther – Martin Luther was the most influential figure in the Reformation of the sixteenth century. It was Luther who challenged the excesses of the Catholic church, leading to the Protestant movement and forcing the Catholic Church to reinvigorate itself.

Edward Jenner – led pioneering work on the development of an inoculation against deadly smallpox. Opened up the way to more immunisations, arguably saving the lives of millions of people around the world.

Sir Isaac Newton – One of the greatest scientists of all time. Isaac Newton led the foundation of modern physics with his development of theories on gravity and mechanics.

St Francis of Assisi – Christian mystic who founded a new monastic order committed to the essence of the Christian gospels.

Thurgood Marshall (1908 – 1993) US civil rights lawyer and the first African-American appointed to the US Supreme Court Justice. Marshall was the lead lawyer in the pivotal Supreme Court Case Brown vs Board of Education, Topeka (1954) which overturned legal racial segregation in the US.

14th Dalai Lama – Spiritual leader of Tibetan people. Helped to popularise principles of Buddhism around the world.

Pablo Picasso – Iconic twentieth-century artist, known for his commitment to peace.

John Lennon – Iconic singer-songwriter. Member of the Beatles.

Desmond Tutu – South African anti-apartheid campaigner. He sought to heal wounds after the end of apartheid through the Truth and Reconciliation committee.

Michelangelo – Never suffering from false modesty, Michelangelo referred to himself as ‘God’s own artist’. But, in the case of Michelangelo, his self-belief was well justified. His artistic output includes some of the greatest works of art ever produced: The Pieta, The Sistine Chapel, the Statue of David.

Jesse Owens – Jesse Owen’s four gold medals at Hitler’s 1936 Olympics in Berlin was one of the great moments of sport, which helped to puncture the Nazi ideology of Aryan supremacy. Jesse Owens was a modest hero who remained a great ambassador for the sport.

Pope John Paul II – Polish pope who played a role in the transition from a Communist to a more democratic Eastern Europe.

B.R Ambedkar (1891–1956) Indian social reformer. Ambedkar was born in the Mahar ‘untouchable’ caste but became a pioneering political activist and social reformer. He was the principal figure in the drafting of the Indian Constitution, which outlawed ‘untouchability’ and promoted equality.

Sri Chinmoy (1931–2007) An Indian spiritual teacher whose philosophy combined the mysticism of the East with the dynamism of the West. He founded the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, a worldwide relay run that promotes greater friendship and understanding.

St Teresa of Avila – 16th Century Spanish mystic and poet. Helped revitalise religious life in Spain, despite the Inquisition and patriarchal nature of society.

Pele – One of world’s greatest ever footballers. Became international sporting icon.

Abbe Pierre – French humanitarian who set up a charity for the homeless.

Sri Aurobindo – Early Indian nationalist leader who later retired from politics to devote his life to yoga, spirituality and poetry.

Annie Besant – involved in representing women and workers in 19th Century Britain. Became leading member of Theosophy Society and supported Indian independence.

Emile Zatopek – Greatest long distance runner, winning three gold medals at the 1954 Olympics. A principled supporter of Czech democracy, he was sent to work in mines for his opposition to the Communist government.

St Therese Lisieux – A Carmelite nun, who died aged 24, unknown to the world. After her death her simple writings had a profound effect becoming one of the best-selling spiritual writings. Her approach was a deceptively simple approach to doing the smallest acts with love.

Audrey Hepburn – Actress later involved in working for UNESCO.

Betty Williams – Awarded Nobel Peace Prize for her peace work in Northern Ireland.

Bob Geldof – Musician and charity campaigner. Launched ‘Band Aid’ in 1984 to help African famine.

Eva Peron – Argentinian First Lady, founded influential charity and helped create a more equal society.

Sir Titus Salt – Victorian industrialist who was also concerned for the welfare of workers. Helped to build a model village and insist on better working conditions.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer – German pastor and pacifist who was executed for his opposition to Hitler in Nazi Germany.

Harriet Beecher Stowe – American writer and campaigner against slavery. The author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Kofi Annan – Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006. Awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

Lech Walesa – Polish opposition leader who became a symbolic figure in efforts to end Communist rule.

Malala Yousafzai – Pakistani schoolgirl who defied threats of the Taliban to campaign for the right to education. She survived being shot in the head by the Taliban and has become a global advocate for human rights, women’s rights and the right to education.

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan “People who made a difference”, Oxford, UK. www.biographyonline.net, 18th July 2013. Updated 26 January 2018

Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World

Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World at Amazon

Related pages

Famous Humanitarians – Famous people who have offered charitable service to others, including Mother Teresa, William Wilberforce, Florence Nightingale and Princess Diana.

Women who changed the world – Famous women who changed the world. Features female Prime Ministers, scientists, cultural figures, authors and royalty. Includes; Cleopatra, Princess Diana, Marie Curie, Queen Victoria, and Joan of Arc.

People who promoted world peace – People who have made a great contribution to creating a more peaceful world. Including Mahatma Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, Malala Yousafzai Pope John Paul II and Mikhail Gorbachev.

People who made a positive contribution – People who all left the world in a better place. Including Marie Curie, Hariet Tubman, Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt.

People who fought for human/civil rights – People who campaigned for equality, civil rights and civil justice. Includes Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.

  • Young people who made a difference

It’s easy to feel like one can person can’t make a difference. The world has so many big problems, and they often seem impossible to solve.

So when we started 80,000 Hours — with the aim of helping people do good with their careers — one of the first questions we asked was “how much difference can one person really make?”

We learned that while many common ways to do good, such as becoming a doctor, have less impact than you might first think; others have allowed certain people to achieve an extraordinary impact.

In other words, one person can make a difference, but you might have to do something a little unconventional.

In this article, we start by estimating how much good you could do by becoming a doctor. Then, we share some stories of the highest-impact people in history, and consider what they mean for your career.

Reading time: 6 minutes

How much impact do doctors have?

Many people who want to help others become doctors. One of our early readers, Dr. Greg Lewis, did exactly that. “I want to study medicine because of a desire I have to help others,” he wrote on his university application, “and so the chance of spending a career doing something worthwhile I can’t resist.”

So, we wondered: how much difference does becoming a doctor really make? In 2012, we teamed up with Greg to find out, and this work is now being reviewed for publication.

Since a doctor’s main purpose is to improve health, we tried to figure out how much extra “health” one doctor actually adds to humanity. We found that, on average in the course of their career, a doctor in the UK will enable their patients to live an extra combined 140 years of healthy life, either by extending their lifespans or by improving their overall health. There is, of course, a huge amount of uncertainty in this figure, but the real figure is unlikely to be more than ten times higher than 140.1

Using a standard conversion rate (used by the World Bank among other institutions) of 30 extra years of healthy life to one “life saved,” 140 years of healthy life is equivalent to 5 lives saved. This is clearly a significant impact, however it’s less of an impact than many people expect doctors to have.

There are three main reasons for this.

  1. Researchers largely agree that medicine has only increased average life expectancy by a few years. Most gains in life expectancy over the last 100 years have instead occurred due to better nutrition, improved sanitation, increased wealth, and other factors.
  2. Doctors are only one part of the medical system, which also relies on nurses and hospital staff, as well as overhead and equipment. The impact of medical interventions is shared between all of these elements.

  3. Most importantly, there are already a lot of doctors in the developed world, so if you don’t become a doctor, someone else will be available to perform the most critical procedures. Additional doctors therefore only enable us to carry out procedures that deliver less significant and less certain results.

This last point is illustrated by the chart below, which compares the impact of doctors in different countries. The y-axis shows the amount of ill health in the population, measured in Disability-Adjusted Life Years (aka “DALYs”) per 100,000 people, where one DALY equals one year of life lost due to ill health. The x-axis shows the number of doctors per 100,000 people.

DALYs per 100,000 people versus doctors per 100,000 people. We used WHO data from 2004. Line is the best fitting hyperbola determined by non-linear least square regression. Full explanation in this paper.

You can see that the curve goes nearly flat once you have more than 150 doctors per 100,000 people. After this point (which almost all developed countries meet), additional doctors only achieve a small impact on average.

So if you become a doctor in a rich country like the US or UK, you may well do more good than you would in many other jobs, and if you would be an exceptional doctor, then you’ll have a bigger impact than these averages. But it probably won’t be a huge impact.

In fact, in the next article, we’ll show how almost any college graduate can do more to save lives than a typical doctor. And in the guide, we’ll cover many other examples of common but ineffective attempts to do good.

These findings motivated Greg to switch from clinical medicine into public health, for reasons we’ll explain over the rest of the guide.

Who were the highest-impact people in history?

Despite this uninspiring statistic about how many lives a doctor saves, some doctors have had much more impact than this. Let’s look at some examples of the highest-impact careers in history, and see what we might learn from them. First, let’s turn to medical research.

In 1968, while working in a refugee camp on the border of Bangladesh and Burma, Dr. David Nalin discovered a breakthrough treatment for patients suffering from diarrhea. He realised that giving patients water mixed with the right concentration of salt and sugar would rehydrate them at the same rate at which they lost water. This prevented death from dehydration much more cheaply than did the conventional treatment of using an intravenous drip.

Dr. Nalin helped to save millions of lives with a simple innovation: giving diarrhoea patients water mixed with salt and sugar.

Since then, this astonishingly simple treatment has been used all over the world, and the annual rate of child deaths from diarrhea has plummeted from 5 million to 1.3 million. Researchers estimate that the therapy has saved about 50 million lives, mostly children’s.2

If Dr. Nalin had not been around, someone else would, no doubt, have discovered this treatment eventually. However, even if we imagine that he sped up the roll-out of the treatment by only five months, his work alone would have saved about 500,000 lives. This is a very approximate estimate, but it makes his impact more than 100,000 times greater than that of an ordinary doctor:

But even just within medical research, Dr. Nalin is far from the most extreme example of a high-impact career. For example, one estimate puts Karl Landsteiner’s discovery of blood groups as saving tens of millions of lives.3

Leaving the medical field, later in the guide, we’ll cover the story of a hugely impactful mathematician, Alan Turing, and bureaucrat, Viktor Zhdanov.

Or, let’s think even more broadly. Roger Bacon and Galileo pioneered the scientific method, without which none of the discoveries we covered above would have been possible, along with other major technological breakthroughs like the Industrial Revolution. These individuals were able to do vastly more good than even outstanding medical practitioners.

The unknown Soviet Lieutenant Colonel who saved your life

Or consider the story of Stanislav Petrov, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Soviet army during the Cold War. In 1983, Petrov was on duty in a Soviet missile base when early warning systems apparently detected an incoming missile strike from the United States. Protocol dictated that the Soviets order a return strike.

But Petrov didn’t push the button. He reasoned that the number of missiles was too small to warrant a counterattack, thereby disobeying protocol.

If he had ordered a strike, there’s at least a reasonable chance hundreds of millions would have died. The two countries may have even ended up engaged in an all-out nuclear war, leading to billions of deaths and, potentially, the end of civilisation. If we’re being conservative, we might quantify his impact by saying he saved one billion lives. But that could be an underestimate, because a nuclear war would also have devastated scientific, artistic, economic and all other forms of progress leading to a huge loss of life and well-being over the long run. Yet even with the lower estimate, Petrov’s impact likely dwarfs that of Nalin and Landsteiner.

What does this spread in impact mean for your career?

We’ve seen that some careers have had huge positive effects, and some have vastly more than others.

Some component of this is due to luck – the people mentioned above were in the right place at the right time, affording them the opportunity to have an impact that they might not have otherwise received. You can’t guarantee you’ll make an important medical discovery.

But it wasn’t all luck: Landsteiner and Nalin chose to use their medical knowledge to solve some of the most harmful health problems of their day, and it was foreseeable that someone high up in the Soviet military could have a large impact by preventing conflict during the Cold War. So, what does this mean for you?

People often wonder how they can “make a difference”, but if some careers can result in thousands of times more impact than others, this isn’t the right question. Two career options can both “make a difference”, but one could be dramatically better than the other.

Instead, the key question is, “how can I make the most difference?” In other words: what can you do to give yourself a chance of having one of the highest-impact careers? Because the highest-impact careers achieve so much, a small increase in your chances means a great deal.

The examples above also show that the highest-impact paths might not be the most obvious ones. Being an officer in the Soviet military doesn’t sound like the best career for a would-be altruist, but Petrov probably did more good than our most celebrated leaders, not to mention our most talented doctors. Having a big impact might require doing something a little unconventional.

So how much impact can you have if you try, while still doing something personally rewarding? It’s not easy to have a big impact, but there’s a lot you can do to increase your chances. That’s what we’ll cover in the next couple of articles.

But first, let’s clarify what we mean by “making a difference”. We’ve been talking about lives saved so far, but that’s not the only way to do good in the world.

What does it mean to “make a difference?”

Everyone talks about “making a difference” or “changing the world” or “doing good” or “impact”, but few ever define what they mean.

So here’s our definition. Your social impact is given by:

The number of people whose lives you improve, and how much you improve them.

This means you can increase your social impact in two ways: by helping more people, or by helping the same number of people to a greater extent (pictured below).

We also include the lives you improve in the future, so you can also increase your impact by helping in ways that have long-term benefits. For example, if you improve the quality of government decision-making, you might not see many quantifiable short-term results, but you will have solved lots of other problems over the long-run.

Optional: Why did we choose this definition?

Many people disagree about what it means to make the world a better place. But most agree that it’s good if people have happier, more fulfilled lives, in which they reach their potential. So, our definition is narrow enough that it captures this idea.

Moreover, as we’ll show, some careers do far more to improve lives than others, so it captures a really important difference between options. If some paths can do good equivalent to saving hundreds of lives, while others have little impact at all, that’s an important difference.

But, the definition is also broad enough to cover many different ways to make the world a better place. It’s even broad enough to cover environmental protection, since if we let the environment degrade, the future of civilisation might be threatened. In that way, protecting the environment improves lives.

Many of our readers also expand the scope of their concern to include non-human animals, which is one reason why we did a profile on factory farming.

That said, the definition doesn’t include everything that might matter. You might think the environment deserves protection even if it doesn’t make people better off. Similarly, you might value things like justice and aesthetic beauty for their own sake.

In practice, our readers value many different things. Our approach is to focus on how to improve lives, and then let people independently take account of what else they value. To make this easier, we try to highlight the main value judgments behind our work. It turns out there’s a lot we can say about how to do good in general, despite all these differences.

How to measure social impact?

We are always uncertain about how much impact different actions will have, but that’s okay, because we can use probabilities to make the comparison. For instance, a 90% chance of helping 100 people is roughly equivalent to a 100% chance of helping 90 people. Though we’re uncertain, we can quantify our uncertainty and make progress.

Moreover, we can still use rules of thumb to compare different courses of action. For instance, in an upcoming article we argue that, all else equal, it’s higher-impact to work on neglected areas. So, even if we can’t precisely measure social impact, we can still be strategic by picking neglected areas. We’ll cover many more rules of thumb for increasing your impact in the upcoming articles.

(Read more about the definition of social impact.)

So how can you improve lives with your career?

In the next article, we’ll cover how any college graduate can make a big impact in any job. Then, after that we’ll cover how to choose a job in which you can do the most good possible.

Part 3: No matter your job, here’s 3 ways anyone can have a big impact

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