Smartest People in the World
While there may be no sure way to quantify true genius , we take a look at 16 people whose intellect is rarely rivaled in their respective fields and who have used their genius to champion the causes they are most passionate about.
 Albert Einstein
Today marks the 132nd anniversary of the birth of Albert Einstein. His work in the field of physics -- including groundbreaking theory -- has made his name synonymous with the word "genius" . In honor of his brainiac legacy, here's a list of some modern-day megaminds who've made waves in the worlds of technology, media and science.

Stephen Hawking
Theoretical physicist

Despite suffering from this motor neuron disease, Hawking has gone on to become one of the most respected theoretical physicists in the world today. He is best known for his breakthrough studies regarding specific holes in space. Most recently, Hawking has been in the news for his ideas on nonhuman intellectual life and this time-sensitive theory.
 Samantha Power
Power is an Irish-born American journalist who's written about such heavy topics as genocide in her award-winning war coverage. She's a presidential appointee to the National Security Council with a passion for human rights.
 Jaron Lanier
Computer scientist

In the near future, video game geeks may look to Lanier as a god, as he is known for pioneering this technology, as far back as the 1980s. Lanier, however, envisions more practical uses for his expertise, such as this and this. Lanier is also accomplished in this art.
 Elon Musk
Physicist, entrepreneur and philanthropist

At the age of 28, the native of this country, south of the equator, started this oft-used banking website -- and he was only getting started. Now 38 years old, Musk is CEO of this company, which is developing space launch vehicles; CEO and co-founder of this electric car company and primary investor in this energy-saving company, which was started to help combat global warming. He also served as a modern inspiration for this superhero's alter ego.
 Edna Foa, Ph.D.

For 30 years, Foa has studied one of the most debilitating psychological diseases in modern history. Ten years ago, she began developing a cognitive approach to curing it that is just now being embraced by the mainstream. This branch of the U.S. government is using Foa's therapy on war veterans.
 Malcolm Gladwell
This writer and magazine journalist gained widespread attention with such nonfiction works as his first best-selling book and this analysis of success.
 Arianna Huffington
In February, this Greek media mogul sold her news and opinion website to AOL -- see the price tag -- making her editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group. She now oversees everything from fashion to cartography.
Harold Varmus
Varmus is the director of the National Cancer Institute, which falls under this umbrella. His scientific discovery won him  an impressive prize in the '80s.
Steven Chu
This physicist and former molecular and cellular biology professor is a prize-winning United States Cabinet member. His puts his mind to such tough subjects as climate change and has innovative ideas for the future of fuel.
 Steve Jobs
Apple's CEO and co-founder helped change the way we listen to music, enjoy movies and share information. Watch him debut his latest creation.

Mark Zuckerberg

Thanks to the 26-year-old creator and CEO of Facebook, people all around the world have gotten connected, and the company is now worth billions. Zuckerberg has become prime Hollywood fodder and has the clout to earn a presidential private audience.
Tim Berners-Lee

This British computer scientist is credited with inventing the World Wide Web and continues to oversee its expansion. He received one of his country's highest honors and is in high standing in this country as well.

Nergis Mavalvala

Quantum Astrophysicist

 Nergis Mavalvala is a physicist whose research links the world of quantum mechanics, normally apparent only at the atomic scale, with some of the most powerful, yet elusive, forces in the cosmos. Although predicted by General Relativity Theory, gravitational waves—fluctuations in space-time curvature that propagate as waves in a pond—are very difficult to observe directly. As a graduate student, Mavalvala developed a prototype laser interferometer for detecting gravitational waves. This early work led to the identification of an important stabilization principle that was later incorporated into the design for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), a collaboration among scores of physicists and currently the most sensitive observatory of its kind.

Margaret Turnbull
This astrobiologist has made a career seeking intelligent life-forms on HabStars. She's worked with leading star scholars and there's even an asteroid bearing her name.
 John O. Dabiri
Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering

Dabiri is a professor of aeronautics and bioengineering Who's studied these simple aquatic creatures as a means of better understanding some pretty complex mechanics.