A number of people acquire wealth from different fields. There are many successful people who have become authorities in their fields and as such, have made so much money. When thinking of such rich lists, you will always consider celebrities in fashion, entertainment, sports, businesspersons, and many more. There is another set of people we often commonly overlook: the scientists. In this article, you will know the top 10 richest scientists in the world. Read on!
You can only imagine what the world would look like without these people. The world at large depends almost entirely on them for the different inventions and solutions to the different challenges that face mankind. There are people in the scientific world that are highly esteemed due to their track records of success. Most of them have even gone ahead to be founders of industries, thus leading them to attain the billionaire status. Scientists often become rich due to their cutting-edge and innovative research.
Scientists spend almost their entire lives in the laboratory birthing breathtaking inventions in biology and medicine. Some of them have in turn acquired so much fortune that has placed them on the billionaire list.
In this post, we list the top 20 richest scientists in the world and how they achieved their net worth. What’s more, you’ll also know what is making them so wealthy.
Top 10 Richest Scientists in the World
- James Watson
- Stephen Hawking
- Uğur Şahin
- Gordon Earle Moore
- James Dyson
- Ronda Stryker
- Gayle Cook
- Hao Hong
- Gan Zhongru
- Jin Lei
1. James Watson (Estimated Worth: $20 billion)
James Watson is the richest scientist in the world with a net worth of $20 billion. Watson is an American biologist, geneticist, and zoologist who is best known for his work on the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. He earned his degrees at the University of Chicago in 1947 and a Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1950.
Watson had his post-doctoral training at the University of Copenhagen with Herman Kalckar and Ole Maaløe before working at the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory in England. It was at Cambridge that Watson first met his future collaborator, Francis Crick. From 1956 to 1976, Watson was a member of the faculty of the Harvard University Biology Department, promoting research in molecular biology.
Along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, Watson won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for discovering the double helix structure of DNA. This finding is a milestone in molecular biology and information transfer in the cells.
From 1968 Watson served as director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) 1968 and there he shifted his research emphasis to the study of cancer. He resigned his appointment as the chancellor of the laboratory in 2007 after making comments claiming that there is a genetic link between intelligence and race.
In 2019, following the broadcast of a documentary in which Watson reiterated these views on race and genetics, CSHL revoked his honorary titles and severed all ties with him.
Watson has written many science books, including the textbook Molecular Biology of the Gene (1965) and his bestselling book The Double Helix (1968). Between 1988 and 1992, Watson was associated with the National Institutes of Health, helping to establish the Human Genome Project, which completed the task of mapping the human genome in 2003.
2. Stephen Hawking (Estimated Worth: $20 billion)
Stephen Hawking was a theoretical physicist and cosmologist. He was the Lucasian professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009.
Hawkins enrolled in Oxford at the age of 17 and graduated with a first-class degree in physics. He began his graduate work at Trinity Hall Cambridge in 1962 and obtained his Ph.D. in applied mathematics and theoretical physics, specializing in general relativity and cosmology in 1963.
Hawkings is well known for his discoveries and theories of black holes in space. He often gives public lectures and has published numerous books.
Hawkings was popular also because he took part in an interview alongside Arthur C. Clarke, and Carl Sagan in God, the Universe and Everything Else, where the three cosmologists talked about the existence of God, the universe, and the possibility of life in Space.
Hawking was a Fellow of the Royal Society, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. He died on 14 March 2018 at the age of 76, after living with motor neuron disease for more than 50 years.
As of 2022, Stephen Hawkings was estimated to have an estimated net worth of $20 million at the time of his death in 2018.
3. Ugur Sahin: (Estimated Net worth: $15.2 Billion)
Uğur Şahin is a German oncologist and immunologist. He is the CEO of BioNTech. His main fields of research are cancer research and immunology. Sahin owns about 17% of BioNTech, which went public on the Nasdaq in October 2019. Ugur was born in Turkey and raised in Germany.
He grew up in Cologne and studied medicine at the University of Cologne. Further, he completed his doctoral thesis in cancer immunotherapy. He initially remained in academia, inpatient care as an oncohematology physician, and conducted research at university hospitals in Saarland and Zürich. He founded a research group at the University of Mainz in 2000 and became a professor of experimental oncology in 2006.
Şahin began to engage in entrepreneurial activities, co-founding two pharmaceutical companies, in 2001 and 2008, with his partner and spouse Özlem Türeci. The second of these companies, BioNTech, together with Pfizer Inc., developed one of the major vaccines used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The first pharmaceutical company they founded was later bought by Astellas Pharma for $460 million in 2016.
4. Gordon Earle Moore (Estimated worth: $13 billion)
Gordon Earle Moore is an American entrepreneur and the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Intel Corporation. He is also the author of Moore’s Law. Moore is an active philanthropist and the co-founder of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of California. In September 1950, he enrolled at the California Institute of Technology, where he minored in physics and received a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1954. He had his postdoctoral research at the Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University from 1953 to 1956.
With a net worth of $13 billion, Moore is the fourth richest scientist in the world.
5. James Dyson (Estimated Net worth: $9.8 billion)
James Dyson is the fifth wealthiest scientist in the world, with a net worth of $9.8 billion. He is a British inventor, entrepreneur, industrial designer, and landowner. Dyson is the inventor of the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner, which works on the principle of cyclonic separation.
He served as the Provost of the Royal College of Art from August 2011 to July 2017. Dyson is the founder of the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, the university he opened in September 2017.
Between 1965 to 1966, Dyson attended the Byam Shaw School of Art. He then studied furniture and interior design at the Royal College of Art between 1966 to 1960, before moving into engineering.
While at the Royal College of Art, Dyson invented the sea truck. His first original invention was the Ballbarrow, which was a modified version of a wheelbarrow. He then invented the Trolleyball and Whaleboat.
James Dyson now lives in Singapore with his wife, Deidre. He has two sons and a daughter with his wife. Although they live in Singapore, they own multiple homes across the globe.
6. Ronda Stryker (Estimated Net Worth: $7.8 billion)
Ronda Stryker was born in 1954, the daughter of Lee Stryker and his first wife Betty Stryker. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado, and a master’s from Western Michigan University.
Her grandfather, Homer Stryker, founded Stryker Corporation, a medical equipment manufacturer that specializes in implants for trauma surgeries and joint replacements. Ronda Stryker became the director of the company over three decades ago. She has played a significant role in many product developments and innovations.
Stryker is the largest individual shareholder in Stryker Corp with revenue of $17.1 billion in 2021. She owns 6% of the company and her siblings also have stakes. Her husband’s asset management company, Greenleaf Trust, manages additional Stryker shares for its clients.
7. Gayle Cook (Estimated Net worth: $6.2 billion)
Gayle Cook is the sixth richest scientist in the world with an estimated net worth of $6.2 billion. In 1963, Gayle and her late husband, Bills co-founded the Cook Group. Cook Group specializes in stents and catheters that contain pre-injected antibiotics. Cook is another titan in the medical equipment industry. Following the death of her husband in 2011, Gayle went on to inherit the late husband’s stake on the company’s board.
She was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from Indiana University in 1956. She ventured into medicine when the opportunity knocked at her face to form the Cook Group.
8. Hao Hong (Estimated Net worth: $4.4 Billion)
He is the chairman of Shenzhen-listed Asymchem Laboratories, which provides pharmaceutical outsourcing services. Hao holds a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. He founded the company in 1995
With a net worth of $3.9 billion, the Chinese scientist is the eighth richest scientist in the world and the 181st richest person in China.
9. Gan Zhongru (Estimated Net worth: $1.3 Billion)
Gan is co-founder and chairman of Shanghai-listed Gan & Lee Pharmaceuticals. He founded the company in 1998. Gan & Lee Pharmaceuticals specializes in producing insulin and injection pens for diabetics.
Gan graduated from Peking University and later became a teacher in the biology department. He holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University and worked for Merck before he founded Gan & Lee.
10. Jin Lei (Estimated net worth: $1.2 Billion)
Jin Lei is a scientist and businessperson and holds a master’s degree from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a Ph.D. from the University of California. After achieving his doctorate, Jin Lei worked in the U.S. for Genetech, a biomedical firm. Jin returned to China in 1995 and co-founded GeneScience Pharmaceuticals To launch the company in 1996, he received funding from Changchun High & New Tech.
The company specializes in manufacturing recombinant human growth hormones. In 2019, GeneScience Pharmaceuticals merged with Changchun High & New Technology Industries Group, and the company went public.
With an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion, Jin Lei is the ninth richest scientist in the world.