What makes a genius? It’s a tough question with no definitive answers, but becoming one seems to involve a combo of nature, nurture, legacy, and luck.
Just who is a genius might seem like an easier question. (Albert Einstein is always a safe bet.) Still, not every influential artist, scientist, and scholar has become a household name—even though their impacts continue to resonate across society. For instance, the traditional dominance of white European males means that many brilliant women and people of color have been lost to history. And even when you appreciate the works of a genius, you may not know much about their personal lives.
This gallery of luminaries may include some strangers among the familiar faces. See how many of these historical geniuses you can name—and then see how many of their traits you share.