Cambridge defines polymath as "a person who knows a lot about many different subjects."
Here are some notable polymaths:
- Muḥammad ibn Mūsā was a Persian polymath, influential in mathematics, astronomy, and geography. The word algorithm comes from his name (al-Khwārizmī being Latinized as Algoritmi).
- Leonardo da Vinci was the quintessential "Renaissance man" (a synonym for polymath).
- Benjamin Franklin was a pioneer in the scientific understanding of electricity.
- Charles Babbage came up with the idea of a programmable, general-purpose computer -- in 1822!
- Charles Sanders Peirce, a good friend of William James, saw as early as 1886 that electrical circuits could be used to perform logical operations.