Five Locals Make Foreign Policy’s ‘100 Leading Global Thinkers’ List

Nothing to see here—just hunting down malaria, printing 3D tissue, and proving the Big Bang Theory.


MIT photo by Margaret Burdge

Foreign Policy magazine released its sixth annual “100 Leading Global Thinkers” list Monday, recognizing 100 individuals and teams in various fields with inspired and influential ideas.

The Global Thinkers are divided into 10 categories and include artists, scientists, politicians, activists, and even five terrorists, whom you’ll find in the Agitators category along with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

FP also pulled out some interesting stats on their 2014 list. For example, of the 131 individuals named, 80 are men, and 51 are women. Thirty-three percent are in their 40s. Twenty-eight were born in the U.S., while 31 and 37 were born in Europe and Asia respectively.

And no one should be surprised that a few on the list do their work in Cambridge:

John Kovac
Astronomer, Harvard

Kovac is part of the “Naturals” category, “for proving that it all started with a Bang.” He and his collaborators collected hard evidence in support of the Big Bang theory this year. Kovac was also on Time magazine’s Most Influential list this past spring.

Jennifer Lewis
Materials scientist, Harvard

Lewis is taking 3D printing to the next level by developing “inks” comprising organic, metal, and other materials. Printing organs is a moon shot, she tells FP, but her work shows it could happen…someday.

Boaz Barak
Senior researcher, Microsoft

Along with physicists Alexander Glaser and Robert Goldston at Princeton, Barak and his partners designed a system that inspects warheads without revealing top secret info.

John Lewandowski
PhD student, MIT

Lewandowski, Weng Kung Peng (Singapore), and Brian Grimberg (Cleveland) made FP’s list “for using magnets to beat malaria.” Among the three of them, there are two devices in development that can diagnose the disease within minutes from just a blood sample.

Sangeeta Bhatia
Engineer and physician, MIT

Bhatia’s research also works toward more affordable diagnosis…of colon cancer. She and her team are working on a technique that would make screenings “as easy as a pregnancy test.”


Learn more about these and other 2014 Global Thinkers at