When thinking of rich lists, celebrities, heirs, heiresses, the nobility, and business founders spring to mind. However, there are many people who are leaders in their field who have become wealthy, including some of the top and most famous scientists.
These people have often become rich due to their research or innovations, and they are people who others in that industry hold in high esteem. Some have also founded hugely successful companies that design or manufacture innovative products or life-changing pharmaceuticals.
Their success has led to many achieving billionaire statuses. Here are the 20 richest scientists in the world and how they achieved their net worth.
20. Yuan Jiandong, $1 Billion
According to Forbes, Yuan Jiandong has a net worth of $1 billion. He is a chemist from China who is the founder and Chairman of BrightGene Bio-Medical Technology. Yuan attended Peking University and graduated with a degree in chemicals. The scientist then went on to achieve a Ph.D. in chemistry at the State University of New York. After graduating in 1998, Yuan worked for Enzo Biochem in the United States. He founded his own company in 2001 after returning to China.
19. Chen Baohua, $1.2 Billion
Chen Baohua is currently the 19th richest scientist in the world and the 2035th richest billionaire in the world, with a net worth of $1.2 billion. In 2020, he was listed in the 333rd position on the Forbes China Rich List. Chen Baohua studied for a degree in chemical analysis at the Zhejiang University of Technology.
After graduating, the scientist worked at a state-run pharmaceutical factory. He quit his job in 1989 when he was only 29 so that he could start his own company. At that time, he had less than $3,000 to start his business. His pharmaceutical supply business grew and eventually became Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Company, Lt..
18. August Troendle, $1.3 Billion
American August Troendle trained as a doctor at the University of Maryland before founding Medpace in 1992. Medpace is a company that conducts clinical trials and contract work for pharmaceutical firms developing medical devices and drugs. Troendle took his company public in 2016, which significantly increased his wealth. His company began producing antibody and swab tests during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is how he became a billionaire.
17. Li Wenmei, $1.3 Billion
Li Wenmei is a Chinese scientist turned businessperson who studied for his master's degree at Jilin University. He started his career in the 1980s teaching at the University of South China. In 1992, he co-founded Wanfu, which later became Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech, with his wife, Wang Jihua. His wife is currently the chairman of the company, while he is the general manager. The company is a supplier of medical diagnostic tests.
16. Hu Gengxi, $1.5 Billion
Hu Gengxi is a biochemist who holds a Ph.D. from the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the China Academy of Science. After graduating, he continued his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then returned to China to set up the Human Genome Center. He is now the Chairman of Zhejiang Wolwo Bio-Pharmaceutical. This company is a supplier of anti-allergen products. They also produce and supply skin-prick diagnostic tests. In 2020, Hu Gengxi was listed as the 307th richest person in China on the Forbes China Rich List. Hu Gengxi currently resides in Shanghai, China.
15. Robert Langer, $1.5 Billion
Robert Langer works as a professor of medical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is known for his pioneering work in the field of biomedical engineering. However, it is through an investment that Langer has become a billionaire. He was a founding investor in Moderna, owning a three percent stake in the company. He has never sold his stake, and it is his Moderna shares that have given him a net worth of $1.5 billion.
14. Xie Liangzhi, $2 Billion
Xie Liangzhi is a Chinese chemical engineer and businessperson. He studied for his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Between 1997 and 2002, he worked as a senior engineer at Merck & Co. in the United States. He is currently the chairman of the Beijing-based company, Sinocelltech Group. It is a supplier of biological products.
13. Zhu Yiwen, $2.2 Billion
Zhu Yiwen is a neurosurgeon and business owner from China. He studied neurosurgery and obtained a graduate degree in clinical medicine in 1992 from the Nanjing Medical University. Zhu Yiwen then began his career in 2007, when he worked at the Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University. According to Bloomberg, he founded Hygeia Healthcare Holdings Co. Ltd. In 2009. His company operates radiotherapy centers and oncology-focused hospitals in China.
12. Dai Lizhong, $2.3 Billion
Chinese scientist and businessperson Dai Lizhong studied for both undergraduate and graduate degrees at Peking University before obtaining a Ph.D. at Princeton University. He then did post-doctoral work in biochemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Between 2000 and 2008, Dai Lizhong worked in the United States for Gen-Probe, a manufacturer of diagnostic products. He is now the Chairman of Sansure Biotech, which is a diagnostic kit supplier.
11. Rajendra Agarwal and Banwari Lal Bawri, and Girdharilal Bawri, $2.6 Billion Each
Rajendra Agarwal, Banwari Lal Bawri, and Girdharilal Bawri are three brothers who founded Macleods Pharmaceuticals in 1986. Their parents owned a pharmacy in Jaipur, and the brothers also worked in the pharmacy before starting their own company. Macleods Pharmaceuticals originally produced anti-TB medicines, although they now also produce pharmaceuticals for diabetes, osteoporosis, and asthma. Each of the brothers has a net worth of $2.6 billion.
10. Timothy Springer, $2.7 Billion
Timothy Springer is an immunologist and a professor at Harvard Medical School. He is known for his pioneering work in the field of immunology, including discovering the first integrins and intercellular adhesion molecules. Springer is also known for his innovative use of monoclonal antibodies in his research. Some of his areas of research include the von Willebrand factor, signaling molecules, transforming growth factor-beta, and malaria.
9. Carl Hansen, $2.9 Billion
Carl Hansen is the co-founder of AbCellera, a Vancouver-based biotech firm. The company uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify antibody treatments for diseases.
Although he founded the company in 2012, Hansen continued to work as a professor at the University of Columbus. However, the Canadian scientist quit the university in 2019 to focus on his company. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength, which is how Hansen has achieved a net worth of $2.9 billion.
8. Gan Zhongru, $3.1 Billion
Gan Zhonghu is a Chinese biologist and businessperson who is known as the co-founder and chairman of Gan & Lee Pharmaceuticals. The company, which is now publicly traded, was founded in 1998.
It specializes in producing insulin and injection pens for those with diabetes. Prior to forming his own company, Gan Zhongru obtained a degree in biology from Peking University, then became a teacher in the university's biology department. He went on to study for a Ph.D. at Michigan State University, then worked at Merck. In 2020, he ranked as the 206th richest person on the Forbes China Rich List.
7. Jin Lei, $3.6 Billion
Jin Lei is a scientist and businessperson who studied for his master's degree at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He also holds a Ph.D. from the University of California. After achieving his doctorate, Jin Lei worked in the U.S. for Genetech, a biomedical firm. In 1995, Jin returned to China to start his own company, GeneScience Pharmaceuticals.
To launch the company, 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.
6. Hao Hong, $3.9 Billion
Hao Hong studied for his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. In 1995, he founded the company Asymchem Laboratories, of which he is the chairman. His company provides a range of pharmaceutical outsourcing services. The success of his business means the Chinese scientist now has a net worth of $3.9 billion, and he is the 181st richest person in China.
5. Ronda Stryker, $6 Billion
Ronda Stryker studied at the University of Northern Colorado and then earned her master's at Western Michigan University. Her grandfather, Homer Stryker, founded Stryker Corporation, a medical equipment manufacturer. Ronda Stryker became the director of the company more than 30 years ago. She has played a significant role in many product developments and innovations.
The company specializes in implants for trauma surgeries and joint replacements. They also develop and produce various types of medical equipment, surgical navigation systems, neurosurgical devices, and communication systems. Ronda Stryker is married to William Johnston, and he is the chairman of the investment management company Greenleaf trust, which owns shares in the Stryker Corporation. The couple has three children.
4. Ugar Sahin, $7.1 Billion
Forbes lists Uagar Sahin as one of the richest scientists in the world. His net worth is $7.1 billion, and he has made his money in the biotechnology industry. The German scientist co-founded BioNTech in 2008, along with his wife, Ozlem Tureci. Sahin's net worth has risen significantly in the last year as his company was successful in producing an effective COVID-19 vaccine.
3. James Dyson, $9.8 Billion
James Dyson is the third wealthiest scientist in the world, with a net worth of $9.8 billion. The British inventor, entrepreneur, industrial designer, and landowner is best known for inventing a bagless vacuum cleaner.
Before becoming an engineer, Dyson first studied art and then furniture and interior design. In addition to designing a vacuum, he also designed a trolley for launching boats and a land and water vessel called the Wheelboat. James Dyson now lives in Singapore with his wife, Deidre, with whom he has two sons and a daughter.
Although they live in Singapore, they own multiple homes across the globe. Their British homes include a 300-acre estate called Dodington Park in Gloucestershire and a large house in Chelsea. They also own land in Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire, and Gloucestershire. Furthermore, they have a vacation home in France and a 299-foot superyacht. Dyson is a philanthropist who set up a charitable foundation to support the education of design and engineering.
2. Gordon Moore, $9.3 Billion
Gordon Moore is a physicist who studied for a degree and a doctoral degree in physics at the California Institute of Technology. In 1968, Moore and Robert Noyce co-founded NM Electronics, which then became the Intel Corporation. The company pioneered new technologies in microprocessor designs and computer memory integrated circuit boards. Moore has received multiple honors and awards for his inventions. He is also the author of a science book called 'Moore's Law.' He has been married to Betty since 1950.
1. James Watson, $20 Billion
According to Wealthy Gorilla, James Watson is the richest scientist in the world as he has a net worth of $20 billion. Watson is a biologist, geneticist, and zoologist who is best known for his work on the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. He earned his degree at the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Indiana University.
Watson also spent a post-doctoral year at the University of Copenhagen before working at the University of Cambridge. Along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, Watson won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. Watson has appeared on many television documentaries and has written multiple science books, as well as publishing research papers.
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Written by Allen Lee
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