The Italian Almanac

Dario Fo

The Seventh genius

Dario Fo is the only Italian in a list of living geniuses published Monday in the Daily Telegraph. The Nobel prize-winning writer came seventh in the roll-call of big names in the arts, sciences, technology and business, compiled by creativity experts after a British survey.

Joint top place went to Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD, and World Wide Web inventor Sir Timothy Berners-Less. Investor and philanthropist George Soros was third, ahead of the creator of the Simpsons cartoon show, Matt Groening, in fourth. Nelson Mandela was joint fifth alongside British DNA researcher Frederick Sanger.

Fo, who won the Nobel for Literature in 1997, was joint seventh along with British physicist Stephen Hawking. Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, American composer Philip Glass and Russian mathematician Grigory Perelman filled out the Top Ten.

There were some surprise entrants. Osama Bin Laden came joint 43rd along with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, boxing great Muhammad Ali and American writer Philip Roth. Pop music figured heavily. Brian Eno was 15th, Prince 32nd, Stevie Wonder and Brian Wilson joint 49th, Paul MCartney and Leonard Cohen 58th, and David Bowie on 67th spot along with Aretha Franklin. Dolly Parton and Morissey made an unlikely pairing in 94th.

The list was compiled by Creators Synectics, a consultancy firm specialising in creativity and innovation. The firm emailed 4,000 Britins this summer and asked them to nominate ten living geniuses. A six-strong panel then gave the entrants marks out of ten according to the following factors: paradigm shifting; popular acclaim; intellectual power; achievement and cultural importance.