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Timeline

1. Leonardo da Vinci
There is no figure of the past 1,000 years to have had as much influence over so much of our lives in so many areas. Be it the image of the Mona Lisa, his understanding of flight and its principles or his detailed medieval drawings. Almost every aspect of modern life can trace influence on this one man. He took civilisation from superstition to the scientific and rational in one fell swoop.

2. Sir Isaac Newton
His understanding of the universe, solar system and gravity created modern physics and led directly to Einstein in the 20th Century.

3. Niccolo Machiavelli
His treatise The Prince influenced kings, revolutionaries, dictators and so much of the under world.

4. Captain James Cook
The concept of scientific adventure rather than simple discovery for the sake of plunder and pillage.

5. Napoleon Bonaparte
Influenced European and world history. His concept of administration education in government became a worldwide model.

6. Charles Babbage
The concept of the computer

7. Michael Faraday
Electricity to make those computers a reality

8. Adam Smith and Karl Marx
Equally important as both have shaped out whole capitalist philosophy from different perspectives. Marx led to Lenin and then Stalin.

9. James Watson and Francis Crick
It would be easy to name my person of the century in political terms: Hitler, Stalin and Churchill, or indeed a scientist in the tradition of Issac Newton, such as Albert Einstein. However, I have chosen two less well-known individuals. Watson and Crick unlocked the secrets of the "double helix" of genetic "DNA" codes in the 1950s at Cambridge University. In 50 years time, I believe they will be regarded as either the saviours of mankind or the opposite (in my personal opinion it will be the former). What is not in doubt, is the huge impact their work will have on our next 100 years on the planet.

10. Mahatma Gandhi
For his principles and courage in leading India's independence movement. He showed that society could change without the need for violence.

Richard Branson
Richard Branson is the UK's best-known businessman and a popular hero. He built the Virgin empire from scratch - as well as the airline, record shop chain, cinemas and rail company, Virgin sells financial services, clothes, soft drinks and mobile phones. It also runs a publishing company.

Mr Branson's daredevil adventures have fired the public imagination since 1985 when he was plucked from the sea after a failed attempt to cross the Atlantic in record time. Success came a year later, though he was disappointed in 1998 when he was beaten in the first ever round-the-world voyage in a hot air balloon.