For example I know

There is a similar question about developers-only, Are there famous developers using Stack Overflow?.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Rory Alsop, Ward, S.L. Barth, PolyGeo, rene Oct 7 '16 at 10:42

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Voted to close as this is entirely opinion based. I have never heard of those 2 that the OP mentions, and while @ShadowWizard lists the most famous one I know, most of the famous folks I would list would be unknown to people outside my discipline. – Rory Alsop Oct 7 '16 at 8:07

Peter Shor is a mathematician and a professor at MIT. He is best known for his algorithm, which allows a quantum computer to efficiently find prime factors of large numbers. This might not sound like a big deal, but once we are actually able to create quantum computers of a decent size, we have to replace (almost) all encryption schemes which are currently in use.

As a mathematician, of course he's active at MathOverflow and Theoretical Computer Science, but it is interesting to see that he's one of the top users at English Language & Usage, which I assume is more like a hobby to him.

I recently learned the 1999 Physics Nobel Prize winner, Gerard 't Hooft has also been active on Physics Stack Exchange.


No doubt the most famous person that ever had an active account on a Stack Exchange site is frosty aka Ross Ulbricht.

I don't think there is a need to explain why he's so famous, world wide.

The relation to Stack Overflow is explained well here, and it's also discussed here in Did the Stack Exchange staff members assist in the apprehension of Ross Ulbricht?.

  • 4
    I immediately recognized Peter Shor's name in comments, but had to look up Ross Ulbricht. Not sure what that says about me. – Nathan Tuggy Oct 7 '16 at 1:15
  • 1
    @NathanTuggy same here (well, I immediately recognized his name on EL&U) – Glorfindel Oct 7 '16 at 7:04

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