By the age of 9, Blaise Pascal had already written a treatise on mathematics. Mozart was five when he began composing sonatas, Jon Von Neumann told jokes in ancient Greek and was capable of complex mental calculations. In this list of child prodigies we can also locate Daniel Baremboin, Bobby Fischer, pianist Martha Argerich, Lili Boulanger and more.
But many of them had, along with the blessing of an innate talent, a curse: a tragic end or a life of complex relationships.
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And the same happened with who is known as the most intelligent human being in history: William James Sidis.
Whether his intelligence was innate or cultivated is something we will never know. What we can affirm that his father and mother they expected no less of the.
William was the son of a physician, Sarah Mandelbaun, and of a psychiatrist and philosopher, Boris Sidis.
Between them they had a crazy idea: to have a child and encourage him to be a little genius. They made it? Here are the tests.
A great little genius
William James Sidis was born in 1898 and was not yet two years old when he could read the ‘New York Times’ perfectly. At four he wrote his first story, in French. A year later created a formula by which he could know the day of the week of any historical date.
By then he was already speaking not only English, French and Latin, he was also fluent in Russian, Turkish, Armenian, German and Hebrew. All the languages that allowed him to communicate with the vast Jewish community that surrounded him.
At age eight he developed a series of logarithms based on the number twelve, the age at which entered Harvard (He was going to enter a year earlier, but the university suggested that he wait another year) becoming the youngest person to enter the institution.
He graduated at age four in mathematics and with top honors. The following year, 1915, he began working as an assistant professor at Rice University, while studying for his doctorate.
A misunderstood genius
He spoke 40 languages, invented his own dialect, vendegood, wrote dozens of books (most of them with a pseudonym and on different topics) and everyone admired him, except the scientific community, to which he desperately wanted to belong. .
They considered it a fairground phenomenon, a passing attraction.
How smart was he? There are those who speak of an IQ of more than 250, Einstein had 160.
But he was never entirely happy. His last years were spent running away from his parents, in love with a woman he did not know how to approach (he never had a relationship).
Burdened by the press, questioned by society: he refused to enlist in the army during World War II, declared himself an atheist and leftist, and participated in questioned political marches during those years.
A sad ending
In the middle of activism he met Martha Foley, an Irish activist with whom he would have fallen in love.
But his father forbidden to continue seeing her and Sidis complied, although he also stopped visiting his father.
He locked himself in his apartment until he suffered a stroke and died on July 17, 1944.
They found him a week later and next to him, among his personal belongings, was a photograph: the face of Martha Foley.
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