Have you ever thought about who is the smartest person on the planet? But there certainly is such a person, or such a person could ever live. Let’s talk about William James Sidis, whose name is hardly familiar to you. He is not a celebrity, and therefore they rarely talk about him, although he was a unique person.
Childhood and school years of William James Sidis
William James Sidis was born on April 1, 1898, in New York. He was the son of Jews who emigrated from Berdichev, which at that time belonged to the Russian Empire. Today it is the Zhytomyr region of Ukraine.
William James Sidis learned to write by the end of the first year of his life, and by the age of 4 he had read Homer in the original. At age 6, he fully studied Aristotelian logic and, before he was 8 years old, wrote 4 books, including one monograph on anatomy.
At age 7, William James Sidis passed the exam at Harvard Medical School. Before he was 9 years old, he knew 8 languages: English, Russian, French, German, Latin, Greek and Hebrew, as well as another language that he invented himself. Later, William Sidis will be fluent in 40 languages and easily switch from one to another.
At the age of 11, William Sidis entered Harvard University and was soon lecturing at the local math club. Sidis graduated from Harvard with honors at age 16.
What kind of person was William Sidis
And now a few words about the life of a child prodigy. Socially, Sidis was a completely passive person. While still a young man, he stated that he did not intend to marry – he wanted to devote his life to intellectual development.
In 1919, shortly after leaving law school, he was arrested for taking part in a May Day demonstration and was sentenced to a year and a half in prison. However, Sidis’ father managed to convince the district attorney not to send William to jail. To heal the trauma, the parents took their son to a sanatorium and insisted that he apologize. Otherwise, they threatened to put him in a lunatic asylum. Apparently, their unique system of raising a genius was beginning to falter.
Sidis’ adult life, relationships with people, work
In general, it must be said that William Sidis was hardly a happy man. Throughout his life, the press hounded him, savoring the stupid and ridiculous details of his personal life, and the environment, starting with the Harvard comrades, did not understand and ridiculed his clumsiness and dissimilarity to others.
Throughout his life, Sidis worked as a simple accountant, wore ordinary rural clothes and quit his job as soon as his extraordinary abilities were discovered there. In an effort to live unnoticed, he constantly hid from journalists who pursued him everywhere.
Death of William Sidis from a cerebral hemorrhage
William James Sidis died of an intracerebral hemorrhage in 1944 at the age of 46. Interestingly, his father died of the same disease at the age of 56. It is quite possible that the reason for William Sidis’s incredible giftedness was his parents’ maniacal idea to raise a genius from their son because his father was one of the largest psychiatrists and psychologists in the United States, and it is he who is the founder of psychopathology. Moreover, all his life, he dealt with hypnosis and psychotherapy.
Final thought concerning the fate of the most gifted man
In conclusion, I would like to say that it is William James Sidis, despite his exceptional talent, that is often cited as an example of the fact that child prodigies cannot always achieve scientific and even personal success in adulthood.
Indeed, we cannot say what significant discoveries, studies or ideas Sidis offered to the scientific world. Nevertheless, he deserves the title of the most gifted person in history quite rightly. Another thing is that his incredible talents practically did not serve humanity in any way.