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Strange brains and genius : the secret lives of eccentric scientists and madmen

by Pickover, Clifford A.

Format: Print Book 1998
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction Q147.P53 1998
Location  CLP - Main Library
 
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
 
Call Number  Q147.P53 1998
 
 
Carnegie Library of McKeesport Nonfiction 509.22 P587
Location  Carnegie Library of McKeesport
 
Collection  Nonfiction
 
Call Number  509.22 P587
 
 
Summary
In this unusual and penetrating work, Clifford Pickover internationally recognized science popularizer - takes us on a wild ride through the bizarre lives of brilliant, but eccentric geniuses who made significant contributions to science and philosophy. Unveiling the hidden secrets of a number of the most intelligent and prolific real-life mad scientists, Pickover delights us with unexpected stories of their obsessive personalities and strange phobias. These common threads lead us to wonder if creativity and genius are inextricably linked to madness. A highly entertaining collection of oddity and mischief, this original new work playfully uncovers the scandalous details that lurk behind the unseemly lives of these geniuses. We discover that the "Unabomber," Ted Kaczynski, a mathematical whiz with an IQ of 170, was pathologically shy, had an uncontrollable obsession with loud sounds, especially earthy bodily noises, and enjoyed playing practical jokes in high school, such as creating homemade gadgets that would pop loudly and emit a stream of violet smoke amid class - a compulsion that may have turned deadly. Then there was the great inventor Nikola Tesla who had a peculiar love for pigeons, particularly white ones, and was terrified of women's pearls. Plenty of other surprises abound, including the statistician and world explorer Francis Galton who quantified anything he saw - including the curves of women's bodies, and then there are others who all lived exceedingly unusual sexual or celibate lives. With Pickover's unique ability to draw the reader into this marvelous web of madness, he amuses us with remarkably quirky quotations attributed to these geniuses, and enchants us with intriguing yet morbid anecdotes celebrating the wonderfully unconventional childhood and careers of these individuals. Moreover, a fascinating "curiosity smorgasbord" to whet our appetites teases us with provocative questions to ponder along the way, such as: Where is Einstein's brain?
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Filled with 200 years of eccentric geniuses, this delightful collection of profiles assembles an eclectic and fascinating sampling of scientists (as well as some artists and writers) with a far-ranging assortment of phobias, compulsions, odd belief systems and extraordinarily weird habits. Chief among the scientists is Nikola Tesla, father of alternating current and countless other electrical devices, who could be seen on New York City's streets covered in pigeons, was obsessed with the number three and repulsed by jewelry, particularly pearls. Then there is Oliver Heaviside, a Victorian mathematician and electrical researcher who painted his nails bright pink, signed his correspondence "W.O.R.M." and cruelly kept the woman charged with his care a virtual prisoner in her own house, later driving her into catatonia. Also explored are the lives of Samuel Johnson, van Gogh and legendary mathematician Paul Erdos, among others. Pickover, a high-tech inventor and researcher at IBM and a prolific author (TimeƄA Traveler's Guide; Forecasts, Apr. 20) shows genuine fondness for his subjects and an appreciation of their accomplishments, which he explains clearly and succinctly. More than simply cataloguing unusual traits, Pickover also speculates on causes and diagnoses, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). This is lively and immensely enjoyable scientific history. Photos throughout. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Scientists -- Psychology.
Genius.
Eccentrics and eccentricities.
Scientists -- Biography.
Publisher New York :Plenum Trade,1998
Language English
Description xiv, 332 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 332-325) and index.
ISBN 0306457849
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