Friday, January 05, 2007

Eccentric Geniuses

Both Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein were complex and contradictory character. Despite his powerfully analytical mind and his astonishing mathematical genius, Newton held many strange beliefs. To the end of his life, he studied alchemy and the transmutation of metals, that is, how to turn lead into gold. He wrote many curious manuscripts concerning the end of the world and the prophecies of Daniel, which so embarrassed his friends when they discovered them after his death that these writings remained hidden for years.

As a child, Albert Einstein had a poor memory and spent much of his time building card towers or solving jigsaw puzzles. Einstein stopped going to school when he was 15 ; the next year, he failed the entrance examination to the Zurich Polytechnic. When he finally entered the Polytechnic, he hated learning so much that, he later claimed, he lost all interest in science for 12 months. Scraping through his final examinations, he worked as a tutor and then as an examiner of patents in Bern.

It was not a promising start for the greatest scientist of the 20th century. Yet, only three years after taking up his job in Bern, Einstein became world famous for his Special Theory of Relativity.

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