Top 7 Mad Scientists between Genius and Insanity:

494

kurt_godel_gödelKurt Gödel’s at number 2:

Kurt was not known for his mathematical ability but shone brightly in his ability to strategize. His analytical mind was so great, he was able to challenge held beliefs and hypothesize new theories on mathematical calculations known as axiom of set theory, and axioms of choice. To understand these mathematical calculations in and of themselves takes a lifetime of study. Gödel had the first of several breakdowns in 1933. He spent several months in a sanatorium recovering from depression. In 1935, when he was to return to the United States, but his plans were cancelled because of a relapse of depression, and Gödel remained incapacitated until spring 1937. At this time, Austria was being incorporated into Hitler’s Germany. Though he was not Jewish, Gödel’s academic associations put him in a precarious position. After protracted negotiations he received a U. S. visa late in 1939. In the early months of the Second World War he and his wife travelled to the U. S. He studied at Princeton and renewed his visa yearly until he was able to apply for citizenship. Just before his interview for citizenship, Gödel confided in his friends that he discovered a loophole in the constitution that would allow a dictator to rule. Heading the pleas of his friends and wife, this was never mentioned during the application process. Gödel was granted citizenship in 1949. After his death in 1978, Gödel’s private papers revealed his eccentric and idiosyncratic nature. They contained boxes of unanswered letters together with drafts of replies never sent. During his years at Princeton, Gödel never enjoyed being the focus of attention or encountering controversy. He went to unusual extremes to avoid meeting people. If someone wished to see him, Gödel did not decline but made an appointment and then failed to show up. He was a very religious person and even wrote an elaboration on Leibniz’s ontological proof of God’s existence, which he shared in a letter to his mother. Kurt Gödel was troubled with depression and suspected of being paranoid through most of his life. He is just another brilliant mind that was quirky enough to land him at number two in our countdown.