A German Genius

He was born in the German city of Ulm, one hundred kilometers east of Stuttgart, in a Jewish family.
From the beginning, he showed some difficulty in expressing himself, because he did not start speaking until the age of three, so he seemed to have some delay that would cause him some problems.

He obtained good grades in general, not so much in language subjects, but excellent in natural sciences. Popular science books marked his interest and his future career. It was a difficult period that he endured thanks to the violin lessons that his mother gave him an instrument he loved and that he continued playing the rest of his days and the introduction to the algebra that his uncle Jacob would teach him
However, his time at the high school was not very rewarding: the rigidity and military discipline of the high schools of the time earned him little controversy with the teachers: things reached a critical point when he was fifteen. A new teacher told him that «he would never get anything in life.» He replied that «he had not committed any crime,» replied the professor: «His presence here only undermines the respect the class owes me.»
The school did not motivate him, and although he was excellent in mathematics and physics, he was not interested in other subjects. At fifteen, without a tutor or guide, he undertook the study of infinitesimal calculus.
He graduated in 1900, obtaining the diploma of professor of mathematics and physics, but could not find work at the University, so he worked as a tutor at Winterthur,
On April 16, 1955, he experienced an internal hemorrhage caused by the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, on April 18, 1955 he refused surgery and said: «I want to leave whenever I want. It is bad taste to artificially prolong life. I’ve done my part, it’s time to go. I will do it with elegance ». He died at Princeton Hospital.
During the autopsy, the hospital’s pathologist extracted his brain to keep it, without his family’s permission, in the hope that the neuroscience of

the future could discover what made him so intelligent. He kept it for several decades, until he finally returned it to Princeton’s labs when he was over eighty
In 1999, neuroscientist Sandra Witelson reported that her lower parietal lobe, an area related to mathematical reasoning, was 15% wider than normal. In addition, he found a groove that normally extends from the front of the brain to the back, not traveling completely
The events of the First World War pushed to participate politically, taking sides. He felt contempt for violence, courage, aggression and injustice. He was one of the best known members of the German Democratic Party.
With the rise of Nazism in Germany, he leaves his country and decides to reside in the United States.
Quotes attributed to him
“Madness is doing the same thing over and over again in the hope of getting different results.”
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t unde”rstand it well enough.”
“God does not play dice with the universe

Sorry, I’m going to give you more clues
I forgot to tell you that in the photos and poster it appears with long white curly hair and with a prickly smile and they always write his famous equation.

Javier García

English for Fun 4B

Enlace permanente a este artículo: https://cpepamiguelhernandezhuesca.catedu.es/a-german-genius/