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William James Sidis (Prodigy, Polyglot) 1898-1944


William James Sidis Demographics:
  • Name - William James Sidis
  • Born - April 1, 1898
  • Death - July 17, 1944
  • Cultural Heritage - Russian-Jewish immigrant parents
  • Father - Boris Sidis, Ph.D., M.D., (Psychiatrist).
  • Mother - Sarah Mandelbaum Sidis, M.D.
William James Sidis - General Facts:
  • Estimated ratio IQ of 250–300.
  • American child prodigy with exceptional mathematical and linguistic abilities (polyglot).
  • Accepted to attend Harvard University when he was only eleven years old.
  • He avoided mathematics in later life, focusing on other subjects which he wrote about under a number of pseudonyms.
  • Often cited as the most intelligent person who ever lived.
William James Sidis - Education:
  • Sidis could read the New York Times at 18 months.
  • Entered Harvard as part of a program to enrol gifted students early.
  • Other members of the group included - mathematician Norbert Wiener, Richard Buckminster Fuller, & composer Roger Sessions.
  • Could speak 8 languages (Armenian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Russian, Turkish) and thus was a polyglot.
  • Invented a new language (Vendergood).
  • Shortly after graduation from Harvard, he wanted to live the perfect life which meant living in seclusion.
  • Sidis abandoned his pursuit of a graduate degree in mathematics and enrolled at the Harvard Law School (September 1916), but withdrew in his final year (March 1919).
William James Sidis - Life after education:
  • Shortly after the withdrawal from law school, he was arrested for participating in a socialist May Day parade in Boston.
  • Detained in a sanatorium, by his parents, as part of a deal with the District Attorney by his father.
  • After returning to the East Coast in 1921 he worked in menial tasks and became estranged from his parents.
  • He devoted himself to his hobbies, particularly collecting streetcar transfers and published periodicals.
  • During his adult years, it is believed that he could speak over 40 languages, and was reputed that he was able to learn a new language in a day.
  • He wrote extensively about many topics including, cosmology, thermodynamics, street cars, Native American history, civil engineering, anthropology, philology.
  • Sidis died in 1944 of a cerebral hemorrhage in Boston at the age of 46 years.

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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