Some of the smartest people throughout human history have also been some of the most insane. But let’s not make fun of Stephen Hawking. After all, he is in a wheelchair. Turns out, plenty of other equally smart people have been pretty weird when they haven’t been discovering stuff. Even without that awesome voice synthesizer thingy. Here are some of history’s greatest (and craziest) minds…
Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci was not a scientist as we know it. But, nobody told him that. The artist also dabbled in trying to unravel mysteries of nature and went so far as to dig up bodies from graves in order to study human anatomy, a forbidden query at the time. Maybe that’s what the Mona Lisa is smiling about?
Johann Conrad Dippel
Dippel was most certainly a whack job and, in the budding field of science at the time, was considered to be a crackpot. His obsession was an elixir that would let us live forever, leading to secret experiments using electricity and cadavers. He even lived in a castle called Frankenstein. What are the odds?
Mary Anning was reportedly struck by lightning as a young girl, thus the explanation for why a mere woman was so smart. She was a pioneer fossil hunter who advanced the notion of extinct dinosaurs explaining the dragon myth and was laughed out of the room by the clearly misogynist male scientists of the time. Turns out, she was probably right…
Another dinosaur pioneer, Buckland vowed to eat every known animal in the world, including humans. Naturally, other scientists were hesitant when Buckland invited them over for dinner. No doubt some fava beans and a nice Chianti were on the menu…
Not much is really known about ancient mathematician Pythagoras, except for his discovery of the Pi formula. One documented curiosity was his well known fear of beans, thinking them poisonous. So, his also whipping up the first recipe for a bean pie is probably apocryphal…
Centuries ahead of western scientists, ancient Chinese royal courtesan Kuo was responsible for some remarkable discoveries in the early part of the second millennium. But it’s his reporting of UFOs visiting the earth that has gotten him the most notice. He wasn’t saying it was aliens. But, it was aliens…
Brahe was known for his theories about a spherical earth, a heliocentric universe and, a giant steel nose, a replacement for the natural one he’d lost in a duel. He was also known for getting drunk at extravagant parties (he was immensely wealthy) and having a grand old time with his tipsy pet elk…
Aldini believed in electro-shock therapy and almost killed himself several times demonstrating it in the early 19th century. It’s not known, however, whether he ever caught on that the Chief was just lying about not being able to talk, as chewing gum had yet to be invented…
Although Isaac Newton was one of the most revered scientists, even in his own lifetime, he was also a Grade-A whacko who threw apples at strangers passing by under his balcony, thus proving gravity was not only real, but hurt like hell too. A religious fanatic, Newton believed the world was only a few thousand years old and that everything would end in 2060. So, basically, we’ve got 44 years left…