Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Autistic scientists and mathematicians?

  1. Jul 25, 2008 #1

    tgt

    User Avatar

    Give us a list of them. Einstein was one.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 25, 2008 #2

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2015 Award

    You say that as if it were a fact. Einstein was never diagnosed with autism: he was almost 60 when the term was first used. The evidence is not strong enough to convince an overwhelming number of professionals that this is the case; it remains controversial.
     
  4. Jul 25, 2008 #3
    Einstein had a great social life (two wives?), had enough mental power to become a physicist, and still played the violin. What part of that suggests he was autistic?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2008
  5. Jul 25, 2008 #4
    He was an amateur violinist. They claim Newton was autistic, but I don't buy it either. Newton wasn't married though... so who knows.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2008
  6. Jul 25, 2008 #5
    I believe most will agree that Einstein (most likely but not 100% sure) has Aspergers which is a form of Autism. There are quite a few people that have Aspergers, yet lead relatively normal lives. Einstein was known for being a bit eccentric, which some believe is a sign of autism. As was Newton, Motzart, Andy Warhol, ect.

    But again, since they're no longer around, we'll never know for sure.
     
  7. Jul 25, 2008 #6
  8. Jul 25, 2008 #7

    tgt

    User Avatar

    Newton must have had some mental condition as he definitely wasn't normal.
     
  9. Jul 25, 2008 #8

    tgt

    User Avatar

    He spoke at age 5 which is extremely late.
     
  10. Jul 25, 2008 #9

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  11. Jul 26, 2008 #10
    Does this help?
    He was speaking at age 3.

    While this makes a nice story, this widely believed notion is false, according to Ronald W. Clark's comprehensive biography of Einstein, and according to Subtle is the Lord: The Science and Life of Albert Einstein, a biography by Abraham Pais (Oxford University Press, 1982).

    Pais states that although his family had initial apprehensions that he might be backward because of the unusually long time before he began to talk, Einstein was speaking in whole sentences by some point between age two and three years. According to Clark, a far more plausible reason for his relatively late speech development is “the simpler situation suggested by Einstein's son Hans Albert, who says that his father was withdrawn from the world even as a boy.” Whether one accepts this interpretation, other information helps us to judge Einstein's language abilities after he began to speak.

    Einstein entered school at the age of six, and against popular belief did very well. When he was seven his mother wrote, “Yesterday Albert received his grades, he was again number one, his report card was brilliant.” At the age of twelve Einstein was reading physics books. At thirteen, after reading the Critique of Pure Reason and the work of other philosophers, Einstein adopted Kant as his favorite author. About this time he also read Darwin. Pais states, “the widespread belief that he was a poor student is unfounded.”
     
  12. Jul 26, 2008 #11

    neu

    User Avatar

    Newton was gay, wasn't he?
     
  13. Jul 26, 2008 #12

    tgt

    User Avatar

    No, in one documentry it said that he exchanged love letters with a woman at some stage in his life.
     
  14. Jul 26, 2008 #13

    tgt

    User Avatar

    Another potential candidate is Dirac.
     
  15. Jul 26, 2008 #14

    Kurdt

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I don't think there is any point in speculating which scientists in the past may have had an autistic spectrum disorder. If they were not diagnosed there is no real way of knowing.
     
  16. Jul 26, 2008 #15

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Which was socially de rigeur at the time to write and of minimal evidentiary importance.

    More important is how Newton actually lived, where he again and again became over-enthused about his young male assistants to the point that they quit working with him.
    In the aftermath of one such episode, Newton went into a psychosis.

    Whether this behaviour on Newton is evidence of gayness, or simply that of a desperate loner who finally thinks he's found a soul mate, but doesn't hav the social skills required not to scare the person off, that is debatable.
     
  17. Jul 26, 2008 #16
    Didn't PAM Dirac have aspbergers syndrome? A rather aggravated case to I believe.
     
  18. Jul 26, 2008 #17

    tgt

    User Avatar

    How about Godel?
     
  19. Jul 26, 2008 #18

    tgt

    User Avatar

    A guy like him must have had something as he definitely wasn't normal. On the other hand someone like Feynman is although they both were geniuses.
     
  20. Jul 26, 2008 #19
    You'd think more people would have respect for the man and the work that pretty much invented physics :rofl:

    Newton and his laws don't get much love on this forum
     
  21. Jul 26, 2008 #20
    Newton was a heroic man. I disagree with his personal philosophy and his religious beliefs, and his lifestyle, but there's no doubt in my mind that he was overall a respectable man who did groundbreaking work.

    "If we evolved a race of Issac Newtons, that would not be progress. For the price Newton had to pay for being a supreme intellect was that he was incapable of friendship, love, fartherhood, and many other desirable things. As a man he was a failure, as a monster he was superb." --Aldous Huxley.

    I'll leave it at that.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Autistic scientists and mathematicians?
  1. To be a scientist (Replies: 3)

  2. Autistic Einstein? (Replies: 97)

Loading...