# Insane physicists and mathematicians

Anyone heard any stories of great mathematicians and physics going crazy? I always find those stories entertaining.
Physics question: Do you think it is theoretically possible to accelerate mass beyond the speed of light? How certain are we of Einstein's prediction?

define "crazy" in this particular context.

Originally posted by betyoudidntthink
Anyone heard any stories of great mathematicians and physics going crazy? I always find those stories entertaining.
Physics question: Do you think it is theoretically possible to accelerate mass beyond the speed of light? How certain are we of Einstein's prediction?

Well, if you had to deal with abstract Maths, which are virtual descriptions of our Realictic world, then it is enough to test the greatest minds. Of course just contemplating Time within in Nature is enough to make the most craziest? or sane? person undistinguishable!

Of course there is the route wherby one can just label certain theories and their functions as Fantasy, stringtheory and Quantum Mechanics rely on this very notion, wether this is just a vail for the sane outsiders,is open to question.

Yes it is possible to accelerate mass beyond the speed of light, ask any Fantacist!

Arcon
Originally posted by betyoudidntthink
Anyone heard any stories of great mathematicians and physics going crazy? I always find those stories entertaining.
I don't know the entire background to this but there is the story of George Ellery Hale. He was one of the founding fathers of CalTech and was the main fundraiser for Mount Palomar. He had some serious psychological problems. It is said that he had an imaginary elf who acted as his advisor. Whether he went crazy or he was always like that I don't know.

For more on Hale see
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/biography/Hale.html

Physics question: Do you think it is theoretically possible to accelerate mass beyond the speed of light? How certain are we of Einstein's prediction?
No. The faster the particle moves the larger its mass becomes and approaches infinity as v -> c. Thus it would take an infinite amount of energy to accelerate an elecrtron to the speed of light.

Arcon
Originally posted by NanoTech
define "crazy" in this particular context.

I don't know about the neccesary conditions. How about a sufficient one? Anyone who has an imaginary elf as an advisor is a sufficient reason to refer to them as "crazy."

Does John Nash qualify as "crazy"?
Is he just eccentric?
Or maybe, just very imaginative?

I think (as passe and cliche as it sounds) that the line between brilliant and crazy is very thin.
The closer you get to it (from either side) the closer you get to crossing it.
I am not sure, however, who is really qualified to say which side of the line someone may live on.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
There are a small number of mathematicians, especially who had mental problems. John Nash has been mentioned. Kurt Goedel suffered from clinical paranoia at the end of his life.

But I don't think the rate of mental problems in the "great scientist" category is any higher than in the general population. Einstein was as stable as they come, Feynmann too. All the founders of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory and string physics had/have their wits about them.

Arcon
Einstein was as stable as they come, Feynmann too.
Stable in what sense? It's pretty well known that Einstein had some serious marital problems early in his life. I recall someone once saying I'd love to buy Einstein a beer but I wouldn't introduce him to my sister.

It's also be speculated that he was perhaps dyslexic. Highly intelligent people tend to be.

Yea John Nash was crazy, he started seing people, that must be reason enough to be classified as crazy.

I reckons Tesla was Crazy aswell, but not so sure.

Theodore Kaczynski (aka the Unabomber) .
A Harvard graduate, former math professor at Berkeley, and a murderer - he was as unstable as they come, passing judgement on who should live or die (i.e. the socially elite)

On a minor note he was a plagiarist.

Originally posted by Andy
Yea John Nash was crazy, he started seing people, that must be reason enough to be classified as crazy.

Just as a clarification, I'm pretty sure John Nash didn't see people, he only heard voices. Still qualifies as crazy though.

Ah well, in the film he was seeing people, damned hollywood if you cant trust them then who can you trust!

Originally posted by master_coda
Just as a clarification, I'm pretty sure John Nash didn't see people, he only heard voices. Still qualifies as crazy though.

There is always( I think it is correct to state this), some sort of traumatic event?.. that tips people from a balanced footing to one that is deemed 'unstable'by those people around the victim who are not experiencing the Trauma?

I have heard it said also that many top?..students get pushed closer to the 'edge'? as so much is expected from them?

The expression 'Close to the Edge' can relay much about a person, but without actually giving any insights to what this person is experiencing, even machines can go 'Ballistic'

http://physicsweb.org/article/world/17/1/3

Also it is one of my favorite music Albums of all time:http://yescography.tripod.com/closetot.htm

Album-Song-Close to the Edge, Lyric snippit:The time between the notes relates the color to the scenes.
A constant vogue of triumphs dislocate man, it seems.
And space between the focus shape ascend knowledge of love.
As song and chance develop time, lost social temp'rance rules above.
Ah, ah.

Then according to the man who showed his outstretched arm to space,
He turned around and pointed, revealing all the human race.
I shook my head and smiled a whisper, knowing all about the place.
On the hill we viewed the silence of the valley,
Called to witness cycles only of the past.
And we reach all this with movements in between the said remark.

Close to the edge, down by the river.
Down at the end, round by the corner.
Seasons will pass you by,
Now that it's all over and done,
Called to the seed, right to the sun.
Now that you find, now that you're whole.
Seasons will pass you by,
I get up, I get down.
I get up, I get down.
I get up, I get down.
I get up.

And a collarge of colors(my interpretation/doodles for fun?)

http://groups.msn.com/Youcanseehomefromhere/tempusfugititalsodrags.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=8 [Broken]

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Evo
Mentor
Ranyart, both are beautiful. Too bad that the flash from the camera washed out the bottom of the picture. You did that picture? I am very impressed.

Originally posted by Evo
Ranyart, both are beautiful. Too bad that the flash from the camera washed out the bottom of the picture. You did that picture? I am very impressed.

Thanks Evo!

Well the truth is that it was intentional(second try-first was to faint), I was reaching for..well a Jungian conscious image! with a Unrugh Radiation, coupled mode of transportation.

Spelling mistakes aside, the picture answers the question?..without actually having a question in the first place, its meant to be viewed, and I assume the veiwer will ask:Whats it all about?

The title gives the answer! a pre-determined perspective?..who knows

Tsu
Gold Member
Originally posted by ranyart
Thanks Evo!

Well the truth is that it was intentional(second try-first was to faint), I was reaching for..well a Jungian conscious image! with a Unrugh Radiation, coupled mode of transportation.

Spelling mistakes aside, the picture answers the question?..without actually having a question in the first place, its meant to be viewed, and I assume the veiwer will ask:Whats it all about?

The title gives the answer! a pre-determined perspective?..who knows
What's the significance of the Dark Side of the Moon triangle/rainbow at the top of the image?

Originally posted by Tsunami
What's the significance of the Dark Side of the Moon triangle/rainbow at the top of the image?

If you take a close look from the WhiteHole light source at the right>through the Blackhole Prism(connecting space), the rainbow has a definate border, cutoff point?..follow it through to the left Low energy Gas cloud?

There is a 'Hologram impression' The rest may be up to you, as I'm not saying to much!

It's interesting how modern medicine has so greatly expounded what consitutes mental illness. If a child wishes to pursue an interest fervently in isolation he must then be anti-social; indeed, he must suffer from social anxiety disorder, so let's get him medicated! I think an Einstein quote best exemplifies this:

Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.

Indeed, it can be, and it is my opinion that many Einstein'esque minds were lost due to parental ambitions to prevent such solitude. The solitude that the likes of Newton and Einstein enjoyed in the creation of their magnum opus' would most certainly be considered a fit of mental illness by today's standards. I've even read reports by psychologists who indicated that Newton suffered from manic-depressive disorder.

If they had the menagerie of medication available for such ostensible mental dysfunction as we do today, would we still have the Principia? Would Isaac Newton on Prozac be the Isaac Newton? Why is there such a need to render such scintillating intellects quiescent? I understand there are legitimate illnesses that require attention, but it seems we are all too quick to medicate our children at the slightest abberation from the socio-norm.

Originally posted by Descartes
Indeed, it can be, and it is my opinion that many Einstein'esque minds were lost due to parental ambitions to prevent such solitude.

And how many Einstein'esque minds were lost due to parents ignoring their solitude?

Arguments involving peoples children becoming the next Einstein generally don't have much merit. They're generally based on speculation, not really solid facts.

Of course, I'm not saying that children aren't overmedicated. I think too much emphasis is put on being "normal", whatever that's supposed to mean. But this just isn't a very good argument.

Later in life, Faraday suffered from debilitating depression.

Tesla suffered his whole life from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He was compelled to perform lengthy, pointless tasks before allowing himself to do something he needed or wanted to do, fearing that if he didn't there would be dire consequences. He could not eat, for instance, unless he first calculated the volume of the bowl or dish holding his food.

Tsu
Gold Member
Originally posted by zoobyshoe
Later in life, Faraday suffered from debilitating depression.

Tesla suffered his whole life from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He was compelled to perform lengthy, pointless tasks before allowing himself to do something he needed or wanted to do, fearing that if he didn't there would be dire consequences. He could not eat, for instance, unless he first calculated the volume of the bowl or dish holding his food.
There you are! I wondered where you went!! Hotel California, huh? Must have been FUN!

So...I'm assuming Tesla did not also suffer from obesity...?

Maybe all of the additional 'hard-wiring' needed for brainiacs to do what they do causes a lot more short-circuiting problems than in the non-brainiac population. I wonder what the percentages would be?

Originally posted by Tsunami
Maybe all of the additional 'hard-wiring' needed for brainiacs to do what they do causes a lot more short-circuiting problems than in the non-brainiac population.

Or, maybe the brilliant ones understand better what reality is and how we should/shouldn't act.
Perhaps they know that the rest of us are really the crazy ones.
Maybe the maniacal laughter of the psychotics is really jubilation because they realized that the rest of us are all nuts and all the rules we follow are just absurd.
Maybe it is the laughter of relief.

Originally posted by Tsunami
There you are! I wondered where you went!! Hotel California, huh? Must have been FUN!
It's weird. I'm all checked out but for some reason haven't left yet.
So...I'm assuming Tesla did not also suffer from obesity...?
He was always on the lean and underfed side.
Maybe all of the additional 'hard-wiring' needed for brainiacs to do what they do causes a lot more short-circuiting problems than in the non-brainiac population. I wonder what the percentages would be?
It seems to me there is less craziness among the major scientists of western civilization than there is among its major artists and composers. A scientist can't succeed without retaining a large capacity for logical thinking, whatever side problems interfere.

Tsu
Gold Member
Originally posted by zoobyshoe
It's weird. I'm all checked out but for some reason haven't left yet.
I've missed you!

It seems to me there is less craziness among the major scientists of western civilization than there is among its major artists and composers. A scientist can't succeed without retaining a large capacity for logical thinking, whatever side problems interfere.
Good point, Mr. Zooby. Idiot savants can 'excel' in a number of arenas. Writing, painting, mathematics... Correct? (Have you ever seen any research of PET scans done on an idiot savant? Thay might be very interesting.) And I haven't found that they have changed that term, yet! Isn't that term considered somewhat politically incorrect?

Originally posted by master_coda
And how many Einstein'esque minds were lost due to parents ignoring their solitude?

That isn't what I said. You pulled a single sentence out of context and rephrased it.

Arguments involving peoples children becoming the next Einstein generally don't have much merit. They're generally based on speculation, not really solid facts.

Of course, I'm not saying that children aren't overmedicated. I think too much emphasis is put on being "normal", whatever that's supposed to mean. But this just isn't a very good argument.

My point was simply this: Children considered overly nuanced today are often medicated, and as a result whatever creative/intellectual ferver they experienced in their previous states are greatly diminished. It's this attempt to normalize the behaviors of everyone that I disagree with.