not really anything surprising there (to me anyway). cantor was very depressed all his life, & so was russell too. i think when russell was young he'd go sit in some 'secret place' & consider suicide on a regular basis. the only thing keeping him from actually going through with it was that there were unsolved math problems. lots if math people are borderline autistic, which keeps them working obsessively on something. i think people call it asperger's syndrome, which is like autism's little brother. i read in the paper that there's evidence to suggest that einstein & newton had it.
Check out Nash's reviews as well:
I just read a book on autistic savants, among whom you find the amazing mental calculators, and another book on Asperger's syndrome. Neither of these diagnoses fit John Nash.
Nor does he fit squarely into any of the psychiatric diagnoses, although he was diagnosed as "schizophrenic". He is the only person I've ever heard of who has had such extended visual and auditory hallucinations involving recurring characters. Visual hallucinations are actually fairly rare in mental illness, and are generally not extended, and definitely not so coherent over so many years. I think John Nash has some undiagnosed organic problem.
The more I find out about Asperger's I think it is really, really unlikely that Einstein or Newton had it. They both may have had some kind of syndrome or very mild pathology, but I don't think it was Asperger's. Einstein, in particular, was too socially adept, too sensitive to social signals, to be given this diagnosis. His language delay almost rules Asperger's out since Asperger's kids tend to be the opposite: quite precocious, learning to speak and read before their contemporaries.
I actually know very little about Newton as a person except that he was a recluse and got into many heated arguments via letters. Asperger's people tend to be non-confrontational, and greatly dislike the stress of argumentation.
Some great people in history did, certainly, have major neurological problems about which there's little doubt: Julius Caesar and Dostoyevski had seizures, Samuel Johnson had Tourettes, Nikola Tesla had Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, Beethoven was bipolar (manic/depressive), but this suggested diagnosis of Asperger's doesn't actually fit in these two cases (or for John Nash).
"Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide."
This has to be the original statement of the famous cliche "There is a thin line between genius and madness."
I found the poem online and went to check out the context in which it was said. However...
In looking for the context of this notion,
I found you have to navigate an ocean.
This "Absalom..." is not a minute's reading,
And slogging through it gets the sweat a'beading.
John Dryden: Absalom and Achitophel, page 1
The greatest mathematicians always are either a) insane or b) are not very sociable/can not get along well with other people. Case in point
Godel- Insane. Starved himself to death. Germophobe.
Gauss- Complete Jerk
Pythagoras- Thought it was sinful to eat beans
and the list goes on
I see that you use the DSM-0/1 for your terminology. It also includes such diagnoses as:
And, the favorite of PF member Math Is Hard: Crazy As A Bessie-Bug
things seem to have really changed. in a beautiful mind i read that he'd put fermat's last theorem on tests & also have as a question "what is your name?" & take 25% off if they just put their name instead of the complete phrase "my name is ____". goo to see if he's changed his ways
Separate names with a comma.