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illiam Sidis possessed extraordinary mathematical and language abilities. He was a genius who allegedly spoke 25 languages and dialects. Even today, no one talks about him because he did not achieve as much as his colleagues. His life could have been better, but he did not grow up like other children. Instead, he was a sensation.

Believed to have been the smartest human being in history

Sidis was incredibly brilliant. Albert Einstein had an IQ of 160, Sir Isaac Newton had an IQ of 190, and Mark Zuckerberg had an IQ of 152. These are the men we identify with intelligence. Sidis, on the other hand, was said to have an IQ of 250 to 300. Perhaps his sister exaggerated the reality when she saw his Civil Service exam. He was listed as 254 on the list, which she took as his IQ score.

Nonetheless, he was a young prodigy. William James Sidis was a brilliant mathematician, polyglot, and talented writer. He was considered exceptionally clever by mathematician Norbert Wiener, physicist Daniel Frost Comstock, and philosopher William James. Unfortunately, it did not assist him in leading a quiet life.

William James Sidis was a child prodigy from Boston, Massachusetts, who was born on April 1, 1898. He was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants who were both highly educated and confident in their son’s potential. Sidis was speaking various languages fluently before he was two years old, and by the age of eight, he could read over 50 languages, including ancient and extinct ones. He was also exceptionally gifted in mathematics, science, and history.

Sidis’ parents were determined to provide him a tough education and enrolled him in Harvard University when he was 11 years old. He went on to get his Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Harvard at the age of 16 and his Master’s degree in psychology at the age of 18.

Sidis’ life took a different course after college, and he became something of a loner. Despite his remarkable intelligence, he was uninterested in pursuing a traditional job route, preferring to focus on writing and self-study. He wrote several books on subjects ranging from mathematics and science to politics and philosophy, but they were not well received.

Sidis had a tranquil existence, working as a tutor and lecturer and keeping a low profile. His family and friends were concerned that his intellect would be wasted as he became more secluded. Sidis, on the other hand, was satisfied with his existence and spent much of his time reading and writing.

Creating his own language

The youngster also created his own language. He authored The Book of Vendergood when he was eight years old. Vendergood was a language with elements of Latin, Greek, German, and French. It also included grammar rules, tenses, and eight moods. In Vendergood, the numerals sounded like this:

eis — one
duet — two
tre — three
guar — four
quin — five
sex — six
sep — seven
oo(oe?) — eight
non — nine
ecem — ten
elevenos — eleven
dec — twelve
eidec (eis, dec) — thirteen

It was evident to everyone that the eight-year-old boy had a brilliant mind. There were so many things he could achieve. His father had a plan. By 1910, his grasp of higher mathematics had advanced to the point where academics allowed him to lecture to the Harvard Mathematics Club at the age of 12.

“I predict that young Sidis will be a great astronomical mathematician. He will evolve new theories and invent new ways of calculating astronomical phenomena. I believe he will be a great mathematician, the leader in that science in the future.”

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) physics professor Daniel F. Comstock

Newspapers went insane. A Harvard professor is a kid prodigy! He began his Harvard studies the same year and finished in 1914, at the age of 16. He graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Reporters surrounded William once more, questioning him about his aspirations and dreams. This young man could be anyone he wanted to be! He knew a lot and had his entire life ahead of him.

Rejected by Society

William was jailed in 1919, just a few years before his father died. Despite his attempts to live as a recluse, he was imprisoned. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison after taking part in a socialist May Day parade in Boston that turned violent. The rumour spread quickly: the acclaimed wunderkind was a violent socialist!

His parents negotiated his release from prison. They “assisted” their son by placing him in their New Hampshire sanatorium for a year instead. They began “reforming” William, threatening to commit him to a mental institution if he did not listen.

William returned to the East Coast in 1921, at the age of 23. He intended to live a private and independent life. He drifted away from his family and worked petty jobs to make ends meet. For many years, he was afraid of getting detained again. He published publications and taught his interpretation of American history to several acquaintances.

The erstwhile wunderkind received a settlement from the New Yorker in 1944. Journalist James Thurber described him as a lonely man living in a “hall bedroom in Boston’s dingy South End” behind a pseudonym. Judge Charles Edward Clark felt sorry for Sidis for being mocked. He said this caused Sidis “grievous mental suffering [and] humiliation,” but couldn’t shelter him “from the prying of the press”.

William James Sidis died abruptly at the age of 46 that same year. The cause of death was cerebral hemorrhage, which was also the cause of death for his father, the man who had ruined his life.

The man who could have transformed the world, William James Sidis, was a victim of his parents’ ambitions, media sensationalism, and political circumstances. All he wanted was to be left alone, but he was too intelligent to spend his life peacefully.

Despite his accomplishments and intelligence, Sidis struggled with mental health concerns and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. He spent the majority of his later years in institutions, away from the public eye. The life of William James Sidis is typically viewed as a cautionary story about the perils of pushing a child too hard too soon. However, it also demonstrates the immense potential of the human mind and the significance of balancing education and personal development. To this day, Sidis’ legacy continues to inspire and intrigue people.

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