William James Sidis
William James Sidis was a child prodigy from the United States who excelled in math and claimed to be a multilingual speaker. His sister asserted after his passing that his IQ was "the very highest that had ever been obtained," but any documentation of any IQ tests Sidis actually underwent have been lost to time. He enrolled in Harvard at the age of eleven and was said to be fluent in more than forty different languages and dialects as an adult.
However, it was later acknowledged that some of the assertions were exaggerated. According to a researcher who has spent the past twenty-eight years investigating the reliability of primary sources on a variety of topics, "I have never before found a topic so satiated with lies, myths, half-truths, exaggerations, and other forms of misinformation as is in the history behind William Sidis." Sidis first rose to fame for his early development and later for his eccentricity and exile from the public eye. He eventually stopped writing about math altogether and began using various aliases to write about other topics.
Prodigies raised in a genius training regime are not necessarily synonymous with a happy life, the story of William James Sidis is an example. Learn about Williams James Sidis IQ and his life through this article.
I. What is William James Sidis IQ?
William Sidis' IQ has been the subject of numerous rumors over time. His IQ test results were never recorded, so modern historians are left to make an educated guess. William James Sidis' IQ was reportedly between 250 and 300. Any intelligent person will be happy to tell you that it has no meaning (though they will probably still be a little cocky about it). However, Sidis was so intelligent that his IQ was equal to that of three average people put together. Nevertheless, despite his intelligence, he had trouble blending in with a society that didn't understand him. Nevertheless, despite his intelligence, he had trouble blending in with a society that didn't understand him.
Now you might be wondering why Sidis isn't a household name like Einstein or Hawking if he was so intelligent. Why are most people unfamiliar with him? The answer to this query can be found in the somewhat peculiar life he led.
II. William James Sidis IQ and his life
William James Sidis, a Boston native born in 1898, gained notoriety as a child prodigy and intellectual giant in the early 20th century.
He was said to have had an IQ between 50 and 100 points higher than Albert Einstein. Before the age of two, he could read the New York Times. He knew English, Latin, French, German, Russian, Hebrew, Turkish, and Armenian at the age of six. One of the youngest students in the history of Harvard University, he enrolled there at the age of 11.
His parents were also not your typical people; his father Boris Sidis was a well-known psychologist who made significant contributions to the study of psychopathology, and his mother Sarah Mandelbaum Sidis was a medical doctor who attended Boston University School of Medicine. His parents were extremely pushy because they fervently desired for him to pursue knowledge alone. His mother lavishly spent cash on books, atlases, and other educational resources to support his desire to learn. Boris Sidis wanted to provide his son with the best resources for developing his capacity for logic and thought. Even as a young child, he engaged in discussions with William Sidis about psychology and other cutting-edge topics. Sidis, however, wasn't pleased to receive such preferential treatment from his parents.
1. William James Sidis Education Background
Young Sidis was unquestionably a phenomenon of the mind. His early successes were on par with those of Johann Goethe, Thomas Macaulay, and John Stuart Mill. William Sidis could read English by the time he was two years old, and at the age of four, he was typing original French content. He created a formula at the age of five that allowed him to identify the day of the week for any given historical date. He projected a brand-new logarithms table based on the number twelve at the age of eight.
He enrolled in Harvard at the age of twelve and received his degree with honors before turning sixteen. His skills did not only lie in mathematics. He was fluent in reading and speaking French, German, Russian, Greek, Latin, Armenian, and Turkish at this age. The young man's "Fourth Dimensional Bodies" theories amazed both students and scientists during his first year at Harvard University.
2. William James Sidis IQ and his Career
a. Living With His Genius
Living at Harvard was not simple. Although his academic performance was without question, William utterly failed in his extracurricular activities. He was frequently teased by his much older classmates because he had no interest in girls or anything else related to social life. He nevertheless earned a magna cum laude diploma in 1914. He was 16.
Soon after, he relocated to the west to pursue a graduate degree at Houston's then-Rice University. He also served as a professor for a while, but he left after less than a year and moved back to Boston. Despite never earning a law degree, he enrolled in Harvard Law School.
He was detained and given an 18-month prison term in 1919 for taking part in a socialist demonstration in Boston while struggling to adapt to life outside of a classroom. By sending him to a sanatorium in New Hampshire for a year, Boris managed to keep him out of jail. After being freed and spending a year in California, William returned to the East Coast and worked a string of uninspired jobs for years while also writing self-published books and teaching part-time.
His most well-known work, "The Animate and the Inanimate," was published in 1925 to little acclaim. According to the publisher, it touches on "the origins of life, cosmology, the potential reversibility of the second law through Maxwell's Demon, among other things." William makes an argument for the existence of what are now referred to as black holes in it.
But by that point, the former boy genius had been branded a failure by the media. He hid himself from the public even more.
b. The Problems with Giftedness
William Sidis continues to be the most prominent example of a "failed" child prodigy. Education experts, the media, and regular parents of non-prodigies have criticized Boris and Sarah over the years for being overbearing, overly focused on their son's academic performance, and underwhelmed by the responsibility of raising a well-rounded child. The debate over how to raise a gifted child and whether giftedness is inherited, as Boris and Sarah believed, or if it is more influenced by environment is still stoked by William's story.
III. How did Sidis' intelligence come to be a curse?
Comstock's predictions, regrettably, did not come to pass. His biography sheds light on Sidis' time at Harvard and shows that he struggled to lead a normal life. In addition to the unfavorable media attention, he was frequently teased and mocked by other Harvard students. At the age of 16, Sidis graduated from Harvard and then went to Rice University to work as an assistant professor of mathematics. He spent a year instructing college students while also penning a book on Euclidean geometry. However, soon after leaving Rice University, Sidis became frustrated with his department and the disrespectful behavior of some students toward him. He then returned to Harvard to finish his law degree. Sidis spent nearly three years studying law before leaving college in 1919 for an unspecified reason.
He started supporting socialist causes, and the following year, he was detained for taking part in a communist-led anti-war demonstration. His arrest at the time made headlines in several newspapers due to his celebrity-like status in the media. Sidis defended himself during the trial and received a sentence of 18 months in prison, of which six months were for rioting and one year was for assaulting an officer. Later on, though, his parents were able to arrange for him to be housed at his father's sanitarium and work at MIT rather than go to jail.
He kept switching between jobs and names because he no longer wanted to be known as "child prodigy William Sidis." He wrote books, gathered streetcar transfer tickets, and even performed some unskilled labor that, for someone with his intelligence, could be regarded as extremely lowly.
Intelligence is just one of the many aspects of being a human. The journey of William Sidis also demonstrates how the complexity of human life makes it impossible for intelligence to always ensure a happy life.
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