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Random Geniuses Who Vanished or Went Into Hiding

  • Margie Profet on Random Geniuses Who Vanished or Went Into Hiding

    (#7) Margie Profet

    • 60

    Evolutionary biologist Margie Profet spent the '80s and early ‘90s publishing controversial, but influential, work regarding menstruation, morning sickness, and allergies, including the groundbreaking idea that menstruation has a function, and isn’t just a by-product. She won the six-figure MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” prize in 1993. In 2005, still living off the prize, she cut ties with her friends and family, and was considered a missing person.

    Profet, amazingly, resurfaced and reunited with her family in 2012, thanks in large part to a feature in Psychology Today. She said she did not know anyone was looking for her, and had been in “severe physical pain” for years due to an undisclosed illness. She said she didn’t disclose her whereabouts or condition, because she didn’t want to trouble anyone. Unable to work because of the pain, she spent several years in poverty, “sustained largely by the religion she had come to early in the decade.” It’s unclear what that religion is. 

  • William James Sidis on Random Geniuses Who Vanished or Went Into Hiding

    (#2) William James Sidis

    • Dec. at 46 (1898-1944)

    Proto-Doogie Howser William James Sidis (1898-1944) was an impossibly gifted lad: he could reportedly read the New York Times before he was two, knew several languages at six, and even invented his own language before being accepted into Harvard at age 11. The Wes Anderson-character-come-to-life had other interests, too, including writing French poetry, novels, and “a constitution for a utopia.”

    But it was his astounding math skills that really wowed the grown-ups at Harvard, where he lectured, at age 11, on four-dimensional bodies. He graduated cum laude at age 16, but never really used his degree. After toiling in grad school, law school, and a professorship, Sidis went into hiding, bouncing from job-to-job and city-to-city, seeking to become a “regular working man.”

    He wrote the occasional odd book, often using pseudonyms, including a book all about streetcar tickets under the name Frank Folupa, which his biographer calls "arguably the most boring book ever written." In 1937, he successfully sued the New Yorker for writing a sneaky piece about him he thought “made him sound crazy.” He died in 1944 from a brain hemorrhage, the same thing that killed his father.

  • Thumb of Grigori Perelman video

    (#1) Grigori Perelman

    • 52

    Russian math god Dr. Grigori Perelman collected the super-prestigious $1,000,000 Clay Mathematics Institute Millennium Prize in 2010 for proving the Poincaré conjecture, and earned the super-awesome nickname “Mathsputin” for rejecting the prize to continue living in squalor with his probably pissed off mother and sister in St. Petersburg. The Poincaré conjecture states, “Every simply connected, closed 3-manifold is homeomorphic to the 3-sphere,” which you have to admit sounds a bit like rejected Pootie Tang dialogue unless you’re a Good Will Hunting-level math wizard.

    The wild-bearded Perelman, who turned down teaching offers from Princeton and Berkeley, reportedly lives “extremely humbly,” which is wee bit of an understatement: an “astounded” neighbor said in 2010 that Perelman “only has a table, a stool and a bed with a dirty mattress.” Slightly more recent reports indicate Perelman has “all [he] needs,” and just doesn’t want the attention, likening it to being “on display like an animal in a zoo.”

    After Perelman's sudden flight from obscurity to fame, he more or less disappeared from public view, so much so journalists went looking for him. Brett Forrest of British newspaper The Telegraph conducted a stakeout to find the reclusive genius in 2012, and apparently made brief contact with him. Meanwhile, Perelman's Wikipedia page is full of bizarre conjecture like "Some Russian news outlets have indicated that Perelman has had a job in Sweden since 2014" and "In April 2011, Aleksandr Zabrovsky, producer of President-Film studio, claimed to have held an interview with Perelman... A number of journalists believe that Zabrovky's interview is most likely a fake... "

  • Beverley Thorne on Random Geniuses Who Vanished or Went Into Hiding

    (#9) Beverley Thorne

    • 95

    Architect David Thorne received so much attention for his work on jazz giant Dave Brubeck’s house in 1954, he changed his professional name in the ‘60s, got an unlisted phone number, and didn’t “resurface” until the ‘80s. Brubek’s mid-century modern house in Oakland was considered a brilliant early example of the dramatic, steel-supported homes that would later fill the Hollywood hills.

    Tired of attention from rich developers and “crooks,” Thorne changed his professional name to Beverley Thorne and largely dropped out of sight, quietly doing work that went largely unheralded. In the ‘80s, his profile increased on account of work he did in Hawaii. By 2006, he once again began speaking openly about his 1950s work.

  • Ettore Majorana on Random Geniuses Who Vanished or Went Into Hiding

    (#8) Ettore Majorana

    • Dec. at 32 (1906-1938)

    Theoretical physicist Ettore Majorana (1906-1938?) was considered one of the most deeply brilliant men in the world by Enrico Fermi, creator of the first nuclear reactor. Fermi even compared Majorana to Galileo and Newton. So the scientific community was shocked to learn Majorana disappeared without a trace in 1938, shortly after traveling on a ship headed from Palermo to Naples.

    There are many theories as to what happened to Majorana, but no real evidence to back them up. Suicide is a popular theory. He wrote a letter to a friend saying he “made a decision that has become unavoidable,” but later sent another letter saying, “Don’t think I’m like an Ibsen heroine, because the case if different. I’m at your disposal for further details.”

    Some think Majorana may have been killed by Nazis, joined a monastery, or just decided to start a new life (he did drain his bank account the day before he disappeared).

  • Genius Chef Nick Gill Decided to Disappear on Random Geniuses Who Vanished or Went Into Hiding

    (#10) Genius Chef Nick Gill Decided to Disappear

    At just 21, Nick Gill was the youngest-ever British chef to win a Michelin star. He seemed destined for a life of fame and fortune, and was hailed as a culinary genius. By the time he disappeared, at 42, he had been jailed for attacking his ex-wife and lost contact with his two young children. He was also, reportedly, a “heavy drinker and drug user.”

    In 1998, he told his older brother, writer and critic AA Gill, “I’m going to go and disappear. Please don’t look for me.” The elder Gill obliged, and Nick hasn’t been seen since. Strangely, a pencil sketch of Nick done by AA showed up for auction at Christie’s in 2014, but AA says it’s not a sign. “I don’t know where it came from. I didn’t pursue it. If Nick wanted to get in touch with me, I’m not hard to find.”

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About This Tool

What is the concept of IQ 167? If your IQ is 167, congratulations, you can be compared with famous historical figures such as Einstein, Hawking, and Bohr. There are geniuses in history who fight for scientific research, and some geniuses were famous for their clever crimes, there are also some geniuses who have puzzled the world because of their mysterious disappearance. People made many speculations about their disappearances. 

The random tool introduced 10 geniuses in history who vanished or went into hiding, their theoretical results have promoted the development of the times and made contributions to research in different fields.

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