The Story Of The Most Intelligent Man In The World

The story of the most intelligent man in the world

The most intelligent man in the world had a wonderful mind and an IQ of between two hundred and fifty and three hundred. William James Sidis was a human calculator and linguistic genius. Because he was so intelligent, great things were expected of him. But he had a problem that he never overcome. It even led to his untimely death. His problem was grief.

Imagine an eighteen-month-old child who is already able to read the New York Times. Then we see him at the age of eight: he speaks fluent French, Russian, Turkish, Armenian, Latin and of course his mother tongue, English. We then go a little further in time and imagine the same child at the age of nine. Then he created a new language that he called ” vendergood  .” Linguists have studied that language. They determined that it was complete, correct and fascinating.

This child was William James Sidis, son of Jewish-Russian immigrants. He was born in New York on April 1, 1898. Much has been said about him and even more written about him. As is often the case, fiction and reality intertwine. The facts are exaggerated. Writers make a pretty picture of a man’s biography, when his life was actually pretty grim. Yet his biography is incredibly fascinating from a psychological point of view.

The physical testimonials and documents support many facts. One of them is simple yet extraordinary. William S. Sidis may have been very intelligent, but he never really had a childhood or enjoyed life as a little boy. When he was only nine years old, he was admitted to Harvard University. On a cold evening in January 1910, he gave his first lecture to the scientific community and the press. He was then twelve years old. His lecture was about the fourth dimension.

His father was a famous Russian psychologist and his mother one of the first female medical doctors of the time. They had a clear goal in mind: to create a genius. They trained his mind and completely forgot the essential part: his heart and his feelings.

Photo of a man who may be the most intelligent man in the world

William James Sidis

The most intelligent man had good genes and grew up in a very favorable environment

To learn every detail of the life of ‘the most intelligent man in the world’, we took advantage of Amy Wallace’s book ‘ The Prodigy: A Biography of William James Sidis, America’s Greatest Child Prodigy’. We were immediately touched by the way the book describes how our protagonist grew up.

Both his mother and father were brilliant minds. Naturally, the heredity factor played an important role in the development of his high intelligence. But the purpose of why the couple had a child was as obvious as it was controversial. They wanted to train the child’s mind so that it would become a genius.

A life in the laboratory and on public display as a child

But not only the hereditary factor played a role. William also grew up in an environment that was very stimulating and encouraged to learn. His parents had designed this with a specific purpose in mind. We know that his father, Boris Sidis, used advanced techniques, including hypnosis. In this way, he wanted to promote his son’s potential and abilities from an early age.

His mother contributed to the upbringing by giving up her medical practice in order to “knead” the child, according to her words. She designed new learning methods. It is important to mention that William himself was also very eager to learn. But his constant public and media exposure has traumatized him.

A girl looking sadly out the window

The parents regularly published academic articles about the child’s achievements. Both the media and the scientific community followed all developments. When he was a student at Harvard, he was chased daily by the press. He graduated  cum laude  . He impressed academics with his theories on the fourth dimension. His parents then took him to the University of Houston to teach math and start his law studies.

The sad end of the most intelligent man in the world

Despite his intelligence, William would not finish his law studies or any other education. He was not even seventeen years old when he decided to stand up to those around him. In the academic and experimental world, he felt like a lab rat. Every thought and every movement was dissected under a microscope. In 1919 he was arrested and placed in prison. The charge was inciting protest and recruiting young people for the communist movement.

But his parents were important and influential. So he was quickly released from prison. But because he was so eager to challenge his parents and society, he didn’t stop here. He provoked revolts by young people against capitalism. He was even extremely arrogant towards judges. He ended up going to prison for two years. Thus he obtained what he sincerely desired: solitude and seclusion.

The first thing William J. Sidis did after his release was to change his name. He longed for a quiet life but was constantly pursued by his parents and the press. In an effort to escape from them, he began his continuous pilgrimage across the United States. He looked everywhere for a job and did what he loved most: writing. He published several times under different pseudonyms. He wrote history books and books on the theory of black holes. According to his biographers, there are said to be dozens of forgotten books written by William J. Sidis under a false identity.

A photo of a man who may be the most intelligent man in the world

William J. Sidis

A lonely and untimely end of the most intelligent man

William J. Sidis has only loved one woman, Martha Foley. She was a young Irish activist. With her he had an unequal and complex relationship. When his lifeless body was discovered in a small Boston apartment in 1944, her photo was all that was found among his clothes. He was forty-six years old and died of a stroke.

He spent the last years of his life moving from one court to another. The press enjoyed slandering him. “The child genius who was never worth anything now weeps while he works as a warehouse worker”, “the most intelligent man in the world has a miserable life”, the math and linguistic genius is burned out”, “William J. Sidis is tired of thinking think”.

We do not know whether he was indeed tired of thinking or of life. Yet we can deduce from his biographies that he was tired of society, his family and academia. For, even before his birth, they had placed very high expectations on his shoulders.

Intelligence and being happy

He was tired of never being able to be himself. Even when he had the chance, he couldn’t. He was an expert in black holes and the fourth dimension. But the most important subject of life slipped through his fingers: learning how to be happy and to fight for your own happiness…

One with who is sitting in front of a blackboard with everything written on it and the man seems very smart maybe the most intelligent man in the world

William James Sidis is still the person with the highest recorded IQ ever. After him comes young Terence Tao, with an IQ of 225-230, a young Australian mathematician. He currently teaches at the University of Los Angeles.

There is a good chance that somewhere in the world there is an unknown child prodigy (or several children) with an equal or even higher IQ. The truth is, this doesn’t matter. After all, numbers are just numbers. The most important thing is that they can experience their childhood, that they can really be children. Because it is essential that they enjoy secure emotional bonds. This will ensure that they can fulfill their desires freely and without pressure.

This story has shown us that extreme intelligence does not always equate to happiness. 

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