Strange Brains and Genius: The Secret Lives Of Eccentric Scientists And Madmen

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Harper Collins, May 19, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages
15 Reviews

Never has the term mad scientist been more fascinatingly explored than in internationally recognized popular science author Clifford Pickover's richly researched wild ride through the bizarre lives of eccentric geniuses. A few highlights:

"The Pigeon Man from Manhattan" Legendary inventor Nikola Tesla had abnormally long thumbs, a peculiar love of pigeons, and a horror of women's pearls.

"The Worm Man from Devonshire" Forefather of modern electric-circuit design Oliver Heaviside furnished his home with granite blocks and sometimes consumed only milk for days (as did Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison).

"The Rabbit-Eater from Lichfield" Renowned scholar Samuel Johnson had so many tics and quirks that some mistook him for an idiot. In fact, his behavior matches modern definitions of obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette's syndrome.

Pickover also addresses many provocative topics: the link between genius and madness, the role the brain plays in alien abduction and religious experiences, UFOs, cryonics -- even the whereabouts of Einstein's brain!


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hcubic - LibraryThing

Some of the most incendiary minds of science have also verged on pathology; a few of them clearly have been mentally ill. Cliff Pickover describes the quirks and eccentric behaviors of some of these ... Read full review

Review: Strange Brains and Genius: The Secret Lives Of Eccentric Scientists And Madmen

User Review  - John - Goodreads Tesla slaved for Edison for about a year when they finally had an argument forcing Tesla to leave Edison like a bat out of hell. It all began when Tesla suggested ... Read full review


Introduction 1
The Pigeon Man from Manhattan 9
The Worm Man from Devonshire 51
The RabbitEater from Lichfield 80
The Fly Man from Galway 90
The Mutton Man from London 104
The Sprained Brain from Birmingham 113
The Brain Shelter 201
Do We Really Use Only 10 Percent of Our Brain? 209
Epilogue 251
A RunnersUp List 279
Notes 311
Further Reading 321
About the Author 326

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About the author (1999)

Clifford A. Pickover is the lead writer for the brain-boggler column in Discover magazine and the author of numerous acclaimed science books. He has been featured on PBS, the Discovery Channel, and CNN. A research staff member at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center, Dr. Pickover is a prolific inventor who holds numerous patents. He lives in Yorktown Heights, New York.

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