William James Sidis (/ˈsaɪdɪs/; April 1, 1898 – July 17, 1944) was an American child prodigy with exceptional mathematical and linguistic skills. He is notable for his book The Animate and the Inanimate published in 1925 (written around 1920), in which he speculates about the origin of life in the context of thermodynamics. Sidis was raised in a particular manner by his father, psychiatrist Boris Sidis, who wished his son to be gifted. Sidis first became famous for his precocity and later for his eccentricity and withdrawal from public life. Eventually, he avoided mathematics altogether, writing on other subjects under a number of pseudonyms. He entered Harvard at age 11 and, as an adult, was said to have an extremely high IQ, and to be conversant in about 25 languages and dialects. Some of these statements have not been verified, but many of his contemporaries, including Norbert Wiener, Daniel Frost Comstock and William James had agreed that he was extremely intelligent. More information...

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