When he was 18 months old he was reading The New York Times. By the time he was 8 years old he was fluent in 8 languages and he graduated from Harvard when he was 16 years old. We are talking about William James Sidis, considered the smartest man who ever lived.
Born in 1898 in a family of intellectuals, William James Sidis was a genius who impressed the international scientific community with his mathematics and linguistic skills.
His father, a psychology professor at Harvard, considered that passion for knowledge should be inspired to kids at very young ages. Thanks to the efforts made by his father and because of his extraordinary intelligence ( it is estimated that he had an IQ between 250 and 300 ), William James Sidis realized extraordinary performances.
He was able to speak and write in 40 languages
At the age of two he was able to read English and when he was four years old he was able to write in French. By the time he was 8 he was fluent in 8 languages, after which he created a new language from scratch which he named Vandergood. Later, he was able to write and read in 40 languages. He was admitted to Harvard when he was 12 years old and he graduated at 16, in 1914.
Although everybody predicted a bright future for him, things were not actually like that. between 1915 and 1919 he worked as a math professor at a Texas university after which he decided to quit the academic career.
Arrested for being a socialist
William James Sidis was arrested in 1919 after he participated at a Socialist parade in Boston, which ended in violence. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail but his parents managed to overturn the sentence into a year in a New Hampshire clinic. During the lawsuit, he said that he is a socialist and he is against World War 1.
From 1921 he started to work with calculus machines, a job much under his intellectual abilities. He started to grow apart from hsi parents. In all this time he wrote specialty papers, on different topics from cosmology to the history of Native Americans.
He passed away, unemployed, in 1944 because of a brain hemorrhage. He was 46 years old!