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The Smartest People Who Ever Lived

  • 19. Ludwig van Beethoven Beethoven (1770-1827) was a German composer and pianist who created profound orchestral and solo masterpieces that linked two key areas of musical history: the Classical and the Romantic Eras. In his late 20s, Beethoven's hearing began to deteriorate rapidly and in the last decade of his life, he was almost completely deaf. It was his love of music that kept his spirits up, and his disability did not inhibit his ability to create beautiful music, like Moonlight Sonata and Symphony No. 9's "Ode to Joy."
  • 20. Robin Williams Funnyman Robin Williams (1951-2014) was a beloved American comedian and actor with a keen talent for improvisation and vocal impressions. His teachers at Juilliard called him "a human dynamo" and were not surprised when Williams left school junior year, as there was nothing more they could teach him. His most endearing films include Dead Poets Society, Good Morning, Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, and Mrs. Doubtfire.
  • 21. Alan Turing Alan Turing (1912-1954) was an influential English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, and theoretical biologist. His invention, the Turing Machine, was foundational to the modern model of a general purpose computer. During World War II, Turing worked for the British Government Code and Cypher School and it was his mathematical genius that helped to break the Nazi's Enigma code. With this knowledge, the war was estimated to have been shortened by two years and over 14 million lives were saved.