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The Smartest People Who Ever Lived

  • 7. 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."
  • 8. William Shakespeare "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." These words from William Shakespeare's play, "Twelfth Night," accurately sum up the genius of the most famous and well-esteemed English playwright, poet, and actor. For centuries, William Shakespeare's stories—complete with complex and flawed characters such as Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet—have entertained people of all ages, cultures, and educational backgrounds. Shakespeare's influence on our world today is here to stay.
  • 9. Marie Curie Marie Curie (1867-1934) was a Polish chemist and physicist. She was also the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, the first person to ever win it twice, and the only person to win in two different scientific categories. Today, she is greatly remembered for her discovery of two elements (polonium and radium), as well as her profound theory of radioactivity (a term she first coined).