Anti Gravity: This Is Only a Test; August 2003; Scientific American Magazine; by Steve Mirsky; 1 Page(s)
The dog days of August are upon us. What could be more of a distraction from the summer swelter than the shelter of a familiar exercise ordinarily reserved for the academic year? Therefore, it's time for that old favorite, the true-or-false quiz. (Don't worry, I'll write the essays.)
1. Einstein and Newton may have had a form of autism. True, according to one autism researcher. New Scientist reports that Simon Baron-Cohen of the University of Cambridge thinks that the two great physicists might have had a form of autism called Asperger syndrome. Markers for the syndrome include an obsessive focus on a subject of interest, poor relationships and communication difficulties. (But of course, those symptoms also describe millions of people who listen to hours of sports talk radio every day.) By the way, a newspaper article on Baron-Cohen's theory notes that "firm diagnosis on the dead is impossible," which I disagree with, because rigor mortis is about as firm a diagnosis as there is.