While 23rd June may not ring a bell with most people, it does happen to be an eventful day. It was on this day that the British genius Alan Turing was born. Some of you who have seen Benedict Cumberbatch’s recent critically acclaimed movie “The Imitation Game” might be familiar with his work. One of the most pioneering computer scientist ever, Alan’s contribution to history and humankind is immense. He cracked the German enigma code and helped hasten the end of the World War II by at the very least two years saving millions of lives in the process.
However, it was pity that such a genius ended his life struggling with his surroundings while he was being prosecuted by the British legal system for being gay and eventually ended up committing suicide. Alan’s death might just have been the greatest waste of excellence of the human mind in the history of human civilization. While the link between brilliance of mind and depression may not be perfectly inherent, but there seems to be some loose thread. So today we bring to you the story of 3 other geniuses that took the wrong route to end their life as we remember their contribution to mankind.
1. Edwin Armstrong
The electrical Engineer from America has been described as “the most prolific and influential inventor in radio history”. Widely accredited with the invention of the FM radio which forms the basis of a lot of modern day technologies, this recipient of the first IEEE “Medal of Honor” committed suicide by removing the air conditioner of his house and jumping from the 13th floor to put an end to his life. He is said to have been financially and mentally crippled by his legal tussles with the RCA (Radio Corporation of America), who thought that Edwin’s idea would destroy AM radio which finally lead to his demise aged 54.
2. Wallace Carothers
Wallace Hume Carothers, a chemist and inventor from America is credited with one of the most important discoveries for the polymer and textile industry, i.e. Nylon. His works also help lay the groundwork for developing another very important polymer in neoprene. Despite having achieved so much, Wallace hit a roadblock in his career due to which he started to think that he had run out of ideas. He suffered from what is often known in scientific terms as “Inventor’s Block”. That coupled with the death of his sister lead him to commit suicide by drinking a cocktail of lemon juice laced with Potassium Cyanide at the age of 41.
3. Ernest Hemingway
Turning our attention from scientific to literary genius, another brilliant mind to have gone down the same path is American author and journalist, Ernest Miller Hemingway. Having been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, some of his works are strictly regarded as classics of American Literature. A lot of his works were shaped by the World War as he developed a distinct writing style of his own. Hemingway is said to have influence a lot of modern day writers. While Hemingway’s death was thought to have been because of his ailments at the age of 61, the revelation came five years later when his wife Mary Hemingway admitted that he had committed suicide. Although a lot of biographers keep pondering over available facts to figure out the exact reasons for the suicide of one America’s most celebrated writers.
So while we now appreciate the genius that these people were, we seldom forget how these people did not receive the treatment their work warranted. Although the exact reasons for them taking such drastic actions will never be truly known, their contribution in taking the human race a step forward is undeniable.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.