“I’m not strange. I’m just not normal,” said Salvador Dalí, the famed Spanish painter.
Best known for his iconic paintings of melting watches and other surreal imagery, Dalí lived flamboyantly. Invited to give a lecture at the esteemed Sorbonne in 1955, the eccentric artist arrived in Paris driving a Rolls Royce filled with fresh cauliflower. Dalí once spoke at an art exhibition in London dressed in a deep-sea diving suit and accompanied by two wolfhounds. And at a book signing in New York, customers received a recording of his brain waves along with their book.
“The only difference between a madman and myself is that I am not mad,” Dalí insisted.
History has never lacked memorably odd scientists either.
Isaac Newton once stuck a needle in his eye in the name of science. Curious about how anatomy affects our perception of color, the great physicist inserted a thin metal rod around the side of his eyeball until it reached the back. “Pressing my eye with the end of it, there appeared several white dark and colored circles,” he wrote in his notebook. Perhaps not surprisingly, Newton died a virgin.
Paul Erdös was one of ...