were einstein and newton autistic?

While acknowledging that firm diagnosis on the dead is impossible, autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen of Cambridge University, UK, thinks Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton showed signs of Asperger syndrome, a form of autism that doesn’t cause learning problems, reported New Scientist last week. Baron-Cohen assessed their personality traits based on biographical information and said that the scientists exhibited the three key symptoms of Asperger’s — obsessive interests, difficulty in social relationships, and problems communicating. Others are not convinced. Psychiatrist Glen Elliott of the University of California at San Francisco points out that any behavior can have various causes. “One can imagine geniuses who are socially inept and yet not remotely autistic.”

This news brief appeared in the Random Data column of the Boston Globe’s Health/Science section on 5/06/2003.
This entry was posted in boston globe, news briefs. Bookmark the permalink.