Some views are so bad that they are not even wrong! Few scientists or great men (unless they were Indians)* enjoyed success in their lifetime. Likes of Galois, Abel, Bool, Fourier and many more are not alive to see their work (mostly criticized in their time) influencing this world. One could live with that! What is unbelievable is how ‘lesser-mortals’ write, speak and talk about so-assumed ‘smarter-than-us’ these days.
Strangely almost all of these larger-than-life figures considered themselves as smart as a normal human but the normal human is addicted to see them otherwise. Perhaps that is the only different element they had which made them realize that for doing great things you need not to be gifted with ultimate brain (Is anyone gifted?). Most of the ‘so-assumed’ best brains were scolded in their schooldays. And how many toppers you know who have done anything significant in the world of knowledge? It is a curse, hard to put yourself together almost all of the time. Trust me!
What is so wrong making a man/woman mentally untouchable. The very reason you worship someone is that you consider them to be much superior than yourselves. Almost impossible to equal. Gautam Buddha starts Buddhism. It started in India and then spread throughout Asia. It was patronized and disseminated by the mighty Indian King Asoka. It had captured almost all of the India that time. Remarkable Buddhism is no longer a prominent religion in India. How come this ethical cleansing happened without shedding a drop of blood?
Nagarjuna started mahanaya branch of Buddhism. Buddha always considered himself a man. He also demanded from his followers that He ought to be considered a man. Alas, Nagarjuna made him ‘god’. Now a learned man become a ‘god’. An untouchable! In India, individual worshiping is prominent disease. People must have liked the idea of considered him a god for they no longer have to try to become like Him. They do not have to even think about becoming like him. Had Nagarjuna (A brahmin) not done this We might have a more Buddha. Praise and make them untouchables. ‘Praise and Rule’ is as effective as ‘Divide and Rule’ only the former has more ‘ahimsa’ than the letter. That is how Brahmins killed Buddhism in India.
So what makes a Mathematician a Mathematician. How they got that way? Consider yourself doing numbers all the time, addicted with numbers all your life. You are number, when you sleep, eat, breathe or otherwise. You never miss a chance to do some calculation when you had a piece of paper and a pencil. That is what makes a Ramanujan. You want to know everything about electron, consider yourself an electron and live like it.
Lets take most cherished scientist of all time, Einstein. Perhaps He gives the best arguments why he was just an ordinary guy, no no, why he was just a guy with normal IQ (If IQ does exists!). @ http://rescomp.stanford.edu/~cheshire/EinsteinQuotes.html They have put up all of his important quotes but they missed what He loved to say. “I solved this problem because I stayed with it longer.” How ordinary and simple. He was intelligent with a brain just like yours and mine or anyone else. These people who capitalize on making people superman ignores all the things they have done or said what made then just like us. He might be the brightest in Physics but he considered the ‘tax-problem’ hardest for him. Even a clerk in the bank will take pride in that.
Guass may be the most intelligent mathematician ever but consider his obsession with math when the news of his wife dying reached to him and He asked that person to tell her to wait since he was in the middle of a problem. If you are that addicted with something, you can simply see it black and white. You have to give up some functions of your brain to make others prominent. If you are programmer, one thread must take the precedence over other threads if you want to make it to handle the most critical part of your program/life.
But what makes them do all these wonderful things. Nothing. If you don’t have the habit of grading the works. If you consider work of farmers, engineers, doctors, soldier, rickshaw puller, .. same in some way or other then almost all of us are Einstein, Guass or Ramanujan in some way or other. A auto-driver can be as smart with streets as W. Tutte was with graphs. A farmer may be as knowledgeable about his crop as Warren Buffet with stock market. A mother could be as great anthropologist as E.B. Taylor or M.N. Srinivas. Nonetheless, they might find it hard to formalize their thoughts to make a publication. It might be a restriction by language/life-style not by intellect.
I find it hard to convince myself of any reason (except a fatal accident) which can be a reason for a person who is hell bent on solving a problem to fail.
Jawahar Lal Nehru (Father of modern India) sums it up best, “We are small people serving a great cause, since the cause is so great some of the greatness will fall on us too.” Alas, none of his biographies (Save wonderful R Guha’s India after Gandhi) starts with this quote (Do you know one?)!!
Don’t make us believe that there are few great brains which were different from us! We, Indians have a philosophy which is being lost over the generations. It is ‘aham brahmashmi” i.e. I, Myself, is Brahma (the creator of this universe).
* Indians either get success (defined in popular way) in their lifetime or do not get it all. Later, after their death, either they are forgotten or worse were made a villain out of them. Just do a case study on Nehru. A dialogue in one of my favorite movie ‘Dark Knight’ goes like this, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”. In Nehru case (or may be in a lot other cases too) would go like this, “You live like a hero, and remembered like a Villain for the almost all of the Indians (the average Indian) is amnesic.” Worse they burn their dead and forget them. Ever wonder why the states of India (larger than most of the European countries) do not have their history well written in a any way. If you meet any citizen of India ask him/her about his/her family tree. At best (s)he will tell you about only 2 or 3 generation that will mostly include male members name! Worse, If somehow you meet a Villagen of India, 99.9% will not able to tell you their ‘date of birth’ (read Death or Birth).