The mass media tells us that people who are involved in science must be ugly and weird “nerds” – social outcasts with one eyebrow, pimples, mustaches, braces, stinky hair, and glasses.
But, as we know, a talented person is talented at everything, and that weird image is completely false and unjustified. In reality, the situation is the other way around – those boring “nerds” tend to be the most badass and charismatic historical figures. They are famous rock stars, fearless conquerors, influential prophets, and outstanding legends who amaze us and who have made a great impact on our world.
Top 10 Most Badass Nerds of All Time
Brian May is a guitar player, songwriter, and backup vocalist in the legendary rock band Queen, which took rock to another atmosphere completely. He is also a talented astrophysicist who was working toward his PhD in astrophysics at Imperial College in London, but instead of continuing his work, he went on tour with his new band, Queen, when they first hit it big.
Now May rocks out to astrophysics, as he achieved his degree from Imperial by completing his dissertation on interplanetary dust. He also wrote a book on the subject called "Bang! The Complete History of the Universe". In 2015, May was awed by the opportunity to meet the NASA team and participate in the New Horizons mission, which involved an interplanetary space probe flyby of Pluto.
One of the most mysterious and brightest personalities of the 20th century, a man whose name is connected to enthralling intrigues and gossips, a genius who invented hundreds of modern technologies, Nikola Tesla was far from a lonely geek.
Instead, he was an outgoing, funny, and charismatic extrovert who spoke six languages, loved poetry, and enjoyed the company of a wide variety of people. In his time, Tesla was a very famous full-fledged millionaire who gave mind-blowing performances with electricity and inventions. He would amaze crowds by demonstrating a radio-controlled boat, X-ray images, and high-voltage transformers, or even passing one million volts of AC electricity through his body.
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was the leading intellectual and key figure of the Renaissance. Most of all, he is known as a great Italian painter for his famous and enduring works “The Last Supper” and “Mona Lisa”. Furthermore, he was a brilliant musician who played the flute and every stringed instrument. Because of his musical talent and magnificent showmanship, Leonardo was very popular and was always welcomed to perform at parties by very rich and famous Italian noblemen, including the Regent of Milan, Ludovico Sforza.
Moreover, Leonardo was a magnificent engineer whose designs were completely ahead of their time: in the 15th century he invented the parachute, machine gun, diving suit, armored tank, and self-propelled cart. Unfortunately, his ideas were left unrecognised as there were no proper tools available at the time to construct his inventions.
Imhotep was an Ancient Egyptian architect, sage, and healer. He was the first advisor of King Djoser and the Highest Priest at Heliopolis. He was born a commoner and worked his way up by his genius.
Imhotep was the first Ancient Egyptian architect known by his name, and he built the oldest known pyramid, the Step Pyramid in Saqqara, which is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Also, Imhotep was the first physician who realized that diseases are caused by environmental factors rather than by magic or the gods. His medical works contain information about trauma surgery, anatomy, diagnosis, treatment, and progress for more than 200 medical issues.
The “Ancient Egyptian nerd” was so unique in his time that people started worshiping Imhotep as a medical demigod, the “Son of Ptah.” Historians thought that he was just a mythological figure until the late 19th century, when archeologist C.E. Wilbour discovered evidence of his existence.
Sargon of Akkad
“Knowledge is power.” These words are the eternal truth, whether it’s about the modern world or the cradle of human civilization. Ancient Sumer was a place of constant wars among the Mesopotamian city-states.
Because of those military conflicts, Mesopotamians made a huge contribution in terms of creating and developing different weapons and armors. One of those breakthroughs was a composite bow created by a local brainiac, Sargon the Great.
He was a self-made man of humble origins, but was clever enough to come up with a new type of bow comprised of wood, bone, and animal horns. The bow was much more flexible and powerful than ordinary bows, which gave archers a huge advantage on the battlefield.
With this innovative weapon, a well-trained army of archers, and an energetic temperament, Sargon conquered all of southern Mesopotamia, parts of Syria, Anatolia, and Elam, and created the first-known great empire.
Thutmose III was the greatest pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, an ingenious and fearless warrior who was always at the head of his army. By launching at least 16 military campaigns in Syria, Palestine, Nubia, and Mesopotamia, he amassed Egypt’s wealth and gained the complete respect of Egypt and the entire region. For his achievements, Thutmose III was highly revered during his reign and for a long time after his death.
Besides an accomplished statesman, horseman, athlete, archer, and military genius, Thutmose III was also a fair-minded, discriminating patron of the arts. He studied botanics, collected flowers during his military campaigns, made glass vessels, and set up a number of obelisks and beautiful temples around Egypt.
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great was a military genius, magnificent strategist, and incredible general who never lost a battle. By his 30s, he had conquered all of the known-to-the-ancient-Greeks world and created one of the biggest empires ever.
Granted, his military talent and achievements are legendary, but he was not just an amazing conqueror; he was also a very educated and intelligent person. His interest in learning was influenced by one of the greatest thinkers ever – Aristotle, whose impact on a Macedonian king was profound. Because of that, Alexander developed a huge passion for study and became a lover of philosophy, science, medicine, arts, and poetry.
Camillo Agrippa was a sixteenth-century engineer, architect, and natural philosopher who was associated with the Confraternity of St. Joseph of the Holy Land. Agrippa was also a member of literary and artistic circles and became acquainted with Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and the great artist Michelangelo.
Agrippa was very famous and respected in his time for his achievements in science. Nonetheless, he is more remembered for his book “Treatise on the Science of Arms” (published in 1553), in which Agrippa, by combining a mathematical conception of the world and martial arts, created a completely new system for using the “wearing-sword” – he lengthened and narrowed a sidearm and developed a new type of sword that today is known as a rapier. Because of this, Agrippa is considered one of the most influential fencing theorists in history.
Socrates was one of the greatest Ancient Greek philosophers. He laid the groundwork for the Western system of logic and philosophy by creating a new style of conversation known as the Socratic Method, in which he did not share knowledge with his students, but asked them questions until they finally understood the topic of the conversation.
The famous image of a wise old man with a beard, a stuff, and a mantle, one who educates the students around him, is completely incongruous with Socrates, as he was a great warrior and was respected among Athenians for his fearlessness and physical strength. One time Socrates alone threatened and kicked away the entire enemy cavalry by showing, even from afar, that he could put up a strong enough defence when other members of the Athenian troops cowardly ran for their lives. Socrates was a warrior and philosopher who considered military service a very important part of life and thought that war was joyful and even good in certain cases.
Richard Feynman was an American physicist best known for unlocking the secrets of quantum electrodynamics. He participated in the Manhattan Project, for which he assisted in the development of the atomic bomb. Feynman also developed a mathematical theory of particle physics, played a pivotal role in the investigation of the Challenger space shuttle disaster, and was considered one of the most brilliant physics lecturers ever.
Beyond all that, Richard Feynman has a very colorful and multi-faceted personality who used to translate Mayan hieroglyphs, play bongos, open safes, joke around and play pranks on his fellow researchers, enjoy a drink here and there, and draw women from nightclubs. Feynman claimed that he turned picking up women into a science and used it to work on his revolutionary projects.