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See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 23, Issue 5

Introducing the Genius Issue

The minds of exceptionally creative people hold answers for us all

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To contemplate genius is to call forth history's month fascinating people.Take Leonardo da Vinci, whose artworks— The Last Supper, the Mona Lisa—shine like beacons across the centuries. His scientific writings secured his position as the quintessential Renaissance man. Other polymaths also stand out as exemplars of genius: René Descartes, Benjamin Franklin, Mikhail Lomonosov.

The patterns hidden in the names we summon are telling. The people we choose to venerate expose both the defining cognitive features and the circumstances that kindle exceptional creativity.

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