The Strange Behaviour of Nobel Laureates

For the second time in a month, German eyebrows were raised over a topical poem the German laureate, novelist Günter Grass, published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Last time he castigated Israel for threatening Iran with an atomic war. This time he blamed Europe for brutalizing Greece. This prompted the writer Harald Martenstein to list in die Zeit strange behaviour by other laureates:

1. Linus Pauling recommended large quantities of Vitamin C to cancer patients.

2. Novelist Knut Hamsun praised Adolf Hitler as a fighter for mankind before and after 1945.

3. Luc Montagnier (the discoverer of the HIV virus) thought he could transport DNA from one glass of water to another with the help of magnetism.

4. Thomas Mann described his bowel movements obsessively in his diaries.

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3 responses to “The Strange Behaviour of Nobel Laureates

  1. Curmudgeon

    “Knut Hamsun praised Adolf Hitler”– It saddens me greatly to learn this. His Growth of the Soil made an enormous impression on me when I read it many years ago.

  2. David Schatzky

    I’m encouraged to discover that Thomas Mann described his bowel movements in his diaries.

    My father did the same thing.*

    Does that mean by dint of genetic inheritance there’s still some hope I could become a great author?

    *The obsession with bowel movements is not surprising in that generation of Germans. They were forced to become toilet trained much too early, whereas people in other societies knew that children would not necessarily turn out to be undisciplined ne’er-do-wells if they were allowed to take control of their bowels all in good time.

  3. Michael Gundy

    Let’s not leave out non-prize winner, Sir Isaac Newton, who, in his later years, spent much effort searching for the Philosopher’s Stone, capable of turning base metal into gold.

    Lesson, the great also are guilty of great stupidity.