Photo by Ferdinand Schmutzer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The oft-repeated “fact” that Einstein failed as a math student actually isn’t true at all. On the contrary, he surprised teachers and fellow students with his ability to solve complex mathematic problems and grapple with concepts his peers couldn’t.

As gifted a pupil as he was, though, he grew tired of his teachers’ rigidity and didn’t apply himself. Even so, the man himself later responded angrily to false stories that he had failed math as a child. “Before I was 15 I had mastered differential and integral calculus,” he promptly responded.

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