My father was a very strange intellectual phenomenon, whose magnitude cannot be described except in meager terms and with lots of caution, because any valuation, even by his son, remains subjective, being prone to erroneous judgements by a necessarily lesser intelligence.
He was born in 1929. As a child he graduated first in his high school (Pireus 3-rd Gymnasium) with a grade of 19+7/11. Under the Greek National examination system in 1947 he subsequently entered the Civil Engineering department of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) after high school, ranking seventh in the entire country.
Asking my uncle who took part in the same exams during the year 1945, the total number of candidates were ~800 for the school of Civil Engineering at NTUA and approximating the scores of the exam for year 1947 using a normal distribution with σ=15, we get using Maple:
> p:=(x,sigma,mu)->exp(-(x-mu)^2/(2*sigma^2));#normal distribution
Assuming that the number of total candidates for this school didn't vary very much between 1945 and 1948, we note that the sample space (800) should approximately equal the integral of the distribution, so we can normalize as follows:
> A:=evalf(solve(A*Int(p(x,15,100),x=0..200)=800,A));#find normalization constant for sample of 800
> P:=(x,sigma,mu)->A*p(x,sigma,mu);#normalized distribution for Greek National exams for NTUA civil engineering for year 1947
A rank of 7-th in 800 then, corresponds to an IQ of:
My mother's own testimony was that when she was dating him during his university years, his fellow students referred to him as "Einstein".
During the period 1952-1955 he served initially as Assistant and later as Reservist Ensign Mechanical Engineer in the Naval Command of Crete and in the General Naval Staff, in N.A.T.O.'s Office of Research and Supervision Infrastructure.
From the year 1955 and upon his lawful dismissal from the Navy, he served until 1959 as a contractor Mechanical Supervisor of N.A.T.O.'s Construction Research department.
Resigning in 1959, he cooperated with the Civil Construction Company "Eupalinos" until the year 1961, when he left and founded his own construction company which he kept until 1967.
During the period 1959-1961 he served as a Supervisor Civil Engineer in the department of "Structural Mechanics and Elements of Technical Constructions" and during the period 1966-1967 he served as a Supervisor Civil Engineer in the department of "Statics and Iron Bridges" under NTUA professor E. Panayiotounakos.
In 1967 he submitted his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Applied Mathematics in the area of the Mathematical Theory of Elasticity at NTUA. His thesis was of fundamental importance to the later development of the Theory of Elasticity using Complex Variables and can be used to explain a plethora of phenomena, like Lightning.
Subsequently he was appointed a full-fledged professor at NTUA, and at approximately the same time he was appointed by the (then) National Government to the position of Secretary General in the Ministry of Education and Religion.
While serving in the above governmental position he helped a plethora of people (including friend and foe) by performing several favors after being bombarded by the corresponding requests and he never used his position of power for personal or financial gain, as a result of which his property remained exactly the same after this government was deposed, in 1974.
Besides being an engineer, he was a very strong chess player, an superb player of keyboard music, an expert painter, an expert poet, an expert butterfly stroke swimmer, an expert hunter and a fully informed amateur astronomer. He commanded expertly several difficult areas in Mathematics, such as Geometry, Analytic Geometry, Complex Analysis, Real Analysis, Number Theory, Set Theory and Group Theory and spoke fluently several languages, such as German, French, Italian and English, besides his native Greek.
In 1973-74 he left Greece and became a permanent citizen of Switzerland, living there with his second wife until the time of his death.
Although he separated with my mother in 1972 and left our family, according to her testimony again, while we were together he was a perfect husband and a fairly good father to me, until he divorced my mother. She always remarks that when they were together he never boasted about his intelligence.
I was told that he died in 1986 of a heart attack, but I never saw him dead, because I was a student in the States, so I didn't make it to his funeral. The year he died was the year of Halley's comet. Several major disasters occurred just before his death: The Challenger disaster in the US five months before the date of his death and the Chernobyl disaster in Russia two months before the date of his death. At the time of his death, I was a senior at U of I, close to getting my degree in Mathematics. After being notified of his death, I lost 20 kilos, became delusional and had a bout with paranoia and depression which overall took me 20 years to overcome. I barely made it to graduation.
Prior to his death, he created such a complex will, a team of lawyers was unable to solve the grand puzzle he specified in his will for 23 years, until I figured out that it was unsolvable as it was meant to completely deadlock the inheritance to me and (possibly) to his second wife.
I found this spectroscope in his belongings after he died. Several years before his death I had asked him for a high quality spectroscope to do my physics investigations.
He also managed to enter the internet records without any effort on my part although he never used computers himself.
My father was a genius of such monstrous magnitude, to the point where just being the son of such a man creates severe psychological and emotional problems, particularly after his son (this author) has been an almost complete financial failure (compared to him of course).
As far as I am aware, he was the only human who managed to climb the ladder of social power so fast. I am not aware of any other human being who, at the age of 35-38 had achieved so much in one's life.
His existence on this planet was, for lack of better wording, a monumental and strange contradiction. A lesser intelligence (such as mine) cannot fully comprehend the repercussions from the coming and passing of a genius of the caliber of my father, so his existence and its influence on me will remain an unresolvable and mysterious grand dilemma.
When my father was alive, the world was an infinite playground. After he died, the world transformed into the worst nightmare imaginable.
How do I feel today? There's only one worthwhile reward for any male, including this author: For your father to say one day: "I am proud of you. You have done well". But no matter how much work I do, there's no way I can ever be like my father, so I don't expect this reward to come anytime soon.
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