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Q: Was Albert Einstein dyslexic? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Was Albert Einstein dyslexic?
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: frankh-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 25 Nov 2002 21:49 PST
Expires: 25 Dec 2002 21:49 PST
Question ID: 114700
Was Einstein dyslexic?  Searching for Einstein and dyslexic in Google
gives 3370 hits, most of which claim (with little proof) that Einstein
was a dyslexic.  In fact a search for the exact phrase "Einstein was
dyslexic" gives 56 hits.  So by popular vote of the web, at least,
Einstein was a dyslexic.  I am sure it makes people with dyslexia and
parents of dyslexic children FEEL better to think that the most famous
physicist in the world was just like them.  I guess that it is OK to
make people feel good…

But I am bothered by this and believe this to be another of the many
untrue myths about Einstein.  By looking at the search results above
and others, I did find the following 4 URLs that claim that Einstein
was NOT a dyslexic:

So the answer I am looking for would be some even more authoritative
and believable source (better than the 4 cited above) that clearly
states “Einstein was NOT a dyslexic” and has documented evidence to
back it up.

Being a fair-minded person, I am also willing to accept an answer that
can PROVE that Einstein WAS a dyslexic.  Of course, one of the
problems is what constitutes a proof.  There are tests today that can
show that someone has dyslexia, but I am sure Einstein never took one
of those tests.  But, if you can PROVE that Einstein had many of the
symptoms that dyslexics have, I would accept that as a proof.  Good
Subject: Re: Was Albert Einstein dyslexic?
Answered By: legolas-ga on 26 Nov 2002 10:49 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi frankh,

I was able to confirm that according to the Washington Post on April
24, 2001; Page A13 that Einstein was not Dyslexic. To view this
article online, you must register and pay $2.95 (or go to your local
library :) )

The Washington Post - Archives,E&p_text_date-0=01/01/1985%20to%2012/31/2002&p_field_advanced-0=&p_text_advanced-0=("einstein")%20and%20("dyslexic")&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:

This article was repeated on a fortune city website that you
referenced (which was been removed). Google's cache of this article is
Einstein's Page - The Bright Truth About Einstein (Google Cache)

Surprisingly, most sites say that he WAS dyslexic. Even the The
Dyslexia Research Institute mentiones that he was dyslexic. However,
you're right that there is very little proof ever given. It is more of
a "Well, everyone just KNOWS that he was".
The Dyslexia Research Institute

This was a fascinating question for me to research. However, I must
tell you that assessing if someone is Dyslexic, after death, is a very
difficult thing to do. More than likely he may have had a very mild
form of Dyslexia, or on occassion reversed numbers due to some other
reason (like fatigue) that people took as Dyslexia. The sad truth is
that we may never know with 100% accuracy if he was or not, but, I
suspect the Washington Post to be a source worthy of believing.
Especially since it mentions the myth specifically.

Additional Links:

Google Directory (dmoz) search:

Thanks for the great question!


Search terms:

"Albert Einstein" dyslexic

Search on Washington Post Archives:
search word 1: einstein
search word 2: dyslexic
search between 1985 to present

Clarification of Answer by legolas-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:17 PST
This is interesting... I wrote to the Dyslexia Research Institute
prior to posting my answer. I didn't hear back from them until just
now. They say:

"The University of North Carolina published a paper about 20 years ago
showed evidence that Einstein had certain traits, such as
which is indicative of dyslexia.  You may wish to contact them for a
copy of
that paper."

However, The Washington Post says otherwise. I think this is
definately a case where there is no 'proof' one way or another: just
lots of very high-profile people making claims..

The Washington Post article, to me smacks of truth. Simply, the
grading system at his school changed from 1-6 (1 being highest) to 6-1
(6 being highest) during his tenure there. An early biographer seems
to have made a mistake of interpretation.

But, the article could be an interesting read: I'll see if I can track
it down and if I can, I will let you know.



Clarification of Answer by legolas-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:20 PST
One other interesting point: a 20 year old article is probably less
definitive than the washington post article.. I will also ask them for
their opinion on the WP article. I'll get back to you.. (See, now I'm
just fascinated too :) )


Request for Answer Clarification by frankh-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:28 PST
I am sorry, but this is not really any more information than I already
had.  You are right I already knew about the Washington Post article. 
Then you mention that he might have occasionally reversed digits - is
there any evidence of even that?  I would consider it an answer if you
find who it was that originally said that Einstein was dyslexic along
with their evidence for saying that followed by either a confirmation
or refutation of the evidence they used.  I know it is almost
impossible to diagnose a dead person so I don't think this is an easy
question.  I am sorry, but at this point I would have to either either
ask for a refund for your answer or give it only 1 star.  Please dig
harder - or is there anyway Google Answers lets you retract your

Clarification of Answer by legolas-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:30 PST
As I clarified, the source document seems to be The University of
North Carolina paper which was published 20 years ago. I am trying to
locate this paper.


Request for Answer Clarification by frankh-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:31 PST
My 1st request for Answer Clarification was for your original answer,
with your further clarifications you are getting closer!  Thanks.  I
will await further clrifications from you.  Good work!

Request for Answer Clarification by frankh-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:32 PST
What is "strephosymbolia"?

Clarification of Answer by legolas-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:33 PST
"Strephosymbolia - Term meaning literally "twisted symbols",
describing the condition of being unable to presevre the order of
letters in words read or spelled."

Clarification of Answer by legolas-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:39 PST
I found you some references:


ERIC_NO:  EJ352546
TITLE: Rodin, Patton, Edison, Wilson, Einstein: Were They Really
Learning Disabled?
AUTHOR: Adelman, Kimberly A.; Adelman, Howard S.
JOURNAL_CITATION: Journal of Learning Disabilities; v20 n5 p270-79 May
ABSTRACT: The practice of posthumously diagnosing historical figures
is discussed. Emphasis is on the unsatisfactory nature of evidence
found for those diagnosed as learning-disabled or dyslexic and the
possibility of other explanations for identified problems. Posthumous
diagnoses of Auguste Rodin, George Patton, Thomas Edison, Woodrow
Wilson, and Albert Einstein are reviewed. (Author/CB)
MAJOR_DESCRIPTORS: Clinical Diagnosis; Dyslexia; Handicap
Identification; Learning Disabilities;
MINOR DESCRIPTORS: Case Studies; Death;
IDENTIFIERS: Edison (Thomas); Einstein (Albert); Patton (George);
*Posthumous Diagnosis; Retrospective Studies (Psychology); Rodin
(Auguste); Wilson (Woodrow)

ERIC_NO:  EJ455787
TITLE: A Future of Reversals: Dyslexic Talents in a World of Computer
AUTHOR: West, Thomas G.
JOURNAL_CITATION: Annals of Dyslexia; v42 p124-39 1992
ABSTRACT: This paper proposes that those traits which handicap
visually oriented dyslexics in a verbally oriented educational system
may confer advantages in new fields which rely on visual methods of
analysis, especially those in computer applications. It is suggested
that such traits also characterized Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday,
James Maxwell, and Leonardo da Vinci. (DB)
MAJOR_DESCRIPTORS: Cognitive Processes; Computer Oriented Programs;
Dyslexia; Visual Learning;
MINOR DESCRIPTORS: Cognitive Style; Exceptional Persons; Futures (of
Society); Scientists; Spatial Ability;
IDENTIFIERS: Einstein (Albert); Faraday (Michael); Leonardo da Vinci;
Maxwell (James)
REPORT_NO: ISSN-0736-9387

Both of these articles can be delivered by e-mail or fax for a small
fee.. or, you can go to your local library and obtain the journals in

I sincerly hope this helps.. I will let you know if I find anything


Request for Answer Clarification by frankh-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:39 PST
OK! The word "strephosymbolia" was not in the Google Labs glossary or
on Merriam-Webster.  So now there should be evidence one way or
another - there must be lots of letters written directly by Einstein -
did they have lots of strephosymbolia or not!?  Thanks for all your

Clarification of Answer by legolas-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:43 PST
It looks like there are some archives of letters here:

Albert Einstein Archives

I looks like there are lots of references to books and letters he
wrote himself. But, the askERIC article I pulled (the first one of the
two) is probably the BEST reference anyone will be able to find.


Request for Answer Clarification by frankh-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:46 PST
Thanks for your "askeric" answers.  It looks like they are not
available online - even for a fee, so I will check at my library
today!  Thanks again.

Clarification of Answer by legolas-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:47 PST
My pleasure. Hope that helps answer your question! :)


Clarification of Answer by legolas-ga on 26 Nov 2002 11:50 PST
To obtain the journal article online, please see:

If your citation is identified by an EJ number in the "ERIC_NO"field:
You have selected a journal article. Journal articles are
currentlynotavailable in full text from ERIC. To obtain a copy:

Contact a library. If the library subscribes to the originating
journal,you should be able to get a copy locally. If the library does
nothold the journal, you may be able to obtain a copy through
Contact the document delivery service listed below. Please be aware
that no article reproduction service carries 100% of ERIC-indexed
journal titles.

* Infotrieve
41575 Joy Rd.
Canton, MI 48187
Phone: 800-422-4633
Cost per Article:
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
$12.00 Service Fee + Copyright Royalty + Delivery
$14.00 Service Fee + Copyright Royalty + Delivery

Clarification of Answer by legolas-ga on 26 Nov 2002 21:24 PST
Thanks so much for the 5-stars, and the tip! When you get the journal
article, feel free to post a snippet on here with your findings.
Should make an interesting read!

Thanks again!
frankh-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Great answer.  I have ordered the journal article that will give me
the academic / evidence to justify my claim that Einstein was NOT
dyslexic.  Thanks!  If you get any other information, please post that
here also!

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