Last Updated on November 15, 2022 by Editorial Team
Pretty unfortunate that still many people equate dyslexia with lower IQ. Considering the number of famous inventors, scientists, actors, and presidents born with dyslexia, it is evident that dyslexia has nothing to do with low IQ.
Who could’ve thought the most brilliant mind ever born in the history of humankind, Albert Einstein, had difficulty with reading aloud and word retrieval?
The point here is that dyslexia is just not the end of the academic road. Every dyslexic individual sees and learns about the world from a different perspective, as in the case of Albert Einstein. He was an outside-the-box thinker. So can be you, your kid, or anyone with dyslexia. Just because you have dyslexia doesn’t mean you’re inferior.
To further boost the morale of our dear readers, we gathered a list of the most famous scientists with dyslexia. Scientists mentioned below were able to achieve the greatest heights even in times when there was hardly any assistance for dyslexia.
11. Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell (3 March 1847 – 2 August 1922) was a renowned inventor and scientist famous for his invention of the practical telephone. The telephone was the outcome of his effort to create a device for helping deaf people.
His school years were really not that great. He struggled through school due to his dyslexia. Other than his subjects of interest, his school records were majorly filled with absenteeism and poor grades. But, that didn’t stop him for developing the greatest inventions of all time.
He is also well known today as one of the founders of the National Geographic society
Alexander Graham Bell, Inventor of Telephone
We so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
10. Pierre Curie
Pierre Curie (15 May 1858 – 19 April 1906) was a French Physicist. He was a pioneer of nuclear physics and radioactivity. His research in the field (with his brother, Jacques Curie)led to the discovery of the piezoelectric effect. Pierre received schooling entirely at home by his mother and father.
He showed a strong interest in mathematics and geometry. At the age of just 14, he began studying with a mathematics professor who helped him shape his future prospects. Pierre’s knowledge of physics and mathematics earned him his bachelor of science degree in 1875 at the age of sixteen.
He and his wife, Marie Curie, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 for their contribution to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium.
Pierre Curie, French Physicist
It is important to make a dream of life and a dream reality.
9. Jacques Dubochet
Jacques Dubochet (born 8 June 1942) is a retired Swiss biophysicist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2017 along with Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for their contribution to developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution.
The Swiss Nobel laureate struggled through his school years as he was dyslexic. He was diagnosed while at the age of 14 when he was about to fail in high school.
Initially, he desired to become a writer but had to give up as he found writing too hard. As a result, he decided to pursue a career in science, his second choice.
Jacques Dubochet, Swiss Nobel Laureate Biophysicist
We three have never been very good chemists but we are gratified with a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The Peter Principle says that everyone is promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. We are worried that we may have reached this remarkable point.
8. Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday (22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867 ) was an English scientist famous for his contributions to the field of physics and chemistry. Belonging to a very poor family, he received only a basic education in a church Sunday school.
He was dyslexic. On one hand, he spoke and wrote with great difficulty. Memorizing stuff was a nightmare. He did poorly with the symbolic language of mathematics. But, on the other hand, he was gifted with an expanded ability to visualize — to see things whole.
He went on to become the first person to invent the electric motor and dynamo. He also discovered a number of new organic compounds, including benzene, and was the first to liquefy a permanent gas.
Michael Faraday, English Scientist
A centre of excellence is, by definition, a place where second class people may perform first class work.
7. Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642 ) was an Italian natural philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician who made fundamental contributions to the sciences of motion, astronomy, and strength of materials and to the development of the scientific method.
His father was Vincenzo Galilei, a musician and his mother was Guilia Ammannati. Initially, Galileo was enrolled at the University of Pisa to become a physician. However, he was not able to finish his medical degree. Instead, he opted for mathematics and fine arts.
Two major incidents were responsible for this decision – One was his first observation that a chandelier despite swinging in large and small arcs took almost the same time to return to the first position. Another one was a lecture on geometry which he accidentally attended clarifying the mind of his future prospects. He is known as the Father of Modern Science.
Galileo Galilei, Italian Mathematician & Inventor
We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.
6. James Clerk Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell (13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879) was a Scottish scientist in the field of mathematical physics. His research in kinetics and electricity contributed to structuring modern Quantum mechanics and special relativity.
Maxwell was a quiet child. At school, he was at first regarded as shy and rather dull. He made no friendships and spent his occasional holidays reading old ballads, drawing curious diagrams, and making rude mechanical models. His inconveniences followed him even to Edinburgh University where he additionally attempted to fit in and it wasn’t until he touched base in Cambridge that he blossomed.
James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish Physicist
The student who uses home made apparatus, which is always going wrong, often learns more than one who has the use of carefully adjusted instruments, to which he is apt to trust and which he dares not take to pieces.
5. John Robert Horner
John Robert Horner (15 June 1946) is an American Paleontologist. His major work revolved around researching dinosaurs’ behavior and growth. His work contributed to the evidence that dinosaurs cared for their young.
He discovered his dyslexia while working at Princeton ( 1975-1982 from the ages of 29 to 36). In an interview, he admitted that he was introverted and shy to speak in front of an audience of any size. He struggled through school being considered lazy, dumb, and perhaps even retarded. He discovered his passion for fossil hunting when he found his first dinosaur bone at the age of 8.
Despite his difficulties with reading and writing, Jack won high school science fair prizes because he had enormous enthusiasm for practical science.
John Robert Horner, American Paleontologist
A dinosaur out of context is like a character without a story. Worse than that, the character suffers from amnesia.
4. Carolyn Widney “Carol” Greider
Carol W. Greider (born 15 April 1961 ) is an American molecular biologist. She received Noble Prize in 2009, along with Blackburn and Jack W. Szostak for discovering how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.
Carol was born into a family of scientists ( her dad was a physics professor and her mom was a Ph.D. botanist). During her school years, she used to consider herself ‘stupid’. In an interview, Greider said that her early school days were really difficult. She performed poorly in standardized tests. She was put in remedial spelling classes but that didn’t help her grades either.
It wasn’t until later that she figured out that she was dyslexic and that her trouble with spelling and sounding out words did not mean she was stupid.
Carol W. Greider, American Nobel Laureate Biologist
Learning compensatory skills also played a role in my success as a scientist because one has to intuit many different things that are going on at the same time and apply those to a particular problem. Perhaps my ability to pull more information out of context and put together difficult ideas may have been affected by what I learned to do from dyslexia.
3. Thomas Alva Edison
Thomas Edison (11 February 1847 – 18 October 1931) was a famous American Scientist and Businessman and scientist. Edison with 1093 U.S patents to his name, was considered to be one of the most prolific inventors of his time. He invented the phonograph and the long-lasting light bulb. He also created the world’s first industrial research laboratory.
Thomas wasn’t really that bright in school. He was labeled dumb, lazy, and inattentive by his teachers. Eventually, his mother withdrew Tom from school and began to home-teach him. He was a slow learner, terrible at arithmetic, and had difficulty with speech. Thomas Edison was dyslexic and a troublemaker. This resulted in a lot of behavioral issues. Overcoming his dyslexia, Edison put a concentrated effort towards his interest. He believed in hard work and rooted for it. His determination led him to invent numerous influential gadgets that are still widely used.
Thomas Alva Edison, American Inventor
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
2. Archer John Porter Martin
Archer John Porter Martin (1 March 1910 – 28 July 2002) was a British chemist. He received Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1952 for the development of modern chromatography techniques which helps to separate different compounds in a mixture. Martin is considered to be dyslexic, as he was barely able to read until he was nine.
He went to Bedford School, a middle-of-the-road private school when he was eleven. This is where his interest in making things and in methods of separation by studying fractional distillation originates. As a result, he was able to bag a scholarship for Peterhouse, Cambridge in 1929.
Archer John Porter Martin, British Nobel Laureate Chemist
Much can often be learned by the repetition under different conditions, even if the desired result is not obtained.
1. Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) believed himself to be a dyslexic and admitted that it caused him problems in school. However, he treated it as a super ability rather than a disability and believed that it had helped him think in eleven dimensions.
Considered one of the greatest scientists of all time, this theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author of the Bestseller, A Brief History of Time, also suffered from a slow-progressing form of motor neuron disease. Yet in 2002, he was voted as the 100 Greatest Briton of all times.
Stephen Hawking has thus taught us that although you cannot choose the cards dealt, you can always choose how to play the hand.
Stephen Hawking believed that
“The challenge of dyslexia is something that you can make your own and make it a reason to be a winner in life.”
These are a few of many more examples from the world of science. However, dyslexics have claimed their places in the sun in multiple other areas of intelligence and creativity. Leonardo da Vinci and Piccaso were dyslexic, so is Tom Cruise and so might be multiple other gems the world will be introduced to in the future. Dyslexia is, thus, not the full stop on the road to success, it is merely following a separate route for the same destination.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,