10 Lesser-Known Facts About Famous People

by Rajarshi Saha3 years ago

6 In 2018, a study focusing on Leonardo da Vinci’s skills to understand depth in his paintings, reported that he might have “strabismus,” also known as “cross-eyes,” which probably helped him develop the special ability to capture a three-dimensional space on a flat canvas.

Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci.

While trying to understand his art, researchers wondered if his cross-eyes helped him in any way with the paintings. In strabismus, commonly known as “cross-eyes,” the information in one eye is often suppressed when both eyes look in different directions. This gives the person a 2-D vision, which could give someone an extra edge in painting.

The research focused on six of his masterpieces which included portraits or self-portraits of the great painter. The goal of the study was to examine his pupils. Though the researchers could not confirm their hypothesis that Leonardo da Vinci had cross-eyes, the evidence strongly supported the theory.

The study results suggested the great artist may have had strabismus, or in common terms “cross- eyes,” a condition in which a person’s eyes look in a different direction at the same time.

Researchers finally concluded that da Vinci’s eye condition may have helped him to develop extraordinary abilities to capture space on the flat canvas. (source)


7 A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein to his sister, which was sold at an auction in 2018, revealed that the famous scientist knew about the threats of Nazi power ten years before they came into power.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein. Image credits: Pumidol/Shutterstock.com

A handwritten letter by the world’s most famous physicist discovered in 2018, revealed that he was aware of the rising, anti-Jew campaign in Germany way before anyone else.

In 1922, when Albert Einstein’s close friend, Walther Rathenau, a Jewish foreign minister, was killed by a right-wing group in Germany, the physicist was forced to disappear. Einstein did that after police informed him that a similar attack was planned against him.

Nobody knew about Einstein when he vanished from Berlin in 1922.  During that period, the famous scientist wrote a letter to his younger sister, Maja, warning her about the thriving anti-Semitic ideas in the country and his concern about rising violence against Jewish people, ten years before Hitler conquered Germany.

According to reports, the letter, without any return address, was possibly written by Einstein when he was hiding in the port city of Kiel before starting his Asia tour.

The prominent scientist ultimately fled from Germany when the Nazis came to power in 1933 and lived in the USA until his death in1955.

The letter by Einstein was sold for $39,350 at an auction in Jerusalem. (source)


8 Nelson Mandela and his political party, the African National Congress, were listed in the United State’s terror list in 1970 by Ronald Regan because of the party’s closeness with Soviet Moscow and to support the apartheid regime of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela. Image credits: Alessia Pierdomenico/Shutterstock.com, SL-Photography/Shutterstock.com

Nelson Mandela, a man who was considered as a beacon of hope and freedom around the globe, was a terrorist in the eyes of the United States of America until 2008, along with his political party, the African National Congress.

In the mid-80s, protests driven by the ANC party, once chaired by Nelson Mandela, were growing in South Africa against the apartheid regime for Mandela’s release from prison. On the other hand, the United States was having a cold war against the Soviet Union. The former US President Ronald Regan wanted to defeat the thriving communism and its influence in the world.

The apartheid regime of South Africa and Regan shared the same visions against the Communist Party, and they both collaborated during the Cold War to suppress Soviet influence in the region.

Sadly, the fear of communism led the Regan administration to back up the apartheid regime’s policies and stopped their much-needed support towards the ANC party, who, according to reports, had a friendly attitude towards the communist regime in Moscow.

Finally, In 1970, the United States followed the regime in South Africa and listed the ANC as a terrorist organization. As the Noble Peace Prize winner was part of the party, he needed special permission from the US State Department to enter the country. (source)


9 Kim Jong-il ordered the kidnapping of South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee and movie director Shin Jeong-gyun in 1978 in order to produce films for him as he wanted international recognition for North Korean movies.

Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il and Choi Eun-hee. Image credits: Russian Presidential Executive Office/Wikimedia, 中央通訊社/Wikimedia

The former Supreme Leader of North Korea is known for taking credit for many things in his life apart from his ruthless dictatorship from claiming himself as the inventor of the hamburger to never needing a bowel movement. But very few people know that one actual thing he did was kidnapping an actress and a director.

According to reports, Kim Jong-un’s father was obsessed with the film world, so much so that he kidnapped South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee and movie director Shin Jeong-gyun in 1978 to make cinemas for him.

The North Korean leader who ruled from 1994-2011 sent his agents to Hong Kong to lure the famous South Korean actress with business offers when she was struggling to find work in the 70s.

She was taken away by few North Korean agents upon her arrival in Hong Kong. After she reached North Korea, Kim-Jong-Il greeted her and thanked her for coming to the country, which was a bit bizarre as she was taken there forcefully.

But, the late Kim still was not satisfied with the North Korean movies, and often used to complain about them. In a desperate attempt to bring North Korean Films on the International platform, abducted Choi’s husband-director, Shin, as well.

Choi, along with her ex-husband, made 17 films during their three years’ stay in North Korea. (source)


10 After Madam Curie’s death in 1934, her radioactive belongings, including her notebooks, were kept inside lead-lined containers at Bibliotheque National in Paris. Those items are still highly radioactive today and will keep emitting radiation for thousands of years.

Marie Curie
Marie Curie. Image credits: Tekniska museet/Flickr

Marie Curie’s illustrious scientific career, with two Nobel Prizes, is an inspiration for millions of women around the globe who want to pursue science. But unfortunately, her greatest achievements became the cause of her death.

The Polish-French physicist was exposed to the radioactive elements radium and polonium for a long time, which she discovered along with her French husband, Pierre Curie, in 1898. Eventually, she died in 1934 because of aplastic anemia caused by the radiation.

After Madam Curie’s demise, her belongings, which included her notebooks, are securely kept inside lead-lined containers at the Bibliotheque National in Paris, as they remain highly radioactive.

The shocking thing is those items will keep emitting radioactive rays for thousands of years because the half-life of radium 266 is around 1,600 years. Visitors need to wear protective suits and sign a waiver form before they can have a glimpse of her books.

Curie’s radioactive body was buried in a lead-lined coffin. (source)

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