Mental Floss

(1) Leonardo Da Vinci vs. (8) Sigmund Freud

Tournament of Genius

(1) Leonardo Da Vinci

Even if he hadn't diversified his brain so thoroughly, Leonardo might still be on this list for his achievements in any single field. His Mona Lisa and Last Supper make him a titan among artists. His engineering plans for flying machines and bridges show his technical mind was ahead of his time. His journals full of scientific observations show a keen grasp of everything from architecture to botany. Nobody wants to draw this #1 seed.

(8) Sigmund Freud

Freud requires very little introduction, as his creation of the psychoanalytic wing of psychology has made him a household name. Freud divided our psyches into egos, superegos, and ids; advocated cocaine use for, among other things, indigestion; studied cerebral palsy; and made us all feel just a little bit weird about our relationships with our mothers. Finally, his notion of the Freudian slip gave us all a get-out-of-jail-free card for our occasional verbal lapses. Thanks, Sigmund.

The Breakdown

After fending off a hard charge by Burt Reynolds, Leonardo's made it into the second round. The competition doesn't get much easier here, though, as Freud's a titan in his own right. Plus, these two have a backstory; Freud wrote a book-length psychoanalysis called Leonardo da Vinci, a Memory of His Childhood. You're not going to believe the conclusions Freud came to: that Leonardo's works manifest both passive homosexual fantasies and an interest in his mother's nipples. Although they lived nearly 350 years apart, we're guessing that analysis might not have pleased Leonardo all that much. Let's settle any possible disputes for them. Who's the bigger genius?


[See the whole bracket here.]