Science: Weather as Destiny

Genius has had many odd explanations, but one of the oddest yet was advanced last week by an eminent Chicago pathologist. A onetime University of Illinois Medical School professor, William F. Petersen, offered the theory that an individual's chances of becoming a great man are greatly improved if he is conceived in a period of sunspot turbulence and foul weather. Dr. Petersen published a report called Lincoln-Douglas: The Weather As Destiny (Charles C Thomas, Springfield, Ill.; $3).

Dr. Petersen contrasts tall, gaunt, brooding Abraham Lincoln with short, broad, bustling Stephen Douglas. He points...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!