Professor And Activist: Theodore Kaczynski

Theodore Kaczynski was born on May 22, 1942, in Chicago, United States. He was an American math professor, former academician, and activist infamous for carrying out a series of bomb attacks. His parents, originally Catholics of Polish origin, later became atheists and married on April 11, 1939. Theodore, commonly known as Ted, began his primary education in Chicago. In 1955, at the age of 10, he moved to Illinois. It was revealed through an intelligence test that Ted had an exceptionally high IQ of 167. Despite being described as smart, solitary, and silent by his neighbors, he successfully completed 5th grade.

Ted Kaczynski graduated from high school at the young age of 15, and his high school friends noted that “Everyone looked at Ted as a walking brain.” He went on to pass the 11th grade and graduate from high school. Following his graduation, Ted enrolled at Harvard University at the age of 16. His school friends marveled at the fact that he was sent to Harvard before even obtaining a driver’s license. In 1962, at the age of 20, Ted Kaczynski graduated from Harvard.

Subsequently, in 1962, Ted continued his education at the University of Michigan, where he earned both his master’s degree and doctorate in 1964 and 1967, respectively. His outstanding mathematics thesis at Michigan earned him the prestigious Sumner B. Myers Award in 1967. Ted Kaczynski became the youngest math professor at the University of California. However, in June 1969, he abruptly resigned from his position.

In 1971, Ted constructed a shack in Montana, Lincoln, and opted for a life in solitude. During this period, he acquired survival skills such as hunting, identifying edible plants, organic farming, and other primitive technologies. His decision to retreat into nature stemmed from his belief that peaceful coexistence was impossible due to the destruction of wild lands by corporations.

Between 1978 and 1995, Ted Kaczynski sent 16 handmade bombs, resulting in the death of three people and injuries to 23 others. He dubbed his bombings as the work of the “Freedom Club” (FC). Notably, in 1979, a bomb intended for an American Airlines Flight failed to detonate due to a faulty timing mechanism, potentially averting a catastrophic incident.

In 1995, Kaczynski wrote letters to various media outlets, expressing his goals and promising to cease his acts of terrorism if his 35,000-word article, “Industrial Society and Its Future” (also known as the Manifesto), was published verbatim by a major newspaper. The Washington Post published the manifesto on September 19, 1995.

Ted’s brother, David, recognized similarities in language between the Manifesto and Ted’s other writings, prompting him to alert the FBI. Linguistic analysis confirmed the connection, forming the basis for a search warrant signed by Terry Turchie, the head of the investigation. Kaczynski was arrested on April 3, 1996.

In April 1996, Kaczynski was indicted on 10 counts related to the unlawful transportation, mailing, and use of bombs, as well as three counts of murder. Despite attempts by his lawyers to pursue an insanity defense to avoid the death penalty, Ted rejected this strategy. He pleaded guilty on January 22, 1998, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

On June 10, 2023, Ted Kaczynski was found dead in his prison cell. His attempt to warn people about the devastating consequences of the Industrial Revolution, as outlined in his Manifesto, remains a controversial aspect of his legacy.

Yusuf Bera Sarıhan

Yusuf Bera Sarıhan

About Author

Hello I am Yusuf Bera and I am editor of history. I am 16 years old. I am interested in history. I like reading books. I love Ottoman Empire and my favorite sultan is II. Abdülhamid.

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