According to most accounts of Sophus Lie, he was the embodiment of an archetypical character in a theatrical drama — with his forceful beard, his sparkling green-blue eyes magnified by the stout lenses of his spectacles — the blonde Nordic prototype, as it was called across Europe — the Germanic gigantic being — a primal force, a titan replete with the lust for life, with audacious goals and an indomitable will. These descriptions of his physical and mental strength also contained a subtext, an embryonic notion, not only about this brilliant man of science, the prophet who intuitively conceived new mathematical truths, but also about the colossus who, in his constant zeal for new knowledge, might push others aside, and inadvertently trample them underfoot. He was described as highly committed and richly innovative, someone with unusual physical strength, and the stamina to overcome the majority of obstacles, but also, a man who afterwards had to pay for this with correspondingly great swings of mood and temperament.
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- Tracking Him Down: A Torrent of Stories
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