Despite his limited education, he grew up enthralled by science, math and technology, and he remains the only president to hold a patent. In later life, he discovered the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid, who helped him rethink the way he ordered information in his mind. In the White House, he helped found the National Academy of Sciences and deployed science in every way that he could to win the Civil War. Even when writing his great speeches, he may have been thinking in scientific patterns.
Lincoln’s turn toward science was all the more surprising for his rustic upbringing, far from any library or laboratory. He once recalled that if a straggler came into southern Indiana with a rudimentary knowledge of Greek or Latin, he was looked upon as a “wizzard,” which he spelled with two z’s, as if to prove the point. When schooling was available, Lincoln eagerly seized