(1) Albert Einstein vs. (16) Edward McSweegan
(1) Albert Einstein
Does the man even need an introduction? Nobel Prize winner. Relativity theorizer. Brownian motion explainer. Legitimizer of crazy-haired thinkers everywhere. Frequent mental_floss cover boy. It's tough to think of a 20th century physics breakthrough that doesn't have Einstein's fingerprints on it. He's earned his #1 seed in this tournament.
(16) Edward McSweegan
McSweegan, who defeated Paris Hilton in our play-in game, is not as famous as some our other nominees, but he's certainly some sort of genius. According to McSweegan, a former vaccine scientist for the National Institutes of Health, he went to work from 1996 to 2003 without ever doing any work. At all. McSweegan told the Washington Post that he went to the NIH office but never did anything work-related. He allegedly received a salary of about $100K a year despite never having a single job responsibility. McSweegan sat at his desk and wrote two novels and would take breaks to go to a nearby health club, all while getting paid. Now that's a genius!
Einstein showed us the relationship between an object's mass and its energy. McSweegan showed us that getting paid doesn't necessarily require doing your job. Einstein won a Nobel Prize, but he had to work for it. McSweegan got paid for seven years of doing nothing. Sure, he eventually opened his mouth and blew the sweet deal, but what's tougher: explaining capillary action like Einstein did or explaining how you've been skating by without lifting a finger for seven years?
[See the whole bracket here.]