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I know from this question:

Should history of physics questions be on topic?

that questions about the history of Physics are considered on-topic, but what about questions about the character or personality of famous Physicists?

For example, I am curious as to how Einstein would have responded to flattery or compliments. Say, if someone had said to him at a conference: "Wow, you are the greatest mind that has ever lived!", how he would have responded. Would a question like that be on-topic?

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  • $\begingroup$ I think that many such questions would be opinion-based. $\endgroup$ – user191954 Oct 28 '18 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Chair perhaps, although I would think such answers might be substantiated by a reference to a biography, news clippings, or even personal anecdotes. $\endgroup$ – Time4Tea Oct 28 '18 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ In such cases, answers would be extrapolating existing information, and I wouldn't classify that as physical reasoning, so it'd probably be off-topic. It'd be nice if someone with stronger opinions about the matter and a better awareness of site policies wrote an answer here just to clarify though. My 2 cents is that I'd probably VtC such questions because, I'm sorry, I don't really understand the usefulness of such questions and I wouldn't like to see a large number of them appearing. (my upvote here indicates I'd like to see this discussed, though I support closing the questions). $\endgroup$ – user191954 Oct 28 '18 at 18:14
  • $\begingroup$ Some of them might be more relevant on HSM SE or Skeptics SE. However, I don't think your example question will be suitable for either of those sites. You'll need to frame it differently. $\endgroup$ – S.D. Oct 28 '18 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ It is ontopic on the HSM if they are historical. The HSM is friendly and inclusive. If they are living people, it is better to ignore the whole topic et al on obvious reasons. $\endgroup$ – peterh says reinstate Monica Nov 11 '18 at 5:07
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No, they're not. We don't consider those questions to be about physics, so they would be off topic here.

Incidentally, it's a bit of a mischaracterization to say that history of physics questions are on topic. What the answer to the linked question actually says is that those questions are on topic only when they're relevant to our modern understanding of physics. A question about the personal attributes of a physicist, even if you do consider it to be a history of physics question, does not meet that criterion.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ok, thanks for clarifying. $\endgroup$ – Time4Tea Oct 29 '18 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ No problem. Thanks for asking :) $\endgroup$ – David Z Oct 29 '18 at 1:24

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