He was the hidden Czech genius behind key European discoveries, inventions, and musical and literary masterpieces, forgotten merely because he never made it to the patent office on time.
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He served as a consultant to Einstein, Chekhov, Eiffel and Johann Strauss. He was beloved by his countrymen, and still is, judging by the flood of nominations he received when a contest to choose the greatest Czech in history kicked off on television in January.
But the belated triumph of Jara Cimrman (pronounced YAH-ra TSI-mer-mahn), Czech hero, was not to be.
The network running the contest has thrown out his nomination because of what most Czechs would consider to be a petty detail: Jara Cimrman is a fiction. He was an ingenious, well, loser, who never existed, except in theater and film.
From the Herald Tribune »