Someone was asking me today on how a non-math person could get some source for fleshing out the character, and find a departure points for putting some wierdness in. The Mactutor biographies make very entertaining reading. Math history is fascinating, its worth taking a course on and the math is usualy not too difficult. It reads like a secret history of civilization. Some of my favorite colorful mathmaticians, chronologically:
Hypatia of Alexandria, murdered by a christian mob
Omar Khayyam. Yes, THAT Omar Khayyam.
The renaissance feud between Girolamo Cardano (the Ars Magna) and self taught Nicolo Tartaglia.
Isaac Newton was an alchemist. He considered his religious writings more important than his famous Principia.
The passionate frenchwoman, Gabrielle Emilie du Chalet, mistress of Voltaire.
Evariste Galois, the young romantic, whose put his theories into a letter the night before he was killed in a duel. He was probably the stalky sort.
Janos Bolyai, who found the way to non-euclidean geometries that nearly drove his father mad.
Caroline Hershel, the celebrated maid, dwarfed by a childhood illness
Georg Cantor, plagued by mental illness and infinity
Srinivasa Ramanujan, a story which is downright operatic
John Nash (A Beautiful Mind) lived with schizophrenia
Grigory Perelman, the russian recluse that turned down the prize for solving one of the Millenium Problems, rumored to live on a diet of yogurt and black rye bread
Ted Kazinsky, the Unabomber