Theodore John Kaczynski was born on May 22, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, to working-class parents Wanda Theresa (née Dombek) and Theodore Richard Kaczynski, a sausage maker.

In 1952, three years after David was born, the family moved to suburban Evergreen Park.

Kaczynski skipped the eleventh grade, and by attending summer school he graduated at age 15. Kaczynski was one of his school's five National Merit finalists and was encouraged to apply to Harvard.

Kaczynski was encouraged to apply to Harvard. He entered Harvard on a scholarship in 1958 at age 16.

In 1967, Kaczynski's dissertation "Boundary Functions" won the Sumner B. Myers Prize for Michigan's best mathematics dissertation of the year. Allen Shields, his doctoral advisor, called it "the best I have ever directed".

In late 1967, the 25-year-old Kaczynski became an acting assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught mathematics.

After resigning from Berkeley, Kaczynski moved to his parents' home in Lombard, Illinois. Two years later, in 1971, he moved to a remote cabin he had built outside Lincoln, Montana, where he could live a simple life with little money and without electricity or running water, working odd jobs and receiving significant financial support from his family.

Starting in 1975, Kaczynski performed acts of sabotage including arson and booby trapping against developments near to his cabin. He also dedicated himself to reading about sociology and political philosophy, including the works of Jacques Ellul.

Kaczynski's first mail bomb was directed at Buckley Crist, a professor of materials engineering at Northwestern University.

On May 25, 1978, a package bearing Crist's return address was found in a parking lot at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The package was "returned" to Crist, who was suspicious because he had not sent it, so he contacted campus police. Officer Terry Marker opened the package, which exploded and caused minor injuries

In late 1985, a nail-and-splinter-loaded bomb placed in the parking lot of his store in Sacramento, California, killed 38-year-old computer store owner Hugh Scrutton.

In 1993, after a six-year break, Kaczynski mailed a bomb to the home of Charles Epstein from the University of California, San Francisco. Epstein lost several fingers upon opening the package.

In 1994, Burson-Marsteller executive Thomas Mosser was killed after opening a mail bomb sent to his home in New Jersey. In a letter to The New York Times, Kaczynski wrote he had sent the bomb because of Mosser's work repairing the public image of Exxon after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

On April 3, 1996, Kaczynski was arrested and combed cabin by investigators. Investigators found a wealth of bomb components; 40,000 handwritten journal pages that included bomb-making experiments and descriptions of Unabomber crimes; and one live bomb, ready for mailing.

FBI agents arrested an unkempt Kaczynski at his cabin on April 3, 1996.

Kaczynski attended Evergreen Park Community High School, where he excelled academically. After testing scored his IQ at 167.

In 2006, Judge Garland Ellis Burrell ordered that items from Kaczynski's cabin be sold at a "reasonably advertised Internet auction"

On January 21, 1998, Kaczynski was declared competent to stand trial by federal prison psychiatrist Johnson, "despite the psychiatric diagnoses".

Kaczynski avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty to all charges on January 22, 1998, and accepting life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He later tried to withdraw this plea, arguing it was involuntary as he had been coerced to plead guilty by the judge.

Ted K is a 2021 American historical crime drama written, directed, produced, and edited by Tony Stone. It stars Sharlto Copley as domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber. The film depicts the events leading to his arrest.