In the debate over IQ vs. hard work, there's an ongoing discussion about how much perceived talent can be traced back to genetics. For most of the population, the line is blurry. But in some cases, it's very clear that a child is a prodigy.
We've compiled a list of 15 of the most famous child geniuses, some in recent history, and others who influenced our culture centuries ago.
Akrit Jaswal—The seven-year-old surgeon
At seven years old, Akrit Jaswal added “surgeon” to his resume.
Born in 1993, the child surgeon became India’s youngest physician and university student.
The only downfall is that the young intellect knows just how gifted he is, reportedly saying, “People saw my potential and wanted to help me excel in life…I think they're of above average intelligence, but not as clever as me."
Jaswal has an estimated IQ of 146.
Jacob Barnett—The next Nobel Peace Prize winner
At the age of eight, Jacob Barnett began attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).
With an IQ of 170 – higher than Albert Einstein’s – Barnett could be in line for a future Nobel Peace Prize, according to one of the world's leading scientists and the 13-year-old's professor at college.
His mother told the Indianapolis Star that her son tested out of algebra 1 and 2, geometry, trigonometry and calculus after two-weeks of studying on the front porch.
Barnett has not let Aspergers Syndrome, a mild form of autism, slow him down.
Since enrollment, Barnett has been taking advanced astrophysics classes and is working on expanding Einstein’s theory of relativity. He is also working on challenging the Big Bang theory. He delivered a TEDxTeen talk in 2012, "Forget What You Know."
Shakuntala Devi—The “Hindu Mathematical Wizardess”
Born in 1939 in Bangalore, India to a lion tamer father, Shakuntala Devi started her relationship with numbers through card tricks she played with her father at the age of three.
Nicknamed the “Human Computer,” and “Hindu Mathematical Wizardess” Devi demonstrated her mathematics abilities at the University of Mysore and Annamalai University as a child.
Her talent has been mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records several times, such as when she extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number mentally and when she found the cube root of 332,812,557 in seconds.
In 2006, she published “In the Wonderland of Numbers,” a story about a girl fascinated with digits.
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