“For Jacob Barnett, fun is reciting from memory, the infinite series of numbers known as Pi.” A reporter from 60 minutes described Jacob Barnett, one of our many child prodigies. Child prodigies have always fascinated us in a way. I makes is ask questions like: How can such vast and complex knowledge fit in this little body? Well, Jacob Barnett, or Jake as his family calls him at home, is one of the unexpected child prodigies of our time. Take the time to read his story and be inspired.
Jake Barnett, born on May 26th 1998, is presently an American Physics Student and child prodigy. However, his parents never knew that he was—because at the age of two, Jake was diagnosed with Autism, Asperger Syndrome. Jake’s parents were crushed when they were told he may never talk or read ever again. His parents never gave up and used a special treatment for children with autism called “floortime therapy”, where children are allowed to play or focus on subjects that interested them. Jake showed a remarkable early interest in astronomy and would study books of stars over and over again.
During an outing to a local planetarium, one of the presenters asked the audience why the moons of Mars are odd-shaped like potatoes. The three-year-old Jake simply raised his hand
“Excuse me, but what are the sizes of the moons around mars?”
The lecturer answered and Jake looked at him and said
“The gravity of the planet is so large that [the moon’s] gravity would not be able to pull it into a round shape.”
Silence filled the room. All eyes were on 3-year old Jake. It was clear what everyone was thinking.
“Who is this three year old?”
Jake continued to attend public school, but was soon bored. Jake’s parents took the psychologist’s advice and withdrew him from school and he was allowed to sit-in on astronomy and advanced math classes at Indiana University—Purdue Institute Indianapolis (IUPUI). Jake prepared for proper college schooling, by learning—all by himself—pre-requisite high school math. This includes Algebra, Algebra 2, Geometry, Trigonometry and Calculus. He learned all this by himself in just two weeks! He passed all the test that were needed to exempt him from school. Jake enrolled at the college at the young age of twelve.
The prodigy, Jake, tutors fellow students, normally graduate and post-graduate students. He has healthy discussions with professors and is developing an alternative theory of the Big Bang Theory, his hypothesis being that the Big Bang couldn’t have happened through advanced math. He is also presently a paid researcher in Quantum Physics.
In 2013, Jake was admitted to the Perimeter Scholars International, a one-year non-degree master’s level program at the Perimeter Institute for theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. At the age of 15, he was the youngest student admitted into the program. He completed the program in 2014, and has subsequently been listed as a doctoral student at the Perimeter Institute.
Jake, also wants to help other kids and adults who find mathematics difficult. He believes that math can be learned easily if the subject is presented in a much simpler manner. So he plans to write books on how to simplify math. He has also appeared in TEDxTeens to inspire other kids his age. This amazing guy hopes that one day he will be able to disprove Einstein’s theory of Relativity.
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