One definition of a child genius is a child who at the age of ten years is as skillful as an adult professional. Another definition is that a child genius is someone who at an age less than eighteen years is extraordinarily skillful and can perform at the level of a highly trained adult professional, in challenging conditions. Lewis Terman, the American psychologist, known for developing the IQ test, defined a genius as someone who could score 140 or higher. Research studies, however, conclude that an extremely high IQ is not a prerequisite for a child genius. Eight child geniuses during a study scored between 108 and 147 on the Stanford-Binet IQ test. It has been noted that the child geniuses share some common traits and they include expanded working memory, detail orientation, obsessive interest, avoiding trodden paths and exploring new and unique venues. Another notable factor is that the gifted children need to be nurtured, failing which many child geniuses remain in darkness and never come into prominence.
1. Arfa Abdul Karim Randhawa
Arfa Abdul Karim Randhawa was born to Samina Karim and Lieutenant Colonel Amjad Karim Randhawa, in a small village, Chak No. 4JB Ram Dewali in the suburbs of Faisalabad, Punjab Province of Pakistan. She was born on February 2, 1995 and died at the young age of only 19 years on January 14, 2012. She was an IT genius child and was the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional in the world, at the age of nine years. She was invited by Bill Gates to visit the Microsoft Headquarters in the USA. During her meeting, ten-year-old Arfa asked Bill Gates why the company did not hire the people of her age. Following a heart attack on December 22, 2011, she was admitted to CMH, Lahore. Bill Gates contacted her parents as well as her doctors asking them to adopt ‘… every kind of measure…’ for her treatment. Gates set up a special panel of international doctors for her, however, she could not survive. She was the youngest recipient of the Pakistani President’s Award for Pride of Performance.
2. Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss was born on ‘Wednesday, eight days before the Feast of the Ascension in 1777’ according to his mother, and this translates into April 30, 1777. He was born at Braunschweig, Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbutte in Holy Roman Empire. Gauss died on February 23, 1855 at Gottingen, Kingdom of Hanover. He corrected an arithmetical error of his father at the age of three and amazed his primary school teacher by solving a problem in no time, which the teacher considered would keep the pupils busy for the rest of the day. His famous contributions include Disquisitiones Arithmeticae, Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, Cauchy Integral theorem, Principle of Conservation of Energy, Theoria motus corporum celestium (theory of motion of the celestial bodies), the discovery of Ceres, the Gaussian gravitational constant and Method of Least Squares. He said ‘Mathematics is the queen of the sciences and number theory is the queen of mathematics’
3. Kim Ung-Yong
Kim Ung-Yong was born on March 7, 1963 at Hongje-dong, Seoul, South Korea. According to his father Kim Soo-Sun, Yong started speaking at the age of six months and was able to read Japanese, Korean, German, English by the age of three years, and he had memorized more than 2000 English and German words by then. He was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under Highest IQ with an IQ of 210. He is a civil engineer and has also served as adjunct faculty at Chungbuk National University.
4. Ludwig van Beethoven
The exact date of birth of Ludwig van Beethoven is not known but he was baptized on December 17, 1770 and died on March 26, 1827. He was a child genius and learnt playing piano and organ at the age of three years. He gave his first public performance at Cologne, when six years old. When he was still not twelve years old, he published his work 9 Variations in C Minor for piano. Christian Neefe, the great composer and teacher, wrote in 1783 in the Magazine of Music ‘If he continues like this, he will be, without a doubt, the new Mozart’. Beethoven was one of the most famous and influential all-time composers.
5. Pablo Ruiz y Picasso
Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, better known as Pablo Picasso, was born to Don JosÃƒ© Ruiz y Blasco and MarÃƒa Picasso y Lopez on October 25, 1881 in Malanga, Spain and died on April 8, 1973 at the age of 91 years in Mougins, France. He was a child genius as he demonstrated extraordinary painting skills at an early age. He was one of the most famous and influential painters and sculptors of the twentieth century. He is known for confounding cubist movement. Picasso believed that the art paves the way to the truth. He said ‘art is a lie that makes us realize the truth’.
6. Saul Aaron Kripke
Saul Aaron Kripke was born to Myer Samuel and Dorothy Evelyn on November 13, 1940. He was a self taught child genius. He had read all the works of Shakespeare by the age of nine. He had also studied Descartes without any teacher’s help. He achieved an extraordinary proficiency in solving complex problems in geometry, algebra and calculus. He wrote and published his completeness theorem in modal logic at the age of eighteen years. He has taught at Harvard University, Rockefeller’s University, and the Princeton University. He has been honored by a number of universities all over the world.
7. Srinivasa Ramanujan FRS
Srinivasa Ramanujan FRS was born on December 22, 1887 in Erode, Madras Residency in British India and died on April 26, 1920 at the age of 32 years, at Chetput, Madras Residency in British India. He was a child genius and demonstrated his extraordinary capability in mathematics. He mastered S.L. Loney’s advanced trigonometry by the age of twelve years. At this age, he also discovered his own theorems and rediscovered Euler’s Identity. He made valuable contributions to number theory, mathematical analysis, infinite series and continued fractions. The famous English mathematician G.H. Hardy recognized him as a natural genius.
8. Terrence Tao
Terrence Tao was born to Billy Tao and Grace Tao on July 17, 1975. He is a child genius and according to Smithsonian Online Magazine, he could perform basic mathematics at the age of two years. He demonstrated extraordinary capability in mathematics at an early age. He attended university level mathematics at the age of only nine years. He is the youngest winner of all three, bronze, silver and gold, medals in the Olympiad’s history. He won the gold medal at the age of 15. He received his Masters degree from Flinders University at the age of 16 years. He was the finalist Australian of the Year in 2007.
9. William James Sidis
William James Sidis was born to Boris Sidis and Sarah Mandelbaum Sidis, on April 1, 1898 in New York City and died on July 17, 1944 at the age of 46 years in Boston, U.S. He was an American child genius and his IQ was rated as the highest ever, falling between 250 and 300 during different stages of his life. He could read the New York Times at the age of 18 months. He created a language called Vendergood, and wrote a book, titled Book of Vendergood, at the age of eight years.
10. Shirley Temple
Shirley Jane Temple was born to George Francis Temple and Gertrude Amelia Krieger, on April 23, 1928 in Santa Monia, California, U.S. She was a child genius and demonstrated extraordinary mastery at acting and tap dancing, at the age of five years. In 1936, Time Magazine described her as child genius. She was the most popular child actress during the Great Depression. Her performance of the song On a Good Ship Lollipop won her a special Oscar. She ranks No.18 on the American Film Institute’s List of the greatest female American screen legends of all time. She is also the recipient of Kennedy Center Honors and Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
Wisdom is an all in one blessing and a genius child is comparatively more gifted in this respect. It is not the brain size that matters; it is rather, how and how much of it has been utilized. Einstein’s brain was removed and preserved. It is currently present at various locations in the form of preserved pieces. Scientist found that his brain was of normal size and weight 1200 grams but had more glial brain cells and some portions of his brain were thinner but richer in neurons. It is the convergence of thoughts onto the focused confines that creates the charisma of a genius. Einstein said ‘The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits’.