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Newest child prodigy

Dailymail? Seriously bbw?
I went to that link and probably got enough dosage of supermarket tabloid for the next 5 years within my first 10 seconds there.

No, of course not seriously. The story is tripe. Only interesting in the "gee, whiz" approach to (supposed) genius. Whoever learnt algebra+trig+calculus in a week?
 
You, sir, have clearly never taken a Baruch MFE "refresher" seminar... :p

He's supposed to have taught himself all this in a week at the age of 12 -- not attending some crash course. Though even in crash courses I wonder how much really sticks, how deep the understanding and developed the skill is. After a brief while these "prodigies" sink back into well-deserved obscurity.
 
Schadenfreude would be where, say, they had genuine ability and then couldn't actualise it. But in these cases they are just media-created "geniuses," with little inherent talent, who promptly fade from view when there is something else to distract the public with. So there's no misfortune to feel schadenfreude about.
 
Schadenfreude would be where, say, they had genuine ability and then couldn't actualise it.

You drop the controversially vague term "genuine ability" and imply this kid doesn't have it. I think many would claim this kid does have some kind of ability, even if integration by parts is nothing mysterious to anyone here. The article does say he's a PhD candidate at IU, right? My impression is that's a fairly strong school in applied math.

But in these cases they are just media-created "geniuses," with little inherent talent, who promptly fade from view when there is something else to distract the public with.
I find it difficult to claim that a twelve-year-old autistic kid "deserves" anything (good or bad) that happens to him. Not to get philosophical or anything. "Deserve" is an emotionally loaded term, especially in the context of watching someone fall from fame, and even though you are now applying it to the kid's relationship to the media, your first statement made it sound like it applied only to poor little Jake.

If the only thing you're really jabbing at here is media sensation, then we have nothing to argue about. At best he's just another prodigy, at worst it's...what did you say?...bollocks.
 
If the only thing you're really jabbing at here is media sensation, then we have nothing to argue about. At best he's just another prodigy, at worst it's...what did you say?...bollocks.

Well, to give context, an example of a genuine prodigy was Ruth Lawrence, who earnt a double first (math, physics) from Oxford when she was 14, and then want on to complete a doctorate two or three years later with Atiyah as supervisor. Yet even in her case there has been no subsequent work at or near the Fields Medal level. She went on to become an associate prof at Michigan, which she then left to take an untenured position in Israel.

I don't know much about this particular "prodigy"; what I take exception to is the media's pandering to a scientifically illiterate population's incessant search for vicarious thrill. And doing so with deliberate lies and misrepresentation. I've nothing against the young feller and he has no doubt some aptitude. But the idea of a "new theory of relativity" is absurd on its face, as is the claim that he learnt all of school math in the space of a week. And citing a phenomenal IQ -- that takes the cake. Of course this may be sour grapes as mine is only 60.
 
What exactly do we mean by prodigy anyway?

You certainly need a minimum level of fluid intelligence to grash higher level math concepts. One Harvard study (Or was it stanford?) claimed, as I remembered it, that you only need an IQ of about 101 to get through an undergrad mathematics program. If you're exposed to these concepts at a much eariler age, however, and spent close to a decade of your early life dwelling over it, by the time you hit 21, then I certainly believe you'll be much more versed on the topic then say a 35 year old who hasn't spent as much time on the it.

It's claimed that Einstein's IQ was about 160, or even 180, but the guy has never taken a single IQ test. One thing we do know about him is that he "mastered" (in his own word) differential and integral calculus by age 15. Now, are we going to say you need a radically high IQ to start learning calculus, or any other advanced topics, at that age?

A bit off topic but one reason I believe we don't see more people who have deep interests in math starting out at a much eariler age is simply because of public schooling. Could you imagine if the car industry was a government monopoly?
 
What exactly do we mean by prodigy anyway?

Someone like Ruth Lawrence. Or Gauss. Or Kasparov and Bobby Fischer (in chess). People who exhibited extraordinary ability at a tender age (and had parents/guardians who recognised and nurtured that talent).

It's claimed that Einstein's IQ was about 160, or even 180, but the guy has never taken a single IQ test. One thing we do know about him is that he "mastered" (in his own word) differential and integral calculus by age 15. Now, are we going to say you need a radically high IQ to start learning calculus, or any other advanced topics, at that age?

That connection is made. And people like Einstein, Kant, Riemann are retrospectively assigned stratospheric IQs to justify the whole idea of intelligence testing. Feynman's score of 126 is an embarrassment not to Feynman but to the IQ industry. I like what Hawking says:

I have no idea [what my IQ is]. People who boast about their IQ are losers.

A bit off topic but one reason I believe we don't see more people who have deep interests in math starting out at a much eariler age is simply because of public schooling. Could you imagine if the car industry was a government monopoly?

D'accord. Public schooling in the US is not designed for the upper 20%. The lack of attention, resources, and encouragement to what should be the intellectual elite produces, well, look around you .... American public schooling is stupefying, makes talented people less so, wastes years upon years of the most important phase of their lives.
 
I learned calculus at age 14... is that too old to be put in a newspaper... :(

In all these popular accounts ("He had an IQ of 8500 and learnt calculus while still in nappies"), they never specify how much calculus. Did he learn merely to mechanically differentiate a polynomial function? Or did he understand the differentiation and integration of transcendental functions like e, ln, sin, and cos? Could he integrate by parts, by substitution, by trig substitution, by reduction of order? Could he partially differentiate and multiply integrate? Did he understand the various convergence tests for power series? Could he solve simple ODEs? Did he understand div, curl, grad?
 
In all these popular accounts ("He had an IQ of 8500 and learnt calculus while still in nappies"), they never specify how much calculus. Did he learn merely to mechanically differentiate a polynomial function? Or did he understand the differentiation and integration of transcendental functions like e, ln, sin, and cos? Could he integrate by parts, by substitution, by trig substitution, by reduction of order? Could he partially differentiate and multiply integrate? Did he understand the various convergence tests for power series? Could he solve simple ODEs? Did he understand div, curl, grad?
I only learnt div, curl, and gradient at age 15. :(
 
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