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Indiana Boy Genius Diagnosed With Autism Has IQ Higher than Einstein


Boy Genius Diagnosed With Autism Has IQ Higher than Einstein

Kristine Barnett noticed that her little boy Jacob – whom doctors had tagged as autistic – seemed to have a fascination with patterns. So she took him out of his school’s special ed program and let him study the things he’s passionate about. Now Jacob is on his way to winning a Nobel Prize.

Jacob Barnett, who was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism at 2 years old, is now studying for a master’s degree in quantum physics.

Jacob was silent for much of his childhood. But when he started to speak, he was able to communicate in four different languages.

As a child, doctors told Jacob Barnett’s parents that their autistic son would probably never know how to tie his shoes.

But experts say the 14-year-old Indiana prodigy has an IQ higher than Einstein’s and is on the road to winning a Nobel Prize. He’s given TedX talks and is working toward a master’s degree in quantum physics.

The key, according to mom Kristine Barnett, was letting Jacob be himself — by helping him study the world with wide-eyed wonder instead of focusing on a list of things he couldn’t do.

Diagnosed with moderate to severe autism at the age of 2, Jacob spent years in the clutches of a special education system that didn’t understand what he needed. His teachers at school would try to dissuade Kristine from hoping to teach Jacob any more than the most basic skills.

Jacob was struggling with that sort of instruction — withdrawing deeper into himself and refusing to speak with anyone.

But Kristine noticed that when he was not in therapy, Jacob was doing “spectacular things” on his own.

“He would create maps all over our floor using Q-tips. They would be maps of places we’ve visited and he would memorize every street,” Kristine told the BBC.

One day, his mom took him stargazing. A few months later, they visited a planetarium where a professor was giving a lecture. Whenever the teacher asked questions, Jacob’s little hand shot up and he began to answer questions — easily understanding complicated theories about physics and the movement of planets.

Jacob was just 3-1/2 years old.

His mom realized that Jacob might need something that the standard special education curriculum just wasn’t giving him.

So Kristine decided to take on the job herself.

“For a parent, it’s terrifying to fly against the advice of the professionals,” Kristine writes in her memoir, “The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius.” “But I knew in my heart that if Jake stayed in special ed, he would slip away.”

His IQ rounds out to 170 — higher than that of Albert Einstein. He’s been working on his own theory of relativity. Professors at Princeton’s Institute for Advance Study were impressed.

“The theory that he’s working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics,” astrophysics Professor Scott Tremaine wrote to the family in an email.

“Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize.”

Warner Bros. has snatched up movie rights to Jacob’s story. Kristine and her son have embarked on a European book tour, but hope to have some time to rest by July.

“My goal for the summer is just to give him a few weeks off,” Kristine told the Indianapolis Monthly. “The last time he had that was when he came up with the alternative theory to the Big Bang. So who knows what he’ll create?”

SOURCE

For 12-year old Indianapolis astrophysics prodigy, the sky’s the limit

Tue Mar 29, 12:55 pm ET
For 12-year old Indianapolis astrophysics prodigy, the sky’s the limit

By Zachary Roth

In some ways, Jacob Barnett is just like any other 12-year-old kid. He plays Guitar Hero, shoots hoops with his friends, and has a platonic girlfriend.

But in other ways, he’s a little different. Jake, who has an IQ of 170, began solving 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzles at the age of 3, not long after he’d been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism. A few years later, he taught himself calculus, algebra, and geometry in two weeks. By 8, he had left high school, and is currently taking college-level advanced astrophysics classes—while tutoring his older classmates. And he’s being recruited for a paid researcher job by Indiana University.

Now, he’s at work on a theory that challenges the Big Bang—the prevailing explanation among scientists for how the universe came about. It’s not clear how developed it is, but experts say he’s asking the right questions.

The theory that he’s working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics,” Scott Tremaine of Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Studies—where Einstein (pictured) himself worked—wrote in an email to Jake’s family. “Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize.

Here you can watch Jake question some of the key elements of Albert Einstein’s theories on quantum physics:

It’s not clear where Jake got his gifts from. “Whenever I try talking about math with anyone in my family,” he told the Indianapolis Star, “they just stare blankly.”

But his parents encouraged his interests from the start. Once, they took him to the planetarium at Butler University. “We were in the crowd, just sitting, listening to this guy ask the crowd if anyone knew why the moons going around Mars were potato-shaped and not round,” Jake’s mother, Kristine Barnett, told the Star. “Jacob raised his hand and said, ‘Excuse me, but what are the sizes of the moons around Mars?’ ”

After the lecturer answered, said Kristine, “Jacob 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.

That entire building … everyone was just looking at him, like, ‘Who is this 3-year-old?‘”