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Math Prodigy

  1. Yes, some kids are just talented.

    5 vote(s)
  2. No, they are learned habits.

    1 vote(s)
  3. Undecided.

    3 vote(s)
  1. May 15, 2008 #1
    Is there really such a thing?

    Are there really people who can "just do" math when they are very young? Or is it a learned talent passed down to them by a great teacher?

    I'm sure you've heard of 8 year old kids who can work out partial differential equations. But is it because they are born with an innate ability that lets them digest math? Or were they trained rigorously by a very motivating teacher?

    I mean how do these kids even hear about these advanced math topics. It would have to come from a parent or some expert in the field, which would no doubt press the child from an early age to go beyond the school's cirriculum. And a young mind can easily absorb a lot of information at once, so why not a language called math.

    These pupils wouldn't be able to shine just by knowing addition in gradeschool, so I imagine someone is pushing them ahead.

    Use yourself as an example. If you had a father who was a mathemetician, and he gave you a lot of algebra as a toddler you'd no doubt seem as a genius to your peers. Would you have been able to grasp it? Or are prodigies the only ones?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2008 #2
    I do think that some people are just 'born' with an ability to understand and apply advanced mathematics, if they are pushed in the right directions they can learn vast amounts of mathematics at an early age. Just look at Terry Tao. He was doing advanced mathematics at a very early age.

    There are, however, also people who aren't 'born' with this gift but still are able to learn mathematics way above the level of their peers. This is just hard work on their side.
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