Unraveling the Mystery of Ed Witten's Early Learning Background

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In summary: His father was a theoretical physicist and he himself showed a strong aptitude for physics from a young age. He also had a passion for learning and was able to absorb and understand complex concepts quickly. Despite not having an undergraduate degree in physics, he was able to convince Princeton to let him enroll in their applied mathematics program before transitioning to a PhD in physics. His early learning background definitely played a role in his success as a genius in the field of physics. In summary, Ed Witten's exceptional intelligence and passion for learning allowed him to excel in the fields of QFT, string theory, and mathematics, despite not having an undergraduate degree in physics.
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its_blitz!
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Ed Witten is the kind of genius other incredibly intelligent theorists and mathematicians will look up to in awe, that's how scarily smart the guy is. He clearly knows his stuff when it comes to QFT, string theory and any related mathematics.

As someone taking graduate courses in QFT and general relativity I can appreciate the sheer amount of stuff to learn. My question is how does someone with an undergraduate degree in history who dropped out of one semester in a graduate economics program just enrol in applied mathematics at Princeton before shifting to a physics phd, and somehow manage to assimilate all this information in such a short period?

I mean ok he's a genius, but even assuming a perfect information absorption rate of absolutely understanding everything you read immediately, you still have to actually *read* the stuff and that's gigantic books worth of material. And he didn't even do undergrad physics? How did he convince Princeton that he would just pick everything up? Did he learn all this in parallel while studying history and prove to them he was up to standard to just jump into a maths phd?

I'm genuinely curious to know what his early learning background is, genius or not everyone has to learn at some stage.
 
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One in a few million people are just like that. It's the deBroglie effect.
 
  • #3
Genes;

"Witten was born in Baltimore, Maryland to a Jewish family, the son of Lorraine W. Witten and Louis Witten, a theoretical physicist specializing in gravitation and general relativity."

From; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Witten
 
  • #4
tyroman said:
Genes;

"Witten was born in Baltimore, Maryland to a Jewish family, the son of Lorraine W. Witten and Louis Witten, a theoretical physicist specializing in gravitation and general relativity."

From; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Witten

Yeah, he has the rare physics gene.
 

Related to Unraveling the Mystery of Ed Witten's Early Learning Background

1. What is Ed Witten's educational background?

Ed Witten received his undergraduate degree in history from Brandeis University and his graduate degree in mathematical physics from Princeton University.

2. How did Ed Witten become interested in theoretical physics?

Ed Witten's interest in theoretical physics began when he read a book on general relativity by Albert Einstein.

3. What is Ed Witten's contribution to theoretical physics?

Ed Witten is known for his work in theoretical physics, particularly in the areas of string theory, quantum gravity, and supersymmetry. He has made significant contributions to our understanding of these complex concepts.

4. Was Ed Witten a child prodigy?

While Ed Witten showed an early interest in science and mathematics, he did not display any signs of being a child prodigy. He excelled academically, but did not skip grades or receive any special recognition for his abilities.

5. How did Ed Witten's early learning background influence his career in science?

Ed Witten's love for learning and his strong foundation in mathematics and physics from a young age helped shape his successful career in theoretical physics. His early education provided him with the necessary skills and knowledge to become a renowned scientist.

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