What to do with child prodigy: Gabriel See ?

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rhody

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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016447952_gabriel09m.html" [Broken]
When he's not in class, he's working through a stack of books at home; he keeps a list of everything he has read. He's absorbed 52 textbooks on science and math: read the physics lectures of Richard Feynman, and books on robot programming, systems biology, immunobiology, fractals, Latin (a new passion), music theory and the work of Fibonacci, René Descartes, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, among others.

He's studied chaos theory, string theory, quantum mechanics and nuclear science. Along the way, he's also devoured popular fiction and classic literature — Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and most of the works of William Shakespeare ("Not all of them," he notes, modestly).
and
His teachers say Gabriel is capable of digesting and storing information in great gulps, and then making connections with other things he had already learned.

"Everything I threw at him, he just got," said Melissa Nivala, who was a graduate student in the applied math department at the UW in 2007 when she began tutoring Gabriel in graduate-level math. "And he loved it. We would work until I was mentally exhausted. I would tell him, 'OK, we need to stop, because I'm tired of thinking.' "

Nivala would give Gabriel a textbook on a subject — say, chaos theory — and Gabriel would read the book in a few days. He could then answer specific questions and open-ended questions on the subject. He even remembered the exact page number in the book where certain formulas first appeared, Nivala said, hinting at a photographic-like memory.
for good measure
"Maybe nobody will ever stamp his diploma, but he will be doing research that far exceeds what most people can comprehend," Monahan said.

"He'll probably find a cure for cancer," Sleight said. "Or something bigger."
So how would you advise such a gifted, curious, off the charts prodigy ? Two-Fish ? Pythagorean ? others ? Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcKZaPAhioQ"...

Rhody... :confused:
 
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To answer the question, advise him in what? Where to focus on? He is still figuring things out so I wouldn't put him in a box and have him focus on something too specific, rather allow him to grow accustomed to a particular field of interest.

The kid may just find out he is interested in painting and philosophy.

If it is advising him as in helping him with whatever he is interested in, well he'd need someone who is a professional or knows a lot, in the field to help him.

+1 for Latin!
 
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This is real? I don't get it, what biological phenomena allows his such powerful skills at such a young age? Autistic?
 

DaveC426913

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The potential of the human mind terrifies me. Mine isn't wired exactly the same, but we all have brains with the horsepower to do these things. Imagine if that were ever unlocked in people in general. They would view us as we view proto-primates - barely more than animals, stumbling around in a fog of dim pre-consciousness.
 
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This is real? I don't get it, what biological phenomena allows his such powerful skills at such a young age? Autistic?
Rapid development in the brain. Kids at a young age can absorb and learn very quickly and therefore having such a well-developed brain at a young age allows them to understand difficult topics in depth in a wide variety of fields. Like most prodigies, he'll plateau yet will still be very intelligent. Take for instance Terence Tao, a brilliant student yet was probably out competed at some parts of his graduate studies because his intelligence plateaued but clearly his creativity prevailed.
 

mathwonk

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is he your kid, and do you really need advice, or is this just another endless abstract discussion thread?
 

PAllen

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Rapid development in the brain. Kids at a young age can absorb and learn very quickly and therefore having such a well-developed brain at a young age allows them to understand difficult topics in depth in a wide variety of fields. Like most prodigies, he'll plateau yet will still be very intelligent. Take for instance Terence Tao, a brilliant student yet was probably out competed at some parts of his graduate studies because his intelligence plateaued but clearly his creativity prevailed.
Terence Tao got a 760 on the SAT math at 8 (to Gabriel See's 720). In other ways, Gabriel See looks more impressive.
 
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I remember another child prodigy - his name was Ted Kaczynski.

Anybody remember him?
 
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I remember another child prodigy - his name was Ted Kaczynski.

Anybody remember him?
Yea, thanks for the Good Will Hunting excerpt (which I happen to enjoy and is slightly relevant), he's the unabomber.
 
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Terence Tao got a 760 on the SAT math at 8 (to Gabriel See's 720). In other ways, Gabriel See looks more impressive.
I'm not sure if you're trying to refute my point because it hasn't really denied anything I said.
 

PAllen

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I'm not sure if you're trying to refute my point because it hasn't really denied anything I said.
I wasn't intending to refute anything, just add to the discussion. One idea being that Gabriel See is not completely unprecedented - which is related to the point you were making. I added my own opinion that, based on the news story, there were some ways Gabriel See was more impressive. It appears that Gabriel never tried the International Math Olympiad. Maybe he could have beat Tao's record - gold medal the very day he turned 13.
 
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Yea, thanks for the Good Will Hunting excerpt (which I happen to enjoy and is slightly relevant), he's the unabomber.
The point was that often when kids "grow up" too fast, they end up with emotional problems that far outweigh their intellectual gifts (as I learned studying psychology, not from an said excellent movie =p).
 
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Besides Tao, i struggle to think of a prodigy who lived up to the hype.

I mean all great scientists and mathematicians were intelligent as children, but to the extent some of our modern prodigies are made out to be? I doubt it.
 

turbo

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Someone should take this kid out and teach him to fly-fish. Even better, teach him to tie his own flies, too. It's a good idea to engage over-achievers in contemplative exercises, IMO.

Cameras are so cheap these days that it would be easy to give that kid an outlet in photography, and all it takes is an inexpensive Peterson's guide to get a kid started in bird-watching. Even in the city, birds can be plentiful.
 

rhody

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Someone should take this kid out and teach him to fly-fish. Even better, teach him to tie his own flies, too. It's a good idea to engage over-achievers in contemplative exercises, IMO.

Cameras are so cheap these days that it would be easy to give that kid an outlet in photography, and all it takes is an inexpensive Peterson's guide to get a kid started in bird-watching. Even in the city, birds can be plentiful.
I like your idea Turbo, get his mind to enjoy nature in a simple non-analytical way. Since he seems to have a photographic like memory, I like the camera idea combined with bird watching as well.

Perhaps insight into Einstein's brain anatomy may hold a clue, from the "[URL [Broken]
Harvey noticed immediately that Einstein had no parietal operculum in either hemisphere. Photographs of the brain show an enlarged Sylvian fissure; clearly Einstein's brain grew in an interesting way. In 1999, further analysis by a team at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada revealed that his parietal operculum region in the inferior frontal gyrus in the frontal lobe of the brain was vacant. Also absent was part of a bordering region called the lateral sulcus (Sylvian fissure). Researchers at McMaster University speculated that the vacancy may have enabled neurons in this part of his brain to communicate better. "This unusual brain anatomy...(missing part of the Sylvian fissure)... may explain why Einstein thought the way he did," said Professor Sandra Witelson who led the research published in The Lancet. This study was based on photographs of Einstein's brain made in 1955 by Dr. Harvey, and not direct examination of the brain. Einstein himself claimed that he thought visually rather than verbally.
Rhody...
 
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MathematicalPhysicist

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A cursory knowledge is nice and all, but if he can't really contriubte something meaningful to the subjects he learned it will fade away.

I can compare to people like myself who know the syntax of some programming languages, but didn't do a lot of long programming projects.

We can't spread our attention to a lot of stuff simply because time is limited and we should have preferences to take into account.

I don't believe someone can really understand string theory, chaos theory and quantum mechanics at 13, unless he's connected all day to the chair, and that's a good recipe for quick burnout.
 

turbo

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A cursory knowledge is nice and all, but if he can't really contriubte something meaningful to the subjects he learned it will fade away.

I can compare to people like myself who know the syntax of some programming languages, but didn't do a lot of long programming projects.
I concur. When I was writing dB-based application programs for small businesses, I ended up thinking in that structure/language at times when I should have been kicking back, mentally. I had to get out.

I mentioned photography and bird-watching earlier, because they are a couple of the hobbies that have given me a lot of fun and could chill me out when I was wound-up for some reason.

Fly-fishing is for the hard-core stress addicts! Go to a gently flowing shallow river or stream in the late afternoon and try to land a well-tied fly in the path of a big brown trout, with no discernible drag or wake (real insects aren't followed by wake-boarders!), and when that guy takes the fly, try to make sure that the hook is firmly set, guide the fish to your net (or hands), remove the hook and let the fish go. That is all such fun that the trials of the day are no more.
 
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His personality traits are important, I think. I think everybody, not just prodigies, should be in a social environment that fits their personality. Not everybody can adapt easily. I know quite a few brilliant people, who largely because of their environment, didn't live up to their potential.

Also, the kid isn't some kind of machine. I'm not saying any of you definitely think of him as such but if it so happens that he loves writing fiction, who are we to say he should focus on doing hard math instead of that? Sure, it would be cool but I think one being happy with one's own self is more important. As far as I'm concerned, one gets to live once - might as well try make it a happy existence.
 

DaveC426913

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Fly-fishing is for the hard-core stress addicts! Go to a gently flowing shallow river or stream in the late afternoon and try to land a well-tied fly in the path of a big brown trout, with no discernible drag or wake (real insects aren't followed by wake-boarders!), and when that guy takes the fly, try to make sure that the hook is firmly set, guide the fish to your net (or hands), remove the hook and let the fish go. That is all such fun that the trials of the day are no more.
My bro told me yesterday he would give up everything to fly fish full-time.

He's going to go out this weekend.
 
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After reading that,:

[1] I hate myself for wasting my childhood on video games :cry:
[2] I'm going to print this out so when my kid grows up and there's no t.v. in the house but just books, he'll shut the f*** up and study!!
[3] I'm devoting the rest of my undergrad life to studying :mad:
 

mathwonk

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this is not a real discussion. i vote to close.

(i spent the spring and summer teaching math to a class of 28 super talented kids 8-10 years old, some of whom knew calculus. They were able to work algebra problems involving quadratic and cubic equations from euler's algebra book. There is nothing wrong with them, they are just smarter than the rest of us and more motivated. they were delightful kids.)
 
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this is not a real discussion. i vote to close.

(i spent the spring and summer teaching math to a class of 28 super talented kids 8-10 years old, some of whom knew calculus. They were able to work algebra problems involving quadratic and cubic equations from euler's algebra book. There is nothing wrong with them, they are just smarter than the rest of us and more motivated. they were delightful kids.)
You want a discussion? This kid using internet resources and textbooks has been able to teach himself, and learn more than what's going on the classroom. What does tell you about the current education structure?
 

DaveC426913

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You want a discussion? This kid using internet resources and textbooks has been able to teach himself, and learn more than what's going on the classroom. What does tell you about the current education structure?
Nothing.

One does not a statistic make. And twice as much if the one is an outlier.
 

mathwonk

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this discussion would only interest me if it were the kid or his parents asking for advice. this is just gossiping wannabees. this is an academic advice thread, but no one is asking for advice, just giving it unasked. so this is an inappropriate thread.
 

DaveC426913

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this discussion would only interest me if it were the kid or his parents asking for advice. this is just gossiping wannabees.
One wonders why you keep checking in - to tell us how uninterested you are.

mathwonk: unsub button. Unsub button: mathwonk. Pleased ta meetcha. :wink:
 

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