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Where are the literary boy geniuses?

March 31, 2011 |  2:34 pm

Time magazine's website profiles Jacob Barnett, an 11-year-old genius, a Doogie Howser without the medical degree, who may be about to disprove Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The kids knows his stuff -- I guess, since I'm a mathematical semi-literate. If you want to see the little know-it-all in action, Time has a video of him teaching calculus II techniques.

I always have the same question when I read one of these stories: Where are the verbal prodigies? A 12-year-old who can disprove relativity is pretty special, but so would be a 12-year-old who wrote a sublime sonnet or the great American novel. Yet you almost never see that sort of wunderkind on TV.

My theory: Producing great literature requires experience and reflection, not just an IQ of 170.

-- Michael McGough


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