The Quantum Pontiff

Young Chemist?

Here is the story of a seven year old (supposed) prodigy whose parents are looking for a university which will enroll him. I always find it interesting in these stories that such an emphasis is put on degrees and tests. It also reminds me of my high school math teacher who told us he could teach his six year old son to do calculus.


  1. #1 Jonathan Vos Post
    November 12, 2007

    California State University at Los Angeles has a wonderful program for prodigies called EEP (Early Entrance Program). It’s technically run out of the Psychology Department, has had students as young as 8, and works very hard at making sure that they fit in socially and emotionally, and can choose to hang out with each other or to mix in with older students.

    I had mixed feelings about starting university early. I was offered a scholarship at City College of New York (now City University of New York) to skip my senior year of high school and start college at 15, but my parents wouldn’t allow this. In retrospect, they were clearly right. I was intellectually ready when I came to Caltech at age 16, but not emotionally. Changed majors several times. Took me 5 years to graduate, with a double degree oddly similar to The Quantum Pontiff’s (i.e. a mixed state including English Literature).

    My son, on the other hand, passed his college entrance exams at age 12. We made him finish 8th grade (as Valedictorian and Student Body President) before completely skipping high school and going to university at 13. The EEP program was very good for him, and he for it (as the elected President of the EEP Club). University is not a sprint. He slowed down a bit, taking 5 years instead of 4, but getting 2 B.S. degrees in that time (Math and Computer Science). He’s now, aged eighteen, at a top-10 Law School, interested in Intellectual Property. The EEP site gives some interesting press releases about their success stories.

    So I’m obviously not the smart one in my family. My wife, as a Physics professor and science fiction author, outranks me. My son is on a faster track than me, and a nicer person. Fortunately, I’m not at the bottom of the hierarchy. I’m smarter than our dog. How do I know? because I can beat her 2 out of 3 at Chess.

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