he video: Jacob Barnett, boy genius, is the internet's latest viral video sensation. Jacob, 12, who was diagnosed with mild autism at age 2, is a math whiz with an IQ of 170 — higher than Albert Einstein's. In a video clip posted online, Jake gives a breezy lesson in advanced calculus to "help you overcome your math phobias." (See the video below.) But for him, that's mere child's play. He's also taking advanced college math and astrophysics classes near his home in Indiana, and being courted by a high-powered research laboratory near Princeton University. Jake is also developing his own expanded version of Einstein's theory of relativity. He's tackling "several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics," says Princeton astrophysics professor Scott Tremaine, as quoted by the Indianapolis Star. "Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize."
The reaction: Okay, I admit it, says Kevin Hall at DVICE. Pretty much every word out of Jake's mouth goes "right over my head and right into a Google search." But it's pretty cool to think this kid might be our next Einstein. What a remarkable story, says Mary Beth Sammons at ParentDish. Let's hope the attention translates into support for the work Jake's mom and dad are doing, through their Jacob's Place Foundation, to help other children with Asperger's Syndrome. "If we had listened to all the people that told us our son would always be in special ed," Kristine Barnett says, "and would probably never escape the isolation of autism, how sad would that be?" Now, it's time to get schooled by Jake Barnett, boy genius:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- Why Easter is so important to Christians
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Wounded in Boston, two brothers endure
- Why would a young person today be religious?
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- What The Americans gets wrong about Russian spies
Subscribe to the Week