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    (Original post by PhilipGarsed)
    I think the advantage this family have over the rest of us is they are actually multidimensional beings from another universe (Possibly like the mice in Hitchhiker!) - The section of that article below confirms this!
    Apparently if you were to flip something in the fourth dimension you would get a mirror image of the original object in the third ( like turning a right shoe into a left shoe ) which makes it a lot easier to imagine visualising.

    The trouble is I don't think we'll ever be able to crack the 4D thing as our brains just weren't designed for that. Thank god for vectors.

    Nice article BTW. They sound like responsible parents bringing their children up in a healthy, balanced way which isn't going to emotionally scar them or leave them as sociological cripples when they're older.
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    Interesting... I guess when you do have kids as bright and keen to learn as that it would be unfair not to let them learn as much as they want to. If, as the article implies, they really did want to do all the academic stuff... Though it still does seem a shame, to me, that they will never have a childhood... not that they'll know they're missing out, I guess. But then, again, they'll never be students at an age where they're allowed to go out and get drunk - how bad would that be?!!
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    (Original post by MadNatSci)
    Interesting... I guess when you do have kids as bright and keen to learn as that it would be unfair not to let them learn as much as they want to. If, as the article implies, they really did want to do all the academic stuff... Though it still does seem a shame, to me, that they will never have a childhood... not that they'll know they're missing out, I guess. But then, again, they'll never be students at an age where they're allowed to go out and get drunk - how bad would that be?!!
    How convinced are you that it's a case of 'letting' as opposed to 'making'.
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    (Original post by Faboba)
    How convinced are you that it's a case of 'letting' as opposed to 'making'.
    There is a point there, though those kids aren't the best examples for bright children going brilliantly - look what happened to the one who ran away.

    I stand by my original thing: give a bright kid books, and access to a bright person to talk to, and they'll be fine.
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    (Original post by Faboba)
    How convinced are you that it's a case of 'letting' as opposed to 'making'.
    Meh... It *could* feasibly be 'letting'. If a child is bright they will want to learn - my best friend was reading fluently by the age of four, because he enjoyed it. I have had a think since writing the above though, and I *do* think it's important to let (even make?) kids socialise so I guess you do have to tread a very thin line... maybe the best way to do it is to make sure they go to school and have a normal social life, and then give them stuff to keep them occupied outside it....

    But yeah, in many cases I do think you're right, that it IS a case of 'making'. They all seem to be the kids of academics who had a lot of potential but never really achieved anything - for example, the dad in the last article had a first from Oxford (I think) but he hadn't done anything major academically. I can't help thinking that since they didn't get their Nobel Prizes or their Fields Medals they're desperate for their kids to do it - living through their children... I'm SO glad my parents never went to uni: their visions for me involved a lot less work
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    (Original post by EmJ)
    I thought that it would be interesting to hear some opinions on this topic!

    This topic has been touched upon in the 'when should I apply' thread.
    The St Hilda's Maths genius, Sufiah Yusof, was mentioned. She was only thirteen when she went up. She later ran away after her third year exams and blames her parents for years of "physical and emotional abuse".

    Another example is that of Ruth Lawrence, another Maths genius. She gained a starred first from Oxford when she was only 13.

    I found this link:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/d...00/2492853.stm

    I found the video quite saddening, as it is so obvious that she had not had the chance to be a child. She also seems fairly lacking in social skills.

    What do you guys think? :confused:
    She also went on to get a first in physics from Oxford in a year. Her CV is very impressive. She;s a top academic in the States, married with a child, so I would say she's turned out OK!

    http://www.math.lsa.umich.edu/~ruthjl/cv00.pdf
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    (Original post by Fluffy)
    She also went on to get a first in physics from Oxford in a year
    bugger. I obviously chose an easy degree :rolleyes:
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    Specialisation at such a young age seems a rather sad option. I have, in my time, been considered a bit of a smart cookie. :rolleyes: My mother's best friend was very keen to push me on, get me tutors and private education, but my parents put their fot down. Now, as it is, what is usually commented on is my breadth of knowledge: at standard grade I won the prizes for best in year for English, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, German, Music, History and Sporting Achievement. Enough boasting, but my point is, perhaps with gifted children the secret is to give them other areas to develop interests in. Maybe if my parents had taken me out of school and focused on my maths, for example, I would have been a maths genius. But this way, I can have breadth - I can be quite good at everything, which is probably of more use in the real world. I was very bored and very unhappy at school (I still am but there are only 8 days left ) so I found other ways to interest myself - through music, employment, extracurricular reading.

    May I ask Mussed, what are you now doing, year after your Higher Computing?

    However, surely the weirdest thing in this discussion is that the univeristies seem quite happy to take people at 13/14 and yet people who only turn 18 half way through their first year have to take a year out. This to me seems somewhat odd. Thoughts?
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    (Original post by Fluffy)
    She also went on to get a first in physics from Oxford in a year. Her CV is very impressive. She;s a top academic in the States, married with a child, so I would say she's turned out OK!

    http://www.math.lsa.umich.edu/~ruthjl/cv00.pdf
    Hobbies anyone? No? Ok then...Her CV missed the most vital "what i liked to do in my spare time"
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    Just watched that video. Could anyone honestly say that she wouldn't piss the hell out of them within 5 minutes. It seems the only English she knows is "First of all", perhaps she shouldn't have spent all her time on Maths?!

    I wouldn't say she's disatrous, but I wouldn't say she's turned out ok. She seems stuck to her father like glue, shows a lack of independence, a lack of necessary social skills, and dare I say it, a lack of common manners?
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    Does it really matter that someone has completed their education earlier than their peers; I doubt employers would even pick up on it apart from in extreme cases, and in extreme cases you'd be too worried about their social maladjustment to offer them a job. In most professions client contact is a very important strand of the job. I just don't see what excellarating these children way beyond their years is going to achieve in the long-run. It's important to learn initiative and self-discipline in response to boredom, rather than being controlled by an overbearing parent.

    Social manners are really hard to learn, because they can't be taught one just picks them up subconsciously through repeated social interaction. And from that video, that girl sure wasn't getting enough - how many 13 year olds cut right across adults, correct them, and patronise them in the manner she did?
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    (Original post by Sarky)
    Hobbies anyone? No? Ok then...Her CV missed the most vital "what i liked to do in my spare time"
    You don't put things like 'hobbies' on that sort of academic CV. For research posts you only put things like papers, oral presentations, awards and fellowships etc down.
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    (Original post by Jools)
    Yes but in all of these cases there's a big risk that the child may not turn out OK. I'd say allowing them to skip more than 2/3 years is too much. If you ever need proof that giving someone an accelerated/different childhood can have disastrous consequences, just look at Michael Jackson.
    Equally you can't tar everyone with the same brush. Just because someone doesn't conform to your interpretation of normal doesn't mean they're going to emerge the otherside of childhood as a messed up individual.
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    (Original post by platinumki)
    However, surely the weirdest thing in this discussion is that the univeristies seem quite happy to take people at 13/14 and yet people who only turn 18 half way through their first year have to take a year out. This to me seems somewhat odd. Thoughts?
    I think Unis are starting to accept more 17year olds etc. One of my friend's here is a lawyer and she was only 17 when she started at the beginning of this year.
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    Here is another story on a similar theme. Not to do with pushy parents though.
    http://www.billingsgazette.com/index...-a-prodigy.inc
    Incredible, and tragic.
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    I just fail to see what possible point it serves to go to university more than a year or so before the youngest of the others. What is 5 years in the scheme of things? Time wise, it's practically nothing, but developmentally it's formative.

    Who cares if there are a few people who have turned out happy from it? There are probably 10 child prodigies who ended up socially inept and burnt out for every one that gets to be professor by 19. Chances are that these child prodigies will go on to do the exact same things professionally at 18 as they would have when they were 13... at the WORST. At best, they won't burn out and will go on to not only be successful professionally and academically but successful in terms of life happiness.

    I'm convinced that parents who push that kind of thing through do it for the status of it. Yes, it's true they should want their child to be pushed, but I don't think that's the motivating reason.
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    (Original post by Faboba)
    The more I hear about these things the more it seems to be a by-product of parents forcing their children to practice, practice, practice endlessly with the result that they can perform far better than their peers at a subject where aptitude can be gained by practice ( such as music and maths ) yet in the long run they tend not to shine because they lack basic skills of imagination and self-motivation. Am I wrong?
    Well I wouldn't say that Mozart failed to shine; though you might say he did. Getting good at most things takes practice, actually I can't think of many things that don't. But there have been supposed "child prodigies" in a few areas: eg. Chess; some sports [supposedly]... The reason why the best at Maths and Chess, for example, come up is because the skills are much more easy to measure quantatively or directly compare people's talent. And how you measure "child prodigy" is really subjective anyway; I dont think there is any definition of "child prodigy", or the amount of talent needed etc. I'm sure there are people out there who at the age of 7 can string together the most fantastic complex sentences and write ingenious plots, full of superb witticisms, etc. etc. but I think it'd be much more difficult to term them as child prodigies.

    Most children don't really do enough work to realise anywhere close to their full potential but I think the "extreme" measures taken by parents go too far. Admittedly they produce fantastic results but the moral cost must be taken into consideration. Best to consider each on a case-by-case basis I think. Many musical prodigies simply love what they do. It's the same for those in Maths but I think stopping people from having friends and not allowing them to build up so much as a minimal set of social skills is bad news... Like that "world's strongest boy"...although he might've been given steroids as an extra !
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    A friend of mine from school (Paul Jefferys) was/is definitely what you might call a genius. Just Google him to see his record. He recently achieved 10 A-grades at A-level and is currently studying Maths at Trinity, Cambridge. He achieved gold medals at the International Maths and Informatics Olympiads this year. He also got on the Physics Olympiad team (but he couldn't go because it clashed with the other two) - and he got to the last 5 of the chemistry one. He has been on the maths Olympiad team 3 years in a row and at the informatics Olympiad this year he was number one in the world.

    There are two significant factors about Paul that are very much interrelated.

    Firstly, his parents (while focused) NEVER pushed him to do anything that he didn’t want to do. They even consciously chose to keep him in his year-group when he could have flown through university at a much younger age. I remember going over to his house when I was younger and thinking how much more laid-back his parents were compared to mine. We used to play football and make hideouts in his garden.

    Secondly, and most importantly, he is genuinely what you’d call a nice bloke. No pretence, no suspicious obsessive-compulsive conduct and significantly no ego. He is phenomenally grounded for such a colossal intellect, and probably largely owes that to being kept in his year-group. In fact, to enforce the point, the last time I saw him was at the pub.
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    Woh!

    I had one of those types of guys in my school too. He like got high 90's in all his mods at A-levels, and he was sooo lazy, and i mena lazy. He was alwa ys getting in trouble for not doing homework, and he never revised for school exams, and even during study leave he used to chill out more than study, and yet he got 4A's, and is diong Natural sciences at trin hall , cam. What's more, he was normal; no ego, arrogance...nothing :rolleyes: - nice bloke, but just unbelievably smart.
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    This is just a theory but i think maybe the reason the kids who are pushed so much in one direction, at the neglect of other areas of study, don't win nobel prizes or whatever is because you need a well-rounded education to make great discoveries. I sort of believe all ideas are connected (I guess this means I believe there is order to the universe) and when you hear about breakthroughs being made they are sometimes by people who are not looking for them but rather they are researching another field entirely. I have often heard the phrase "new discoveries are made at the cross-over points of different disciplines". Perhaps slightly un-related: would Einstein have made any great discoveries if he hadn't played the violin?

    I don't think I believe in genius but I do think it is a dangerous concept. I remember thinking "I don't have a maths brain" and "I'll never be able to be really good at it" but just tried hard work and have done pretty well since. I am sure there are many other people who don't try hard at maths because they think it takes a genius or someone different to be any good at it.
 
 
 

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