Saturday, June 11, 2011

Precocious Scholars

On most occasions, I have a bone to pick with Stephen Wolfram, but his blog entry about new Caltech ACM alum Catherine's Beni's pseudo Caltech record for youngest PhD (whether she has the record or not depends on how one does the counting) and his experience as a precocious youth is actually pretty interesting.

I have known people like this (including Catherine, though not well), and I have witnessed firsthand the struggles of some of these people. I have seen things turn out poorly, eventual happy endings, and also ones that worked out well from the very beginning. My experiences were different from theirs, as I started at Caltech at age 18, but in some cases I was around for some of the experiences, and even with my inability to understand what even my best friends are thinking (which gets me into trouble way too much and has caused considerable pain in my own life on multiple occasions), I'd like to think that I have some understanding of precocious scholars because of my interactions with some of them.

Anyway, Wolfram's blog entry is an interesting read.

Update (6/14/11): Here is a Caltech feature about Catherine.

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