Kids truly are capable of anything. From musical geniuses to mathematicians, these youngsters have already made incredible contributions to society — and most of them can’t even legally drive yet! You can’t help but be impressed (and maybe feel a little inferior) by this group. Check out this list of genius kids who are changing the world.
Tanishq Matthew Abraham Writes For NASA (In His Spare Time)
At just four years old Tanishq Matthew Abraham joined the elite group, Mensa. He scored a 99 percentile on the standardized Mensa IQ test. By five, he was finishing math courses offered by Stanford University’s Education Program for Gifted Youth on five levels (kindergarten to 5th grade). At six years old, he was already taking high school and college courses. He maintained a 4.0-grade point average in all of his college courses and was one of the youngest people to ever be inducted in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. In his spare time, he also publishes essays on NASA’s Lunar Science website.
Akrit Jaswal Performed Surgery At 7 Years Old
Akrit Pran Jaswal gained worldwide attention after he performed surgery at the young age of 7. Although he wasn’t a doctor at the time, he was considered a well-respected medical figure in his small India village. Jaswal performed surgery on the hands of an 8-year-old burn victim whose family could not afford proper medical care. He successfully separated the victim’s fingers. Jaswal then went on to attend medical school at age 12 and by age 17 he was studying for a masters degree in Applied Chemistry. Now the 24-year-old is working on finding a cure for cancer.
Kenneth Shinozuka Is Helping Alzheimer’s Patients
Kenneth Shinozuka was fascinated with technology from a young age — so he set out to use his passion for technology to help his ailing grandfather. When Kenneth was only six years old, he invented Smart Bathroom. Smart Bathroom is a watch that sends a buzz alert to a caretaker if an elderly person falls in the bathroom. Kenneth didn’t stop there though. The next year he invented Smart Medicine Box, which is a pill box that lights up and makes noises whenever a patient needs to take their medicine. Most recently, Kenneth has created an amazing product that helps Alzheimer’s patients. A simple sensor attached to a patient’s foot or sock alert caretakers to their location if they have wandered off.
Taylor Wilson Knows Nuclear Fusion
The thought of a child playing with nuclear warfare seems terrifying but not for Taylor Wilson. The Arkansas native is the youngest person in the world to have built a working fusor. Fusors are devices designed to create nuclear fusion. Wilson built his first bomb at age 10 and his infamous fusor at age 14. In May 2011, he won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for his radiation detector. In February 2013 when he was just 17, he spoke at the TED conference about his ideas on self-contained underground nuclear fission reactors. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Energy have both offered federal funding to Wilson concerning his research.
Cameron Thompson Has Something In Common With Einstein And Newton
North Wales native, Cameron Thompson is a mathematical genius. At age four he corrected his nursery school teacher when she said zero was the lowest number. He insisted to her that there were, in fact, negative numbers. He fast-tracked his way to college by age 11 and studied mathematics at Open University. He did all this despite the fact that Cameron suffers from severe social problems due to his Asperger’s Syndrome. He was featured in BBC program, The Growing Pains of a Teenage Genius, that highlighted his struggles to connect with others. But Cameron’s not letting it get him down. “Apparently plenty of people with Asperger’s are really intelligent, high achievers,” he says. “People like Einstein and Newton, they had supposed Asperger’s.”
Doctors Thought Jacob Barnett Wouldn’t Be Able To Read Or Talk
When Jacob Barnett was two years old, he was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism and doctors claimed he would probably never talk, read or become independent. Devastated, Jacob’s mother decided to homeschool him. Which proved to be a great idea because by age three, Jacob could speak four languages and answer complicated astrophysics questions. He enrolled at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis at age ten and found his voice. “I’ve always had a deep curiosity to understand how the world works,” he says. “It has been both fascinating and humbling to believe that life’s diverse patterns could emerge from simple mathematical expressions.”
Priyanshi Somani Is A Mental Calculation Machine
Priyanshi Somani, a young girl from India, is a human calculator. She started mental calculation when she was just six years old. By the time she was 11, she was the youngest competitor at the Mental Calculation World Cup of 2010—which she won. She beat 36 other competitors by solving the square root of 10 six-digit numbers in a record-breaking 6 minutes 51 seconds. She was also the only participant to have a perfect score in addition, multiplication, and square roots in the history of the competition. In 2012, she became the new world-record holder in mental square roots when she calculated the square root of 10 six-digit numbers in 2 minutes 43 seconds.
Akim Camara, Violinist Prodigy
Akim Camara is a German violinist prodigy. He began playing the violin when he was just two years old. Akim was still in diapers when he began perfectly memorizing and playing music he had heard back to his parents. They enrolled him in lessons twice a week and by the time he was three he was hosting concerts at professional theaters in Berlin. When he was just five years old, he played Felix Mendelssohn’s “Dance of the Fairies” alongside legend André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra. After traveling the world performing with world class musicians, the now-teenager is taking a much-needed break to enjoy a normal life for a while.
Ethan Bortnick Started Composing At Age Five
Ethan Bortnick began playing the keyboard when he was just three years old. Soon after, at five, he composed his first song. In 2007, he performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and became an instant sensation. At nine years old, Ethan became the youngest performer to ever have a PBS special and by ten years old, he became the youngest headliner to ever play Las Vegas. He also holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s youngest solo musician to headline his own tour and has opened for stars like Nelly Furtado. Ethan, now 17, still travels the world playing for eager audiences.
Misha Osipov Went Up Against The Chess World Champion
Three years old, Mikhail (Misha) Osipov gained worldwide attention in 2017 as the pint-sized opponent of Anatoly Karpov, a grandmaster, and chess world champion. He went up against the champ on national Russian TV after being hailed a chess prodigy across the country. Unfortunately, the small superstar’s game didn’t go as planned and in true three-year-old fashion, he cried, resulting in the most heartbreaking, internet-breaking video ever. But as a true pro, he quickly composed himself and hasn’t let the defeat stop him. Now four, he still travels regularly competing and hopes to one day break into the top forty players in the world.
Gregory Smith: 2X Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Gregory Smith is a four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee. In 1999, at just ten years old, he received a four-year scholarship to Randolph-Macon College. A few years later he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and minors in History and Biology. Two years after that, he received his first Nobel Peace Prize nomination for his meeting with Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev and spoke in front of the United Nations. He has since been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times for his humanitarian work in East Timor, Sao Paolo, Rwanda, and Kenya.
A 16-Year-Old College Valedictorian Mikaela Fudolig
Mikaela Fudolig entered the University of the Philippines when she was just 11 years old. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics at age 16 and was the valedictorian of her graduating class. She offered some wise advice to her former classmates saying, “Instead of taking the road less traveled, the new graduates should make new roads.” After graduation, she did just that and received a Ph.D at the same university while working on staff as a professor. She was also a Fulbright Scholar for her analysis on behavioral economics at the University of California Irvine. The now, 26 years old has returned to school to study law.
March Tian Boedihardjo: The 18 Year Old Mathematics Professor
March Tian Boedihardjo is the youngest person to ever enroll at Hong Kong University. He was just nine years old when he began college. Not only did he complete his schooling at an insanely young age, he also double majored. Boedihardjo participated in a specially-designed double-degree program and received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Science and Master of Philosophy in Mathematics. He completed both a full year earlier than the program dictated. After graduation, he moved to the United States to work on research and obtain a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. At 18-years-old, he now teaches Mathematics at UCLA.
Judit Polgár, Grandmaster At Chess
Judit Polgár was destined for greatness, partially due to her father’s obsession with raising geniuses. He even published a book entitled, Raise a Genius! His book was met with skepticism but he proved a lot of naysayers wrong when his three daughters went on to become some of the best chess players in the world. In December 1991, when Judit was just 15 years old, she eclipsed her older sister Susan to become the youngest player to ever earn the chess title, grandmaster. She continues to play chess today and in 2005 became eighth in the top chess players ranking, becoming the only woman ever to reach the top ten.
Boyan Slat Designs Booms That Clean Up The Ocean
Ocean pollution is a huge problem that grows bigger by the year. When high school student Boyan Slat saw all the plastic waste underwater while on a trip in Greece, he immediately started thinking of a creative solution. He told MMN, “That was the moment I realized it was a huge issue and that environmental issues are really the biggest problems my generation will face.” His story went viral and he has now raised $320 million to fund his project. After two years of testing, its estimated that his booms could collect as much as 50 percent of the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch in as few as five years.
Mikaila Ulmer’s Lemonade
Wen Mikaila was four years old, she was brainstorming ideas for a children’s business competition. While trying to figure out an idea, she was stung by a bee. not just once, but twice. From then on, she became fascinated with bees and learned about the crucial role that they play in our ecosystem and how they are threatened at the moment. So, she came up with Me & The Bees Lemonade which was a lemonade that she would start selling that was sweetened with local honey from Texas and would donate a portion of the profits to protecting the honeybee. In 2015, she pitched the business to on the show Shark Tank and received an investment of $60,000. Her drinks are now sold at retailers in 14 states.
Hasan and Shireen Zafar Want Education For All
Photo Credits: The Express Tribune
In early 2016, Hasan (15) and Shireen (13) Zafar decided to use their after-school free time to help other kids that were seeking an education. In time, they eventually developed an open lot into what is now known as The Street School.Unfortunately, many parents in Pakistan don’t support their children’s education, so kids are forced to work or beg for money. Hasan and Shireen then decided to start their school at 4 pm to accommodate the students that were busy during the day whether it be working or supporting their families. now, they have upwards of over 80 students and employ six paid teachers. They also help by providing money, clothes, and food.
Richard Turere Invented “Lion Lights” At 15 Years Old
Richard Turere had a unique childhood. Growing up along the edge of Nairobi National Park in Kenya, he was responsible for protecting his family’s livestock from lions…no big deal for a kid, right? Richard knew that the dangerous task could be made more manageable with the right solution. So in order to protect both the livelihoods of citizens and prevent other from killing lions, he came up with an ingenious invention: Lion Lights.Lion Lights are solar-powered circuits, which scare off lions with flickering LED lights. Ion Lights proved to be so successful that 75 systems have now been installed in Kenya.
Katie Stagliano Created Change In Her Backyard, Literally!
Fourteen-year-old Katie Stagliano literally started creating change in her own backyard! At just nine years old, Katie brought home a small cabbage seedling. It seems that she was born with a green thumb because that small seedling grew to over 40 pounds. Katie began donating cabbage to a local soup kitchen where she helped feed nearly 300 people. Her love for doing good inspired her to start a nonprofit called Katie’s Krops. Through Katie’s Krops she donates thousands of pounds of fresh produce to people in need each year.
These Friends Created A Generated Powered By Urine
Yep, you read that headline right. While it may sound icky at first, urine is an infinitely renewable resource so friends Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin and Bello Eniola used it to their advantage. The friends created a generator that was powered by human urine. Just one liter can create six hours of electricity. The generator works by putting the urine in a electrolytic cell. This separates out the hydrogen, which is then purified with a water filter. The liquid is then pushed into a gas cylinder and then liquid borax, which removed moisture. From here, the hydrogen is pushed into the generator and voila, electricity.
Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad Finds Way to Turn Plastic Waste Into Biofuel
Egypt is a large consumer of plastic. In fact, the country uses around 1 million tons every year. That’s why Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad was determined to find a way to reduce the negative effects of plastic on the planet. Faiad developed an ingenious method for generating biofuel by breaking down plastics. First, she identified an inexpensive catalyst for breaking down the waste. Then, she found a way to convert it to biofuel. According to her calculations, this process can save more than $78 million worth of hydrocarbon gases annually!
Param Jaggi Created The Algae Mobile
Param Jaggi was sitting at a stop sign in Texas when he couldn’t help but notice the car in front of him that was spewing exhaust fumes. He knew there had to be a way to capture those harmful fumes from infiltrating the air we breathe, so he got to planning. Jaggi invented a device called the Algae Mobile. This device plugs directly into a car muffler and removes almost 90 percent of the CO2 from the exhaust! The device works thanks to living algae colonies, which are in the device. The algae consume the CO2 and transform it into oxygen. Today, Jaggi is the CEO of a company called Ecoviate that researches and develops solutions for consumer sustainability.
Alexey Created Children-404 For LGBT Youths
When it comes to the acceptance of minority groups, Russia can be a difficult place to live. Alexey, a high school student from Russia stood up for what he believed in after Russia enacted sanctions against the LGBT community. He created Children-404, an online community for Russia’s LGBT youth. The group links members together and offers support through their difficult, personal journeys. Alexey continues to use his voice to propel for his community and beyond.
Dylan Mahalingam Co-founded Lil MDGs
Not even a teen yet and already Dylan Mahalingam is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and child welfare and environmental activist. When he was nine years old, Dylan co-founded an international nonprofit and youth empowerment organization. The group, which is called Lil MDGs, uses digital and social media to encourage kids to support the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. Since Dyland founded the company, Lil MDGs has mobilized more than 3 million children around the world! He’s also helped raise more than $780,000 for tsunami victims, and $10 million for hurricane victims through his efforts.
Severn Cullis Suzuki Created A Major Online Think Tank
Severn Cullis Suzuki was just 12 years old when she gave a powerful speech on environmental issues at the 1992 World Summit in Rio De Janeiro. Severn is the daughter of David Suzuki, a geneticist and environmental activist. Inspired by her father, Severn started Skyfish, which is a major online think tank. After launching Skyfish she became part of Kofi Annan’s special advisory panel at the 2002 World Summit. She joined other progressive thinkers discussing sustainable development. Today, Severn is in her late thirties and is still an environmental activist as well as a speaker, television host, and author.
Kelvin Doe Built A Radio Station For His Community
Kelvin Doe grew up in Sierra Leone, one of the world’s poorest countries, with his mom and four siblings. As he grew up, he loved tinkering and creating. He was always scavenging for scraps and old electronics that he could create new things with — and then he would spend hours breaking them down and building them again. Kelvin eventually taught himself how to repair radios and then began providing free repairs for local families.
As he grew old, his projects grew bigger. At 14 years old, he created a radio transmitter and antenna and then began broadcasting his own show. He realized that a broadcasted show was so important to his community, especially because they never had an FM radio channel before.
Kelvin Was Invited To MIT
When Ph.D. student David Sengeh discovered all of the good Kelvin was doing, he wanted to help. The MIT student met Kelvin at the Youth Innovation Camp that Sengeh held in Sierra Leone. Here, Sengeh invited Kelvin to be a guest resident at MIT. In 2012, he was invited to speak at the World Maker Faire in New York and became the youngest person ever to be a visiting practitioner at MIT. Today, Kelvin continues to do good for his community and beyond.
Blaise Pascal Invented The First Form Of A Calculator
Blaise Pascal was a 17th-century child prodigy and mathematician. The self-taught mathematical genius was wowing the time’s most influential thinkers by age 12. By the time he was 15 he published his first original mathematical work, Essai pour les coniques. Descartes found the publication to be so brilliant he accused Blaise’s father, Etienne of writing the piece and passing it off as his son’s to impress the public. Blaise soon after invented the first mechanical calculating machine that could add and subtract, a very early predecessor of the calculator and sold it to local businesses. He continued to publish works across Europe until his death in 1662.
Srinivasa Ramanujan, Self-Taught Mathematician
Srinivasa Ramanujan is considered on the greatest self-taught mathematicians of all time. He grew up extremely poor and uneducated in Kumbakonam, India. In 1903, when he was 16, he found an old mathematics textbook in English. He memorized the book nonstop until he could easily recall every problem and solution in it. He began sending his original work off to dozens of professors and mathematicians in England, hoping one of them would take him seriously. In 1913, his wish was granted when Cambridge professor, Godfrey Hardy sent for him. Hardy tutored him and together they wrote some of the most well-respected publications of all time.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Blew Everyone Away
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz is one of the most esteemed Baroque writers. In 1651, she was born to unwed and poor parents in the Mexican city, San Miguel Nepantla. She learned to read by age three and began writing poems by age eight. She was unfortunately prevented from higher education due to her gender and her family’s financial situation. When she was 16 she became a lady to the viceroy’s wife. Both the viceroy and his wife were amused by her incredible intellect and hosted a public demonstration where 40 professors quizzed her on their fields of knowledge. She astonished the crowd with her knowledge. Later she became a nun and produced an impressive collection of produce poems, plays, and philosophical writings.
John von Neumann’s Magical Mind
Hungarian-American John von Neumann could joke in ancient Greek by age 6 and was engrossed in calculus by age 8. He ascended quickly to one of the most highly regarded minds in math and science. He moved to the U.S. in 1937 and began working on defense planning. Some of his most notable work was on the construction of the atomic bomb and his involvement in the Manhattan Project. He was highly regarded by his peers. Nobel Laureate Hans Bethe praised von Neumann’s incredible intellect saying, “I have sometimes wondered whether a brain like von Neumann’s does not indicate a species superior to that of man.”
12 Symphonies By The Age Of 12: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most impressive child prodigies of all time. By age four he was playing the harpsichord and by age five composing simple music. By age seven, he was on his first European tour displaying his immense talent to appreciative audiences. He performed regularly for royalty and high members of the church at the Vatican. By the time he was 12 he had perfected twelve original symphonies. He continued to create magnificent works of music for the rest of his life. He’s the composer of some of the world’s most famous operas including, The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro.
Boy Loses Vision, Creates Braille
Many people may not know that braille was introduced as a form of communication for the blind by a child. Louis Braille was just three years old when he suffered an eye injury. The infection as so bad that eventually blinded him. Still attempting to read, the young boy would trace his finger over raised letters. Then he learned that France’s military had a form of silent communication they called “night writing” where soldiers traced their fingers over the code to read a message. He simplified it to work for the American alphabet and the braille language was created.
H.P. Lovecraft Changed Fictional Writing
Howard Phillips Lovecraft has been regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. He learned to read at the age of two and was writing complex poetry by the age of six. Having an incredibly traumatizing childhood, he put it all into stories about alien and underwater horrors that seem almost impossible to come up with. During his childhood and as an early adult, Lovecraft constructed some of the most in-depth stories about other worlds and universes, that most of us can’t even comprehend. It is his work that has influenced much high-fantasy and horror novels including the Game of Thrones series.
Okita Soji The Child Warrior
Although he may have taken a different path as a prodigy, he is a prodigy nonetheless and he even left a legacy. Okita Soji lived in the 1800s in Japan, and although he was mentally sharp, he was remarkable in hand-to-hand combat. At the age of nine, he was already learning advanced sword techniques, and by the age of 12, he had defeated a master swordsman in combat after he had estimated Soji’s abilities. Soji then became a master himself at the age of 18 and became a founding member of the Shinsengumi, a legendary police force featured in television, movies, comic books, and video games today. Although he may not be a mathematician, he greatly influenced Japanese pop culture even today.
Six Siblings Attend College By Age 12
Photo Credits: Today Show
Parents Mona Lisa and Kip Harding insist their family isn’t brilliant, and “just average folks” yet six of their children have reached college level by the time they’re 12. All of them are homeschooled, which Mona Lisa says works best for them, as they’re able to fully dive into their interests. Their daughter Hannah started designing spacecraft by the time she was 22, while 17-year-old Heath is finishing his master’s in computer science. Another sibling, Serennah, is set to become the youngest physicians in American history as a Navy doctor at age 22. For this family, homeschooling has become the best way for their kids to reach their full potential, and incredibly quick.
Kim Ung-Yong HAd The World’s Highest IQ
Kim Ung-Yong is a Korean man who at one point in time was recognized as having the highest IQ of anyone on the planet according to the Guinness Book of World Records. He began speaking at six months old and understood algebra at eight months old. Before he was two, he was fluent in four languages and began attending university when he was four years old and graduated when he as 15. As a teenager, he was scouted by NASA and served there for four years as a researcher. He eventually returned to South Korea to try and live a normal life as a professor.
Pablo Picasso Was A Master Painter Early On
Although everyone knows what Pablo Picasso accomplished as an adult throughout his painting career, he got his start extremely early. After he had learned how to talk, he was already asking his father to teach him how to paint. Before he was 12 years old, he already had mastered the fundamentals of art and was producing photo-realistic anatomical sketches and was considered to be a mature artist by his teenage years. It was ironic that he went from being very detailed and precise to painting the abstract paintings that we know him for today.
Stevie Wonder Topped the Charts At 13 Years Old
That’s right, America’s favorite piano man was actually a child prodigy before he made it big. Stevie Wonder was signed by Motown label, Tamla when he was just 11 years old! By the time he was 13, he had earned his first No.1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with ‘Fingertips’, making him the youngest artist ever to top the chart. He continued to top the charts thanks to his album, Little Stevie Wonder Recorded Live: the 12 Year Old Genius. Stevie went blind after receiving too much oxygen in his incubator as a newborn, but he never let that stop him from achieving his dreams. He’s still on the world’s most esteemed artists.
The Unmatched IQ Of William James Sidis
Considered by some to be the smartest man to ever live, William James Sidis developed a new logarithm table for the number 12 when he was just eight years old and sent it to a professor at Harvard University. By age 11 he set the world record as the youngest person to ever enroll in Harvard University and graduated cum laude five years later. By the time William was 7, he taught himself how to read, became fluent in eight languages and wrote four original works. His IQ is still unmatched and thought to be somewhere in the 250-300 range.