Thursday, July 11, 2013

Jacob Barnett at TEDxTeen: 'Forget What You Know'

This young man is... breathtaking.

A video is below, and here is the accompanying description. Incredibly inspiring stuff.

"Jacob Barnett is an American mathematician and child prodigy. At eight years old, Jacob began sneaking into the back of college lectures at IUPUI. After being diagnosed with autism since the age of two and placed in his school's special ed. program, Jacob's teachers and doctors were astonished to learn he was able to teach calculus to college students.

At age nine, while playing with shapes, Jacob built a series of mathematical models that expanded Einstein's field of relativity. A professor at Princeton reviewed his work and confirmed that it was groundbreaking and could someday result in a Nobel Prize. At age 10, Jacob was formally accepted to the University as a full-time college student and went straight into a paid research position in the field of condensed matter physics. For his original work in this field, Jacob set a record, becoming the world's youngest astrophysics researcher. His paper was subsequently accepted for publication by Physical Review A, a scientific journal shared on sites such as NASA, the Smithsonian, and Harvard's webpage. Jacob's work aims to help improve the way light travels in technology."

Watch Jacob speak here:

Incredible young man, huh?!

The video caption continues:

"Jacob is also CEO and founder of Wheel LLC, a business he started in his mom's garage, and is in the process of writing a book to help end "math phobia" in his generation.

Jacob's favorite pastime is playing basketball with the kids at his charity, Jacob's Place. It is a place where kids with autism are inspired every day to be their true authentic selves...just like Jacob.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)."

For more on Jacob, this fantastic piece from the site 'Good News Network' elaborates:

"Jacob Barnett didn't speak for years. Doctors declared that autism would keep him from ever doing simple tasks like reading or tying his own shoes. But after his mother began injecting fun and music and science into his life, he emerged from his cocoon.
Fortunately for Jacob, his mother noticed that when left to play on his own, the 3 year-old created wondrously complex maps and patterns. She yanked him out of "special ed" classes -- where he was forced to do things that caused him to fail -- and began preparing him for kindergarten herself.
The many forced hours of therapy, trying to persuade him to talk, finger paint, and to do basic physical tasks only frustrated and bored Jacob, making him more withdrawn.
Back at home, his mother let him explore shapes and shadows. The more he played with things he enjoyed, the more his shell cracked open, and he began speaking and opening up to others.
For more, click here.
Jacob's mother Kristine Barnett adds:
"Every child has a special gift inside of them, regardless if you are a little different," she told the BBC. "I operate on a concept (that calls for) surrounding the child with what they love - be it music or art, whatever they are drawn to."

SO very true.

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