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Having a tough time understanding college level calculus? You might want to start watching the YouTube videos of 12-year-old Indiana tween Jacob Barnett. He has an IQ of 170, taught himself calculus, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry in a mere two weeks, and enrolled in the astrophysics program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis when he was eight.
Barnett has Aspergers Syndrome, a mild condition along the autism spectrum. But instead of dwelling on his physical and social deficiencies, Barnett’s parents focus on the things he can do well—like recite pi to 200 digits. Pulling him out of the local elementary and enrolling him at IUPUI was a risky decision given the age difference with his fellow students, but ultimately it’s been for the best. Average students check out of school if they’re not engaged, but Texas psychologist and Mensa testing supervisor Frank Lawlis theorizes that autistic kids’ brains quickly regress in size if they’re not constantly stimulated academically.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Barnett is about to surpass the academic capabilities of his professors, is working on his own “expanded version of Einstein’s theory of relativity,” and plans to disprove the Big Bang Theory. In the video above, you can watch his foray into online tutoring—he’s working out trig integrals on a “back of the house” calculation with a dry-erase marker and a window in his home. The best part? When he says “Don’t worry. I am here to help you with all your math phobias.”
Article by GOOD