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A Beautiful Mind? 12-Year-Old Boy Genius Sets Out to Disprove Big Bang


"I scare people."

At 12-years-old, Jacob Barnett is a genius. He's already in college, his IQ is higher than Einstein's, and for fun he's working on an expanded version of that man's theory of relativity. So far, the signs are good. Professors are astounded. So what else does a boy genius with vast brilliance do in his free time? Disprove the big bang, of course.

For a minute, just a minute, try and follow his logic. He explained his thinking recently to the Indianapolis Star:

"There are two different types of when stars end. When the little stars die, it's just like a small poof. They just turn into a planetary nebula. But the big ones, above 1.4 solar masses, blow up in one giant explosion, a supernova," Jake said. "What it does, is, in larger stars there is a larger mass, and it can fuse higher elements because it's more dense."

OK . . . trying to follow you.

"So you get all the elements, all the different materials, from those bigger stars. The little stars, they just make hydrogen and helium, and when they blow up, all the carbon that remains in them is just in the white dwarf; it never really comes off.

"So, um, in the big-bang theory, what they do is, there is this big explosion and there is all this temperature going off and the temperature decreases really rapidly because it's really big. The other day I calculated, they have this period where they suppose the hydrogen and helium were created, and, um, I don't care about the hydrogen and helium, but I thought, wouldn't there have to be some sort of carbon?"

He could go on and on.

And he did.

"Otherwise, the carbon would have to be coming out of the stars and hence the Earth, made mostly of carbon, we wouldn't be here. So I calculated, the time it would take to create 2 percent of the carbon in the universe, it would actually have to be several micro-seconds. Or a couple of nano-seconds, or something like that. An extremely small period of time. Like faster than a snap. That isn't gonna happen."

"Because of that," he continued, "that means that the world would have never been created because none of the carbon would have been given 7 billion years to fuse together. We'd have to be 21 billion years old . . . and that would just screw everything up."

Young Jacob's journey to genius hasn't been a fairy tale. He didn't speak until he was two, and he's been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, a mild form of autism. His mother, Kristine, told the Star he has trouble sleeping because he constantly sees numbers in his head.

"A lot keeps me awake," Jake said. "I scare people."

But he also has so much promise, and that excites many more.

"In one two-week period, he sat on our front porch and learned all of his high school math," Kristine told the Star. "He tested out of algebra 1 and 2, geometry, trigonometry and calculus."

In a YouTube video he can be seen explaining calculus:

At eight, Jacob enrolled at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and was taking advanced astrophysics classes. According to one of his professors there, he's the most brilliant student he's seen.

"Is he a genius? Well, yeah," IUPUI physics Professor John Ross told the paper. "Kids his age would normally have problems adding fractions, and he is helping out some of his fellow students."

He could soon be helping out the university, too. "We have told him that after this semester . . . enough of the book work. You are here to do some science," Ross, who's committed to helping Jacob find some grant funding, said.

"If we can get all of those creative juices in a certain direction, we might be able to see some really amazing stuff down the road."

And if the here-and-now is any indication, "down the road" will be mind boggling. See, Jacob has already begun working on an expanded theory of relativity -- and he's on to something.

"I'm impressed by his interest in physics and the amount that he has learned so far," Prof. Scott Tremaine, one of the world's leading scientists, wrote in an email to the family. "The theory that he's working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics."

He added: "Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize."

Read the entire profile of Jacob from the Indianapolis Star.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

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