analyzing Child Prodigies and Wonder Childen

What is Child Prodigy and who is called a Wonder Child ??
These are people who, typically before 13 years old, showed abilities comparable to those of highly skilled adults in specific fields.

here's the list of all of them in different fields:


  • Moshe Kai Cavalin enrolled at East Los Angeles College at eight years old, graduated at 11 years old, and now plans to study astrophysics and mathematics.
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician, who, with almost no formal training in pure mathematics, made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions.
  • March Tian Boedihardjo, an Indonesian Chinese born in 1988, gained entry into Hong Kong Baptist University in 1997, to study mathematics at nine years old, becoming the youngest-ever university student in Hong Kong.
  • William James Sidis set a record in 1909 by becoming the youngest person to enroll at Harvard College, at 11 years old.
  • Sufiah Yusof a Malaysian, gained entry into St. Hilda's College, Oxford University, in 1997, to study mathematics at 12 years old.
  • Terence Tao
  • Magnus LaDue, at nine years old, discovered an error in one of the Laplace transforms in the CRC Standard Mathematical Tables and Formulae. The incorrect result appears in formula 36 on p. 607.
  • Sir William Rowan Hamilton, a mathematician, read Hebrew at seven years old, and studied Arabic, Persian, Greek, Latin, Syriac, Sanskrit and four other continental languages at 12 years old.
  • Blaise Pascal (June 19, 1623 – August 19, 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher who wrote a treatise on vibrating bodies at nine years old; his first proof, on a wall with a piece of coal, at 11 years old, and a theorem by 16 years old. He is famous for Pascal's theorem and many other contributions in mathematics, philosophy, and physics.
  • Michael Viscardi published two papers on the Dirichlet problem by the time he was 17 years old.
  • Alia Sabur received an undergraduate degree at 14 years old, and became a college professor at 18 years old.
  • Louis Crane entered the University of Chicago in his early teens, and began taking graduate-level mathematics courses at 14 years old. He is currently a professor at Kansas State University and a quantum-gravity researcher.
  • Ari Israel enrolled in graduate school at 15 years old without a degree. He earned a master's degree at 18 years old.

Mental Calculators

Note: Several mathematicians were mental calculators when they were still children. This section is for child prodigies largely or primarily known for calculating skills. It should be noted that mental calculators are sometimes more like savants than they are like child prodigies. They have skills that rarely exist in adults and they may not be truly "mature" in mathematical understanding.

  • Shakuntala Devi: Her abilities were first recognized at three years old.
  • John Von Neumann: A "mental calculator" by six years old, who could tell jokes in classical Greek.
  • Alexis Lemaire holds the most famous mental-calculation world record.
  • Truman Henry Safford could square 18 digit numbers at ten years old; later in life, he became an astronomer.


  • Moshe Kai Cavalin enrolled at East Los Angeles College at eight years old, graduated at 11 years old, and now plans to study astrophysics and mathematics.
  • Mikaela Fudolig finished college at 16 years old with a degree in physics, summa cum laude and class valedictorian (Class of 2007), at the University of the Philippines. She entered the university at 11 years old. Currently, she teaches physics at the same university.
  • Denis Krasnov (Russian: Денис Владимирович Краснов is from the former USSR. He was accepted at Moscow Engineering Physics Institute at 13 years old.
  • Tathagat Avatar Tulsi received an undergraduate degree at 10 years old.
  • Kim Ung-Yong attended university physics courses at four years old, and received a Ph.D in physics before 16 years old.
  • Song Yoo-geun entered the university at eight years old.

Mechanical engineering

  • Karl Benz started at the scientifically oriented Lyzeum at nine years old, went on to study at the Poly-Technical University under the instruction of Ferdinand Redtenbacher, and, at 15 years old, passed the entrance exam for mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe


  • Balamurali Ambati graduated from high school at 11 years old, was a college junior by 12 years old, and a doctor at 17 years old.
  • Avicenna memorized the Quran at 10 years old and studied medicine at 13 years old.[16]
  • Sho Yano started college at nine years old and graduated summa cum laude at 12 years old from Loyola University Chicago. By 15 years old, he attended the Pritzker School of Medicine


  • Jean Piaget published a paper on the albino sparrow at 11 years old, and later became a psychologist.

Acting and Directing

Note: This section is mostly limited to child actors or directors who were respected enough to be nominated or to win awards while in competition with adults, or who were declared prodigies. It also includes a few actors, from eras predating film, who were declared theatrical prodigies. This section must be limited this way because being even an award-winning child actor is not prodigious. (For child actors who won juvenile competition, see Academy Juvenile Award. These names do not necessarily equate with being competitive with adults and therefore do not necessarily count as prodigies.)

  • William Henry West Betty was a sensation as a boy doing Voltaire and Shakespeare roles.
  • Jackie Cooper was the youngest nominee for the Best Actor Oscar at age nine years old.
  • Quinn Cummings was an Oscar and Golden Globe Award nominee at 10 years old. She is now a businesswoman and blogger.
  • Brandon De Wilde at seven years old, was the first child actor to win the Donaldson Award; his talent was praised by John Gielgud in the following year. He was also a nominee for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar at 11 years old, in Shane.
  • Jodelle Ferland receieved a daytime Emmy nomination at four years old and, at 12 years old, was nominated at the 27th Genie Awards for lead actress.
  • Justin Henry was the youngest nominee for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar at eight years old, in Kramer vs. Kramer
  • Patty McCormack was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at 11 years old, in an era when child actors could still be nominated for the Juvenile Award.
  • Frankie Michaels, at 11 years old, received praise and a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for his role in Mame.
  • Tatum O'Neal won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at 10 years old, for her 1973 role in Paper Moon, making her the youngest person ever to win a regularly awarded Oscar.
  • Haley Joel Osment was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar at 11 years old.
  • Anna Paquin won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at 11 years old.
  • Ricky Schroder won a Golden Globe Award at nine years old, youngest winner ever.
  • Shirley Temple, at five years old, showed talent as an actress and tap dancer. When she was seven years old, she received a special Academy Award. She was described as a prodigy by Time (magazine) in 1936.
  • Ernest Truex did Shakespeare at six years old.


Will be published in my next post as this list is itself very very long.


  • William Cullen Bryant was published at 10 years old; at 13 years old, he published a book of political-satire poems .
  • Thomas Chatterton started as a poet at 11 years old. He began writing the poems that would make him famous at 12 years old.
  • Lucretia Maria Davidson, by 11 years old, had written some poems of note; before her death at 16 years old, she received praise as a writer.
  • Marjorie Fleming was a published poet before her death at eight years old.
  • H. P. Lovecraft recited poetry at two years old and wrote long poems at five years old.
  • Lope de Vega wrote his first play at 12 years old. He could read Latin at five years old and was translating Latin verse at 10 years old.
  • Maulvi Ghulam Rasool published his first book when he was 14 years old.
  • Dnyaneshwar, The Dnyaneshwari or Bhavartha deepika Teeka was written down by Sacchidananandbaba from discourses by Dnyaneshwar. By the time the commentary was complete Dnyaneshwar was only 15 years old.

Visual arts

  • Gian Lorenzo Bernini, at seven years old, attracted the attention of Pope Paul V with his sketches. He also sculpted Martyrdom of St. Lawrence at 16 years old.
  • Albrecht Durer
  • Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian polymath, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer.
  • Jan Lievens was a painter who was apprenticed at eight years old and an independent artist at 12 years old.
  • John Everett Millais was a painter who entered the Royal Academy at 11 years old.
  • Alexandra Nechita is a painter who had a solo exhibit at eight years old.
  • Pablo Picasso painted Picador at eight years old. See List of Picasso artworks 1889-1900.
  • Wang Yani had her paintings appear on postage stamps at six years old and in worldwide museum exhibits at 12 years old.
  • Zhu Da became a poet by seven years old. He later became a painter.


  • Michael Kearney earned the first of several degrees at 10 years old. He became a college professor by 17 years old."
  • Gregory R. Smith entered college at 10 years old and was first nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize at 12 years old.
  • Colin Maclaurin went to study divinity in University of Glasgow at the age of 11 and remained until he was 19 years, 7 months in the year 1717 when he was elected professor of mathematics holding the record as world's youngest professor until the record was broken by 18 year old Alia Sabur in March 2008 at the time, making her the new world's youngest professor.

Humane Letters: Leadership, Teaching, Evangelism

  • Adora Svitak, born in 1997, became a noted author by 10 years old, and as a humanitarian, teacher, and childrens'-literature and literacy evangelist. She published her first book seven years old. She presents writing workshops to hundreds of children at a time, holding them in thrall with microphone, computer, and overhead projector.
  • Aman Rehman made more than 1000 animated movies, beginning at three years old., and, at 8, he became the youngest college-lecturer in the world
  • Abdul Aleem Siddiqi memorized the whole Qur'an at four years old, and made his first speech (in a mosque) at eight years old.
  • Mohammad Hossein Tabatabai, born in 1991, could recite the Qur'an at two years old and had memorized it completely at five years old. Coventry University awarded him a PhD in 1997.

Law and Philosophy

  • Jeremy Bentham studied Latin at three years old and entered The Queen's College, Oxford, at 12 years old.
  • Saul Kripke was invited to apply for a teaching post at Harvard while still in high school.
  • John Stuart Mill knew several dead languages by eight years old and studied scholastic philosophy at 12 years old.
  • Kathleen Holtz began university studies at 10 years old, entered UCLA law school at 15 years old, and passed the California bar exam at 18 years old.
  • Stephen A. Baccus began studying law at 14 years old, graduated University of Miami law school at 16 years old, and passed Miami bar exam at 17 years old. He fought minimum-age requirements for bar-exam applicants in both New York and Miami.

Linguistics and Translation

  • Asad Ullah Qayyum, by seven years old, was able to deliver speeches in 12 languages.
  • John Barratier knew six languages by 11 years old.
  • Jean-François Champollion knew several dead languages at 10 years old and read an important paper at the Grenoble Academy at 16 years old.
  • William James Sidis reportedly taught eight languages by eight years old.
  • Thomas Young, more notable as a physicist, was a polyglot at a young age, who worked on translating Demotic Egyptian
  • Wendy Vo speaks fluently eleven languages by eight years old. She also composed 44 songs and is the youngest member of American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers(ASCAP)

Sports & Games

  • Bobby Fischer won the United States Chess Championship at 14 years old and achieved the title of Grandmaster, during the World-Championship-qualifications cycle, at 15 years old. Held title of World Chess Champion from 1972-1975.
  • Fabiano Caruana, a chess prodigy discovered at five years old, became the youngest-ever American and Italian Grandmaster (Dual citizenship), in 2007, at 14 years old.
  • José Raúl Capablanca was one of the best chess players of all time.[citation needed]
  • Cho Hunhyun was a professional go player at nine years old.
  • Fu Mingxia is a diver and was an Olympic gold medalist at 13 years old.
  • Willie Mosconi, nicknamed "Mr. Pocket Billiards," played against professionals at six years old.
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan, a snooker player, scored his first century break a 10 years old, his first maximum at 15 years old, and was the youngest-ever winner of a ranking event at 17 years old.
  • Michelle Wie qualified for the USGA Women's Amateur Public Links at 10 years old and won the same event at 13 years old, making her the youngest person both to qualify for and win a USGA adult national championship.
  • Tiger Woods won his first Optimist International Junior tournament at eight years old, playing in the nine-to-10-year-old age group since there was no group for eight-year-olds at the time.
  • Wayne Gretzky was skating with 10-year-olds at six years old. By 10 years old, he scored 378 goals and 139 assists, in just 85 games, with the Nadrofsky Steelers.
  • Dominique Moceanu, a gymnast, reached the elite level of the sport at nine years old, and was performing beyond-Olympic-level skills even earlier. She won the Senior US National Championships at 13 years old, the youngest to ever do so, and will forever hold that record, as the age limit for senior competitors has now been raised. She also won an Olympic gold medal, at 14 years old, with the team.
  • Judith, Zsuzsa, and Zsófia Polgár are chessplayers of Hungarian-Jewish origin. Born between 1969 and 1976, the sisters reached a high level of chess skill each before 13 years old, as a result of an experiment by their psychologist father László Polgár. Judit Polar has been the highest rated woman for over 10 years.
  • Nicholas Nip was the youngest-ever USCF Chess Master with a rating of 2207 at nine years, 11 months old.
  • Ricky Rubio became a professional basketball player at 13 years old and became the youngest player to win an Olympic Medal (silver at the 2008 Olympics).
  • Joshua Waitzkin was a chess prodigy at six years old, and a current Tai Chi master. He was made popular by the movie, Searching for Bobby Fischer.
  • Victor De Leon III (aka Lil Poison became the youngest professional video gamer in the world at six years old. He is enlisted in the 2008 and 2009 Guinness Book of World Record. At nine years old, Lil Poison was seated in 1st place, in a 1 vs 1 video game challenge, out of 3500+ competitors.


This is for historic children, who have become representatives of the "prodigy" phenomenon, inspiring literature, but whose actual accomplishments have not been firmly established due to the poor sourcing or records of their eras.

  • Gaon of Vilna was an historically significant rabbi who was called a prodigy in youth and who is said to have had a variety of skills by 11 years old.
  • Okita Sōji (1842 or 1844-1868) was kenjutsu-(swordsmanship) prodigy, who defeated a kenjutsu master by 12 years old, became a master of kenjutsu and a school head (Jukutou) by 18 years old. He died from tuberculosis in his mid-twenties.

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