A prodigy is defined as being a child, therefore under the age of 18, who can perform at an abnormally high level than their age suggests in a particular field. This means that they are performing so well in their chosen field that the prodigy is as skilled as professionals in that field. This field can vary wildly; there are countless historical and recent tales of child prodigies in the areas of chess, music, art, science, mathematics, English, medicine, and many others.
Some notable examples of child prodigies in a variety of fields are Ted ‘The Unabomber’ Kaczynski (accepted into Harvard at the age of 16), Jet Li (Chinese martial artist), Tiger Woods (world’s most famous golf player, was winning 10 year old events when aged 8), and Garry Kasparov (considered greatest chess player of all time, became the youngest ever World Chess Champion aged 22).
The theme of a child prodigy’s life usually goes something like this: Their parents suspect that they are extraordinarily gifted at a very young age, when they do tasks out of character for children of their age bracket, such as learn to talk very early on. After this they are usually tested for their intelligence and go on to complete educational courses well beyond their years. A number of child prodigies have ended up completing bachelor degrees before the age of 15, maybe being accepted into the high IQ society Mensa on the way. Others have excelled in the arts, and hosted public exhibitions and concerts from a very young age.
Rather than a rundown of the five most talented prodigies of all time, this article is about the five youngest prodigies today. Most of these you will never have heard of, but rest assured they are all incredibly talented. Even if you haven’t heard of them yet, chances are you will hear about them in the near future.
5. Akim Camara, 13 Years Old
Born in September, 2000 in Berlin, Akim Camara is a musical child prodigy specialising in the violin. In early 2003, at age two, Akim began playing the violin, getting lessons at the Marzahn-Hellesdorf School of Music. Being a toddler, he was unable to properly speak at this point, but his teacher noticed that he was remarkably good at memorizing any music that was played to him. Impressed by this, his teacher, Birgit Thiele, started giving him two lessons per week. This is where it all began.
Passionate and enthusiastic about his new found hobby, Akim progressed incredibly quickly, and within 6 months he had been asked to perform in a Christmas concert organised by the Marzahn–Hellesdorf School of Music. Akim Camara’s debut performance in this Christmas concert, at the end of 2003, impressed everybody in the audience, including his teacher and the head of the school. They were so impressed, in fact, that they got in touch with world famous violinist Andre Rieu. Rieu watched the videos of Akim playing and he too was blown away by the ability of the young boy. Wanting to see more of Akim’s talent, Rieu invited him and his family over to his studio in the Netherlands.
During his time in Rieu’s studio, Akim showed off his ability to memorize any piece of music after hearing it just twice. This trip to Rieu’s studio proved fairly successful for Akim. Okay, it proved incredibly successful, as just a few months later Akim appeared on stage with Andre Rieu for the first time, in front of 18,000 people. He got a massive standing ovation for the record. All this at the age of just three. Since then, Akim has been largely hidden from the public eye by Rieu, who wants to protect him from mass hysteria and the like. He has made a couple of television appearances though, to show us that his skills are still well and truly intact.
4. Tanishq Matthew Abraham, 10 Years Old
Born in June 2003, Tanishq Matthew Abraham is a highly intelligent and gifted young astronomer. Now aged 10, American born Tanishq has a number of qualifications that any adult would be proud of.
Tanishq began showing his intelligence at the age of just four months, when he could remember the details of story books remarkably well (that’s right father, no more reading the same stories over and over to Tanishq). The signs of his intelligence continued to develop and, at the age of 5, Tanishq scored in the 99.9 percentile on the Mensa standardized IQ test. After his acceptance into Mensa, Tanishq went on to complete 5 years worth of mathematics courses from Stanford University’s Education Program for Gifted Youth in less than 6 months. Having exhausted all children’s education by the age of 6, he started taking high school classes in a wide variety of subjects. This didn’t last long, by the time Tanishq reached the ripe old age of 7 he had enrolled into a local college; this is where his interest in astronomy grew.
His college had no astronomy club, so Tanishq made it his duty to form one. He succeeded obviously, and was Founding Vice President of it. In 2011 he became the youngest person to discover an astronomical body whilst he was volunteering to scan NASA/Kepler images, he discovered 2 Supernovae, a solar storm and a new exoplanet.
However, it’s not just Tanishq that is gifted, his younger sister Tiara is also a child genius. Both of them are members of Mensa, making them the youngest siblings ever accepted into the high IQ society.
3. Aelita Andre, 7 Years Old
Aelita Andre is a child prodigy you may have heard of. This is because she is, at the age of 7, already a world famous artist. The young Australian art prodigy began painting at the age of 9 months with the encouragement of her parents, who are both artists themselves. Her parents’ saw Aelita’s potential and ended up dedicating an entire room of their house for Aelita to paint in and pursue her passion.
Aelita’s work drew more and more attention in a very short period of time. So much so that, by the age of two, her paintings made their first public appearance in a group exhibition at a local art show. Not long after her first exhibition, Aelita and her parents travelled to Hong Kong, where one of her paintings was bought for a massive $24,000 USD. It’s quite sad that a 2 year old girl made more money from one painting than I do in a year, but that’s talent for you! When they jetted off to New York for Aelita’s very first solo exhibition she was just 4 years old. The exhibition was a hit success, with 9 of her paintings selling for over $30,000 USD each.
It wasn’t just the public that loved Aelita either, art critics have compared her work to some of the greatest surrealists ever, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Jackson Pollock.
2. Elise Tan Roberts, 7 Years Old
Elise Tan Roberts, from London in the United Kingdom, is a child genius on a different level. She broke the record for the youngest ever member of Mensa, being accepted at the age of 2 years and 5 months old back in 2009. The Mensa approved standardized IQ test that got her accepted into the prestigious club dubbed her IQ at a massive 156. To put this into perspective, the average IQ is 100, and Albert Einstein’s IQ was 160. This put her in the very top 0.1% for intelligence in her age bracket.
As usual with child prodigies, her intelligence started to shine through at a very young age. Elise uttered her first word aged just 5 months old (“Dadda” to her father, if you were curious), and at 8 months she had learned to walk. 8 months after she learned to walk, she had taught herself to count to 10, and by the time she was 2 years old she could count in Spanish and English. I don’t know about you but, aged 24, I still can’t count to 10 in Spanish! Not to mention that Elise managed all this without even studying, who knows how smart she will turn out to be?
1. Adam Kirby, 2 Years Old
You know I said that Elise Tan Roberts broke the record for the youngest ever Mensa member? Yeah well that’s been broken again by the 2 year old London born child prodigy Adam Kirby. Back in 2013, when he had just turned 2, Adam Kirby was recommended to take the Stanford-Binet intelligence exam. Upon completion of this exam, Adam’s IQ was deemed to be in the region of 141, meaning he was accepted into Mensa and is now the youngest ever member of the elite society. Again, to put this into perspective, an IQ of 141 is higher than United States President Barack Obama and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron.
Adam seems very adept at languages, and he has already read some works of Shakespeare and learned basic Japanese, Spanish, and French. Going back a bit further, age 1, Adam read a book on toilet training and then proceeded to toilet train himself! Adam can also do basic mathematics (including his times table) and spell over 100 words.
Adam’s father, an ICT consultant in London, said that he and his mother have been developing Adam’s intelligence since he was just a few weeks old, which makes an interesting case for the age old ‘Nature vs Nurture’ argument. Whether it is nature or nurture, one thing is for sure, Adam Kirby has an extremely bright future ahead of him.