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List of child prodigies

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Title: List of child prodigies  
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List of child prodigies

Mozart started composing at age 3.

In psychology research literature, the term child prodigy is defined as person under the age of ten who produces meaningful output in some domain to the level of an adult expert performer.[1][2][3] Child prodigies are rare, and in some domains, there are no child prodigies at all. Prodigiousness in childhood does not always predict adult eminence. The persons listed here have come to the haphazard attention of history or current news and probably do not represent the typical experience of a child prodigy.


  • Mathematics and science 1
    • Mathematics 1.1
      • Born 1600–1699 1.1.1
      • Born 1700–1799 1.1.2
      • Born 1800–1899 1.1.3
      • Born 1900–1999 1.1.4
      • Born 2000–present 1.1.5
      • Mental calculators 1.1.6
    • Physics 1.2
    • Chemistry 1.3
    • Biology 1.4
    • Psychology 1.5
    • Computer science 1.6
  • Medicine 2
  • Engineering 3
    • Materials engineering 3.1
    • Mechanical engineering 3.2
  • The arts 4
    • Acting/directing 4.1
    • Music 4.2
    • Literature 4.3
    • Visual arts 4.4
  • Humanities 5
    • Academics 5.1
    • Humane Letters: Leadership, Teaching, Evangelism 5.2
    • Law/political science/philosophy 5.3
    • Linguistics/translation 5.4
  • Sports 6
  • Games 7
  • Legendary 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12

Mathematics and science


Born 1600–1699

  • Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz (1606–1682) was a Spanish scholastic philosopher, ecclesiastic, mathematician, and writer. He was a precocious child, early delving into serious problems in mathematics and even publishing astronomical tables in his tenth year.
  • Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher who wrote a treatise on vibrating bodies at the age of nine; 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.

Born 1700–1799

  • André-Marie Ampère (1775–1836) wrote a treatise on conic sections at the age of 13 and mastered much of known mathematics by the age of 18.
  • Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855) made his first ground-breaking mathematical discoveries while still a teenager. Also at the age of 3 watched his father add up his accounts and corrected him.[4][5]

Born 1800–1899

  • Évariste Galois (1811–1832), as a bored and rebellious Lycée pupil was introduced to Legendre's book on geometry. In the words of E.T. Bell he, "read it as easily as other boys read a pirate yarn". Ignoring his teachers, he himself sought out and studied the works of Lagrange and Abel.[4]

Born 1900–1999

From left to right, Gabriel Carroll, Reid Barton, Liang Xiao, and Zhiqiang Zhang, the four perfect scorers in the 2001 International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).
  • Per Enflo (born 1944), Swedish mathematician, also a piano prodigy[11]
  • Charles Fefferman (born April 18, 1949) Entered college at age eleven, later becoming the youngest full professor in the United States. He has won many major awards in mathematics, including the Fields medal.
  • Sheila Sri Prakash (born 1955), was an acclaimed dancer of Bharatanatyam, having given her first critically acclaimed performance on stage, when she was six years of age. She had a prolific career in the Arts between 1961 - 1984, with accomplishments as a Kuchipudi dancer, Veenai musician, a gifted painter and sculptor. She is currently a world-renowned Architect, having been named to the "Top 100 Most Influential Architects in the World Today" by Il Giornale Dell' Architettura and has several international award-winning works to her credit as a thought leading design theorist. She created the Reciprocal Design Index as part of her role on the Global Agenda Council on Design Innovation at the World Economic Forum and currently serves on the council for the Role of the Arts in Society.
  • Jay Luo (born 1970), received his B.Sc. from Boise State University with honors in mathematics at the age of 12 to become the youngest university graduate in United States history.[12][13]
  • Ruth Lawrence (born 1971), passed the Oxford University interview entrance examination in mathematics, coming first out of all 530 candidates sitting the examination at the age of 10. At the age of 13 she became the youngest to graduate from the University of Oxford in modern times.[4]
  • Jason Levy (born 1972), began York University in Toronto in 1982 at age 10. Graduated with Specialized Honours B.A. in Mathematics at 14.[14] Received his M.Sc. (Mathematics) from the University of Toronto in 1987 at age 15. Completed his PhD in Mathematics at University of Toronto in 1993 at age 20.
  • Akshay Venkatesh (born 1981), won a bronze medal at the International Physics Olympiad at 11 years of age. Won a Bronze medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) at 12. Graduated university at age 15 with a double major in mathematics/physics. Finished his PhD at 20 from Princeton University. Associate Professor at 23.
  • Erik Demaine (born 1981), became an assistant professor at MIT at 20 years of age.
  • Gabriel Carroll (born 1982), earned the highest SAT score in the state of California, including a perfect 800 in math, in seventh grade.[16][17]
  • Praveen Kumar Gorakavi (born 1989), is recognized as a young polymath for his innovations in diverse fields of science and engineering. At an age of 13, he developed a mathematical formula for perpetual calendar calculations, which also mentions historic dates observed on various types of calendars. At an age of 15 years, he designed a low-cost artificial leg with an ability for knee and ankle movement. He has also developed missile technology at an age of 15.[18][19] Praveen is the youngest recipient of one of the highest civilian awards of Andhra Pradesh state, Ugadi Gaurav Puraskar, from state government of Andhra Pradesh.[20] Praveen is also considered the youngest recipient of the FAPCCI award 'Outstanding Engineer/Scientist for the state of Andhra Pradesh'.[21]
  • Kelvin Doe (born 1996), taught himself engineering at the age of 13 and built his own radio station in Sierra Leone, where he plays music and broadcasts news under the name "DJ Focus." He was one of the finalists in GMin's Innovate Salone idea competition, in which Doe built a generator from scrap metals. Doe would constantly use discarded pieces of scrap to build transmitters, generators, and batteries, as well.[28][29] As a result of his accomplishment, he received an invitation to the United States and subsequently became the youngest person to participate in the "Visiting Practitioner's Program" at MIT.[30][31][32]
  • Cameron Thompson (born 1997), began studying for his degree at the age of 11 with the Open University whilst still a high school student. At age 15 Cameron completed his degree studies at the same time as his GCSE examinations and at age 16 was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours.[33][34][35] Cameron was the subject of the BBC Documentary "Growing Pains of a Teenage Genius".
  • Raúl Chávez Sarmiento (born 1997), second youngest person to win a Bronze, Silver, and Gold medal at the International Math Olympiad.[36]

Born 2000–present

  • Tristan Pang (born 2001), started reading independently and doing high school math at the age of two, sat in on the Cambridge International Examinations IGCSE maths (Year 11 / O Level) and earned the top grade of A*, scoring 97% at nine, by age eleven he top scored with A* at the Cambridge A level exams (Year 13), and delivered a TEDxYouth talk.[37] He started his university studies at the University of Auckland and created a free online learning platform, Tristan's Learning Hub, by the age of twelve.[38][39]
  • Kautilya Pandit (born 2007) [40] displays good memory power regarding current affairs, general knowledge and geographical statistics.[41] He could recollect details of 213 countries and can answer questions about world geography, per capita income, gross domestic product, politics, the economy, etc.[40] Psychologists from Kurukshetra University have noted the grasping powers of Kautilya and expressed their desire to investigate his recalling capacity. C.R.Darolia, Chairman, Psychology Department said that "the boy is a wonder kid and he may have IQ around 130 which is rare for his age group." [42]

Mental calculators

Note: Several mathematicians were mental calculators when they were still children. Mental calculation is not to be confused with mathematics. This section is for child prodigies largely or primarily known for calculating skills.

  • Zerah Colburn (1804–1839) had a major display of his ability at age eight.[43][44]
  • Ettore Majorana (1906–1938) could multiply two 3 digit numbers in his head in seconds at the age of 4.[45][46]
  • John von Neumann (1903–1957) A "mental calculator" by six years old, who could tell jokes in classical Greek.[47][48]
  • Priyanshi Somani (born 1998) won 1st place in the 2010 Mental Calculation World Cup at age 11.
  • Jerry Newport (born 1948), autistic calculating savant at age seven, already using calculus to compute third and higher roots, title holder of "Most Versatile Calculator", won in 2010. Self-discovered much number theory in elementary school—perfect numbers, Fibonacci, etc.
  • Truman Henry Safford (1836–1901) could square 18 digit numbers at ten years old; later in life, he became an astronomer.[49]
  • Shakuntala Devi (1929–2013) was an Indian prodigy mental calculator, who was known for her very rapid calculation abilities - despite having no formal education.[50]


  • Enrico Fermi In 1918, Fermi enrolled at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. In order to enter the Institute, candidates had to take a difficult entrance exam, which included an essay. The given theme was Specific characteristics of Sounds (Italian: Caratteri distintivi dei suoni).[51] The 17-year-old Enrico Fermi chose to derive and solve the partial differential equation for a vibrating rod, applying Fourier analysis. The examiner, Prof. Giuseppe Pittarelli, interviewed Fermi and concluded that his entry would have been commendable even for a doctoral degree. Enrico Fermi achieved first place in the classification of the entrance exam.
  • Mikaela Fudolig (born 1991), 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 is studying physics at the same university for the Master's degree.[52]
  • Christopher Hirata (born 1982) Youngest American (at 13) to win a gold medal in the International Physics Olympiad (1996).[53] Entered Caltech at the age of 14, earned PhD in Physics from Princeton at age 22.[54]
  • Abdus Salam (1926–1996) At the age of fourteen, Salam scored the highest marks ever recorded for the Matriculation Examination at the Punjab University. A Nobel laureate in Physics for his work in Electro-Weak Theory, Salam holds the distinction of being the first Pakistani Nobel Laureate to receive the prize in the Physical Sciences.
  • Wolfgang Pauli (1900–1958) had an understanding of advanced mathematics by the age of 13 and graduated with a PhD in Physics at the age of 21.[55]
  • Tathagat Avatar Tulsi (born 1987) received an undergraduate degree at 10 years old,[56] got a Ph.D. at 21 & was offered a position of assistant professor at IIT B at 22.
  • Kim Ung-Yong (born March 8, 1962) graduated with a Ph.D. in physics at the age of 15.
  • Taylor Wilson (born 1994), nuclear scientist and engineer who built a bomb at age 10, and a nuclear fusion reactor at age 14. Improved nuclear technology and made a low-cost cherenhov particle detector at age 17, as well as winning the Intel Science Fair.
  • Luis Balbino Arroyo (born 1990) finished college at 16 years old with a degree in physics summa cum laude. He entered university at 11 years old. Obtained a master's degree in physics and another in economics at age 18. Juris doctor and bar exam at age 22.[57]
  • Jacob Barnett (born 1998) could recite the alphabet forwards and backwards at age 3, studied college level courses at age 8, and gained a full scholarship to IUPUI when he was 10 years old. He is working on his PHD in quantum mechanics/physics.


  • Ainan Celeste Cawley (born 1999) passed Chemistry- O level at 7 years and 1 month (the youngest in the world) and studied Chemistry at tertiary level, at a Polytechnic, from 8 years and 4 months old.[58]


  • Colin Carlson – born 1996,[59] enrolled at the University of Connecticut at age 12, earned a bachelor's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology and another in environmental studies (2012) and a master's degree in the same subject (2013) at the University of Connecticut, at age 15 and 16 respectively.[60] He plans to earn his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology and a degree in environmental law for a career in conservation science. He intends to earn the two degrees by age 22.[61] Carlson is currently Ph.D. student in the Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at University of California, Berkeley.[62]
  • Evan Ehrenberg – born in 1993, at age 16 started a Ph.D. program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences department studying computational neuroscience. Graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. degree in cognitive science with an emphasis in computational modeling, highest honors, at age 16. Won the Robert J. Glushko Prize for distinguished undergraduate research in cognitive science at age 16 for his research on a 'Layered sparse associative network for soft pattern classification and contextual pattern completion.'[63][64][65]
  • Gabriel See, born in 1998, achieved a 720 out of 800 score on the SAT math test at age 8, Performed T-cell receptor research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center at age 10, and at age 11 won a silver medal at the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition on synthetic biology for undergraduate college students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2011 he was named one of the US's top 10 high school inventors by Popular Science magazine. He has been taking upper division courses each semester at the University of Washington since 2010.[66]


  • Jean Piaget (1896–1980) published a paper on the albino sparrow at 11 years old, and later became a psychologist.[67]

Computer science

  • Arfa Karim (1995–2012), a Pakistani girl, became one of the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in 2004, at the age of 9.
  • Stephan Wolski (born 1998) completed high school and enrolled at the College of Southern Maryland at the age of 13 and at the age of 15 graduated with an A.S. Degrees in Applied Science and Technology, he plans to earn his bachelor's degree in Computer science at the University of Maryland.[68]
  • Joshua Travis Mann (born 1982) invented his own object-oriented computer language at the age of 8, completed his education at the age of 15, and became a technology consultant for several fortune 500 companies and the Department of Defense before turning 18.[69]
  • Babar Iqbal (born 2001), a Pakistani boy in 2010 became an MCP at the age of 9.[70]
  • Ayan Qureshi (born 2009), on 27 September 2014, became the youngest MCP in the world at the age of 5 years 11 months.[71]
  • Erik Demaine (born 1981), completed his bachelor's degree when only 14 and completed his PhD at University of Waterloo when only 20 years old in the field of computer science.



Materials engineering

  • Alia Sabur (born 1989) received an undergraduate degree at 14 years old, and became a college professor at 18 years old.[75]

Mechanical engineering

  • Karl Benz (1844–1929) 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, on September 30, 1860, at an age of just 15, he passed the entrance exam for mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe, which he subsequently attended. Benz was graduated July 9, 1864 at age nineteen.[76] Karl Benz later became the pioneering founder of the automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz designing the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, widely regarded as the very first automobile.

The arts


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.)


See List of music prodigies.


  • Rituparna Bhattacharjee, an Indian child prodigy who wrote Bhutiya at the age of 11 in 1998.[100]
  • Rabindranath Tagore - Indian poet, short story writer, song composer, novelist, playwright, essayist and painter and a Nobel Laureate (first Asian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913), wrote his first poem when he was only eight years old. He published his first large poetry collection in 1877. He wrote his first short story and dramas when he was only 16 years of age.[101][102]
  • Rubén Darío – Nicaraguan poet.
  • William Cullen Bryant was published at 10 years old; at 13 years old, he published a book of political satire poems .[103]
  • Thomas Chatterton started as a poet at 11 years old. He began writing the poems that would make him famous at 12 years old.[104][105]
  • 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.[106]
  • Marjorie Fleming, who died in 1811 before the age of nine, became a published poet half a century later.[107]
  • Barbara Newhall Follett began working on a novel at 8 and was published by age 12.[108]
  • H. P. Lovecraft recited poetry at two years old and wrote long poems at five years old.[109][110]
  • Christopher Marlowe: as a child, attracted the attention of Matthew Parker and went on to be a major 16th century London playwright.[111] He is the eponymous Marlowe of the Marlovian theory of Shakespearean authorship.
  • Alexander Pope: was a child prodigy as a poet, with gifts all but universally acknowledged.[112] He is the third most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson.
  • Arthur Rimbaud wrote influential French poetry throughout his early and late teens. Victor Hugo described him at the time as "an infant Shakespeare".[113]
  • Henriett Seth F.: Henriett had a long history of visual art, poetry and writing in her childhood; beginning at age nine and at age thirteen,[114] but she gave up creative music career altogether at the age of 13.[115] Henriett universal effect of all that was what we now call autism and savant syndrome[116][117]
  • Lope de Vega wrote his first play at 12 years old.[118][119] He could also read Latin proficiently at the age of five years.[120]
  • Minou Drouet caught the notice of French critics at the age of eight, leading to speculation that her mother was the true author of her poetry. She later proved herself to be the author.[121]
  • Adora Svitak is an American writer who teaches literature on Internet at an early age, and show writing abilities at age 6.

Visual arts

  • Albrecht Dürer
  • John Everett Millais was a painter who entered the Royal Academy at 11 years old.[122][123]
  • Alexandra Nechita is a painter who had a solo exhibit at eight years old.[124]
  • Pablo Picasso painted Picador at eight years old. See List of Picasso artworks 1889–1900.
  • Kieron Williamson, an eight-year-old watercolor artist from Norfolk, England whose second exhibition sold out in 14 minutes, raising £18,200 for 16 paintings.[125]
  • Wang Yani had her paintings appear on postage stamps at six years old and in worldwide museum exhibits at 12 years old.[126]
  • Wang Ximeng was taught by Emperor Huizong of Song himself and painted some of the most highly regarded works of Chinese art before dying at age 23.[127][128]
  • Zhu Da became a poet by seven years old. He later became a painter.[129][130]
  • Angelica Kauffman had professional commissions at thirteen[131] and was an established artist by 21.[132]
  • Akiane Kramarik born in 1994, sold paintings worth $3M USD at age 7
  • Marla Olmstead born in 2000, sold paintings worth over $20,000 at age 6 and had international recognition.
  • Aelita Andre born in 2007, sold paintings worth over $30,000 at age 4 and had international recognition.
  • Henriett Seth F.: Henriett had a long history of visual art, poetry and writing in her childhood; beginning at age nine and at age thirteen,[114] but she gave up creative music career altogether at the age of 13.[115] Henriett universal effect of all that was what we now call autism and savant syndrome[116][117]
  • Edmund Thomas Clint (1976–1983) was an Indian child prodigy.[133] He is known for having drawn over 25,000 paintings during his life.[134]



  • Nguyễn Hiền (1234–?), a Vietnamese prodigy, who earned the first-rank doctorate laureate in the year of 1247 when he was 13 years old.[135]
  • Michael Kearney earned the first of several degrees at 10 years old. He became a college teacher by 17 years old.[136][137]
  • Gregory R. Smith – entered college at 10 years old and was first nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize at 12 years old.[138][139]
  • Colin Maclaurin went to study divinity in University of Glasgow at the age of 11 and remained until he was 19 years, 7 months old in the year 1717 when he was elected professor of mathematics, where for nearly three hundred years he held the record as the world's youngest professor.
  • Alexander Faludy in 1998 became the youngest undergraduate at the University of Cambridge since 1773.[140][141]
  • Pierre Bouguer (1698–1758) was appointed professor of hydrography in 1713 at the age of 15.

Humane Letters: Leadership, Teaching, Evangelism

  • Aman Rehman made more than 1000 animated movies, beginning at three years old.,[142] and, at 8, he became the youngest college-lecturer in the world.[143]
  • Cao Chun (Born unknown, died 210) was the son of the famous Chinese warlord Cao Cao became the youngest person to ever fight for an army higher than the rank of major.
  • Tavi Gevinson (born 1996) was a nationally esteemed fashion writer by the age of 12 and ran an online magazine by the age of 15.
  • Mohammad Hossein Tabatabai (born 1991) memorized all the Quran at the age of 5.[144]
  • Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr (1935–1980) was an Iraqi Shi'a cleric who memorized the Quran at a very early age and wrote his first book by the age of 12 called Fadak in History. He later went on to lay the foundation for modern economics and banking in Islam. He also wrote Our Philosophy, which is an important a critique of both socialism and capitalism, as well as write the textbook for Jurisprudence, which is used by many Islamic Seminaries today. He was one of the leading Islamic intellectuals of the 20th century and died at the age of 45.

Law/political science/philosophy


  • Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718–1799) was a multilingual prodigy who went on to become a mathematician.
  • Asad Ullah Qayyum, at 7 years old, was able to deliver speeches in 12 languages.[158]
  • John Barratier could speak German, Latin, French and Dutch at the age of 4; knew six languages at the age of 11.[159][160]
  • George Boole (1815–1864) could speak English, Latin, Greek, German, Italian, and French by his early teens.
  • Jean-François Champollion knew several dead languages by the time he was 10 years old and read an important paper at the Grenoble Academy at 16 years old.[161][162]
  • Edmond-Charles Genêt (1763–1834) could read French, English, Italian, Latin, Swedish, and German by the age of 12.
  • Nathan Leopold (1904–1971) started speaking at the age of four months; he reportedly had an IQ of 210,[163] though this is not directly comparable to scores on modern IQ tests.
  • Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494) could speak 22 languages at the age of 18.[164]
  • Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer (1770–1825) mastered 9 languages by the age of 16; French, English, Dutch, Swedish, Italian, Latin, Spanish, Hebrew and Greek among other achievements.
  • Thomas Young (scientist), more notable as a physicist, was a polyglot at a young age, who worked on translating Demotic Egyptian.[162][165][166]
  • William Wotton could read passages in English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew at the age of five. Graduated from Cambridge aged thirteen having acquired Arabic, Syriac, Chaldee, French, Spanish and Italian, together with a good working knowledge of logic, philosophy, mathematics, geography, chronology, and history.[167]


  • Joy Foster represented Jamaica at table tennis at the Caribbean championships in Trinidad in 1958, aged only 8 years old.[168] In the same year she won the Jamaican championship titles in Women's Singles (beating defending champion 20-year-old Madge Bond in the final), Women's Doubles (paired with Madge Bond), and Mixed Doubles (paired with Fuarnado Roberts).[169][170] Prior to this she had already won many local trophies.[171] She went on to win the Caribbean women's singles title twice,[172] and competed in the United States open championships on several occasions, winning various youth-level titles.[173] In 1961 she was named the first Jamaican sportswoman of the year.[174]
  • Ariel Hsing, a ping pong prodigy[175][176]
  • Fu Mingxia (伏明霞) is a diver[177][178] became the youngest world champion ever in any sport at age 12,[179] and was an Olympic gold medalist at 13 years old.
  • Jet Li (Chinese name: Li Lianjie (李连杰)) is a Chinese martial artist, who has won several gold medals in wushu at the All China Games at the age of 12.[180]
  • Sachin Tendulkar – Batsman (cricket). Made debut at the age of 16. In his early matches he hit Abdul Qadir, a prominent leg spinner of the time for 4 sixes in an over, hit a century at Perth, world's fastest pitch. Representing India for 21st year in International cricket. Has scored 100 international centuries, the first batsman to get 200* in ODI.
  • 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.[181]
  • Wayne Gretzky was skating with 10-year-olds at 6 years old. By 10 years old, he scored 378 goals and 139 assists, in just 85 games, with the Nadrofsky Steelers.[182]
  • Tiger Woods was a child prodigy, introduced to golf before the age of 2, by his athletic father Earl. In 1984 at the age of 8, he won the 9–10 boys' event, the youngest age group available, at the Junior World Golf Championships. He first broke 80 at age 8. He went on to win the Junior World Championships six times, including four consecutive wins from 1988 to 1991.
  • Nadia Comăneci won 3 gold medals at the 1976 Olympics and was the first female to achieve a perfect score of 10 in gymnastics at the age of 14.
  • Ricky Rubio started his basketball career with DKV Joventut at the age of 14, becoming the youngest player to ever play in the Spanish ACB League, and played in the 2008 Summer Olympics at the age of 17 with eventual silver-medalists Spain, becoming the youngest ever to reach an Olympic basketball final.
  • Guan Tianlang won the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in golf shortly after his 14th birthday.[183] The following April, while still 14, he made the cut at the 2013 Masters Tournament, becoming the youngest male player ever to do so at a major championship.[184]
  • Yulia Lipnitskaya won the gold medal in the team figure skating event at the 2014 Winter Olympics at the age of 15. She also won the 2014 European Championships, becoming the youngest skater in ladies' singles in history to win that title.


4-year-old Capablanca and his father
  • Garry Kasparov was a chess child prodigy who ranked in the top 15 players in the world at age 16 and is considered by many as the greatest chess player of all time. He became the World Chess Champion at the age of 22, the youngest of all time.
  • Bobby Fischer won the United States Chess Championship at 14 years old and became, at the age of 15, the youngest Grandmaster in history at the time. He became the World Chess Champion in 1972.
  • José Raúl Capablanca was World Chess Champion 1921-1927, and is considered to be one of the best chess players of all time.[185]
  • Samuel Reshevsky learned to play chess at age four, and was soon acclaimed as a child prodigy. At age eight he was beating accomplished players with ease, and giving simultaneous exhibitions.
  • Cho Hunhyun was a professional go player at nine years old.[186]
  • Andy Costello, a chess prodigy who went on to become a chess boxer.[187]
  • Willie Mosconi, nicknamed "Mr. Pocket Billiards", played against professionals at six years old.[188]
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan, a snooker player, scored his first century break at 10 years old,[189] his first maximum at 15 years old, and was the youngest-ever winner of a ranking event at 17 years old.
  • Nicholas Patterson, a chess prodigy who went on to become a mathematician.[190]
  • Magnus Carlsen was, at the age of 13 years, 148 days, the second-youngest chess Grandmaster of all time[191] (currently third-youngest)[192] and also holds the records for the youngest player to break the 2700-Elo barrier (at the age of 16 years, 213 days)[193] and the 2800-Elo barrier (at the age of 18 years, 336 days),[194] and youngest player to be ranked No. 1 in the world by FIDE.[195][196] His peak rating is 2882, the highest in history.
  • Judit Polgár, a chess prodigy (and the strongest woman chess player in history) who became a chess Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, the youngest of the time.
  • Hou Yifan became the youngest female chess grandmaster at the age of 14 years and 6 months in 2008.[197]
  • Sergey Karjakin, a chess prodigy who holds the record for both the youngest International Master and the youngest Grandmaster. He has been rated as high as No. 4 in the world by FIDE.
  • Carissa Yip, an American chess prodigy, became the youngest U.S. female chess expert (since the U.S. Chess Federation started electronically keeping records in 1991) at age 9 in 2013.[198]
  • Irina Krush won the 1998 U.S. Women's Chess Championship at age 14 to become the youngest U.S. Women's Champion ever.[199]
  • Awonder Liang became the youngest chess expert in United States Chess Federation (USCF) history on April 16, 2011, when he played in the Hales Corners Challenge chess tournament in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a rating of 2000 at the age of 8 years and 7 days. On March 23, 2013, he became the youngest person ever to obtain a master's rating within the United States Chess Federation. Awonder was 17 days shy of his 10th birthday at the time of this achievement.[200]


This list consists of 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 a 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.[201]
  • Christian Heinrich Heineken (1721–1725) was a prodigy who could speak from an early age. By the time of his death was well-versed in mathematics, history and geography. He could speak Latin and French in addition to his native tongue.
  • 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.

See also


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Further reading

  • .  
  • Radford, John (1990). Child Prodigies and Exceptional Early Achievers. New York: Free Press. .  
  • Winner, Ellen (1996). Gifted Children: Myths and Realities. New York: Basic Books. .  

External links

  • The Origins and Ends of Giftedness by Ellen Winner
  • Time Asia
  • History of the education of gifted children by Ellen Summers
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