Monday, 11 January 2016

Super Humans - Jay Luo

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. I managed to find an 1982 article from NY Times about him. Seems that his family considered his privacy very important for his development.

BOISE, Idaho, May 1, 1982— A professor of a senior-level college mathematics course says he has had bright young students before, but none like 12-year-old Jay Luo, who is about to become the youngest university graduate in United States history. In June, Jay will receive his degree in mathematics from Boise State University. He is already planning to do post-graduate work at Stanford University. ''He's the brightest 12-year-old I've ever been associated with,'' says Robert Hughes, who taught Jay a linear programming math course. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the youngest person to graduate from a United States college was Merrill Kenneth Wolf, who received his bachelor's degree in music from Yale in 1945, when he was 14. Jay enrolled at Boise State at the age of 9. In three years he has exceeded the requirements for a bachelor of science degree, maintaining a B-plus average, according to a Boise State spokesman, Larry Burke. The boy's father, Zong Luo, a computer engineer for Hewlett-Packard in Boise, enrolled his son at the university after reading an article in 1978 about exceptionally gifted students. The father, an American citizen of Taiwanese ancestry, sought out Boise State's Dr. William Mech, a former president of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Guiding Educational Force. Dr. Mech has been the boy's adviser and a guiding educational force in his life for the last three years. He has also been thrust into the role of the boy's spokesman because Jay's father has refused to allow his son to be interviewed. ''It's scary, it really is,'' Dr. Mech said of the boy's rapid progress. ''But somewhere, somebody has to take a stand and I believe this makes sense.'' Jay scored in the 98th percentile in mathematics and in the top 80 percent in verbal skills in the Scholastic Aptitude Test. He began his college career by taking two part-time courses in May 1979. By the end of the year, he had skipped junior and senior high school and was carrying more than a full load of college courses. Jay's rapid educational development has raised some unanswered questions about his future emotional and social well-being, according to Dr. Mech, who said he had agonized over the effects of moving Jay so far beyond his age group in academics. But Dr. Mech said he feels better about the decision each day. He also said he would not be surprised to see a Nobel Prize in the youngster's future if he changed from the field of mathematics. ''There is no Nobel Prize for mathematics, he understands that,'' Dr. Mech said.

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