Saturday, 27 February 2016

Super Humans - Stephan Wolski

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.

What did he said on his graduation:

Wolski, as with his older siblings Joseph, CSM Class of 2012, and Olivia, CSM Class of 2011, is the youngest graduate in his class. “I am the youngest in my family so that means that this is the end of a dynasty,” said Stephan Wolski. Just as his siblings had been, Stephan Wolski was nervous when he began taking classes at CSM at age 13 through a gifted and talented program. But the nervousness faded after a few weeks, he said. “I had so many great classes but one of my favorites was philosophy with [Professor] Timothy Desmond,” he said, adding that he enjoyed sharing his opinions with his classmates. Stephan Wolski could count on being the youngest in class, but he marveled at the range of ages and life experiences including a student who was in his 60s and taking classes that matched his interests. In the fall, Stephan Wolski will pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science at the University of Maryland College Park, a degree he hopes to complete when he is 17. Right now he is happy to celebrate graduating from college and to take driver’s ed when he’s old enough.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Super Humans - Arfa Karim

   Arfa Abdul Karim Randhawa (Urdu: ارفع کریم رندھاوا‎‎, 2 February 1995 – 14 January 2012) was a Pakistani student and computer prodigy who, in 2004 at the age of nine, became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). She kept the title until 2008. Arfa represented Pakistan on various international forums including the TechEd Developers Conference. She also received the President's Award for Pride of Performance. A science park in Lahore, the Arfa Software Technology Park, was named after her. She was invited by Bill Gates to visit Microsoft Headquarters in the U.S. Arfa was born into a Punjabi family from the village of Chak No. 4JB Ram Dewali in Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan. After returning to Pakistan from a visit to Microsoft headquarters, Arfa gave numerous television and newspaper interviews. S. Somasegar, the vice president of Microsoft's Software Development Division, wrote about her in his blog. On 2 August 2005, Arfa was presented the Fatimah Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of Science and Technology by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz on the occasion of the 113th anniversary of the birth of Fatima Jinnah. She also received the Salaam Pakistan Youth Award again in August 2005 from the President of Pakistan. Arfa is also the recipient of the President's Award for Pride of Performance, a civil award usually granted to people who have shown excellence in their respective fields over a long period of time. She is the youngest recipient of this award. Arfa was made brand ambassador for Pakistan Telecommunication Company's 3G Wireless Broadband service, "EVO", in January 2010. Sadly she died at age of 16 due to heart complications. 

One link here 

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Super Humans - Jean Piaget

I already wrote about Piaget in the "IQ test origin" series. I will post here only the relevant part regarding his achievements as an young prodigy.

Jean Piaget was a precocious child who demonstrated a keen interest in animal life and an encyclopedic knowledge of biology and taxonomy. When he was ten years old, he began volunteering at the Neuchâtel Museum of Natural History. The museum's director, the seventy year-old naturalist Paul Godet, took him on as his assistant and apprentice, and paid him for his work by giving him rare specimens for his personal collection (Vidal, 1994). Piaget continued to work at the museum for four years, and his interest in the natural sciences continued to grow. His professional accomplishments in this area were numerous, beginning at age ten when he published a paper on the albino sparrow, and culminating with a doctoral thesis on the classification of mollusks when he was twenty-one. After completing his Ph.D., Piaget spent several months studying psychoanalysis at the University of Zurich. He was a promising student, and his contemporaries believed that he would eventually make important contributions to this field (Vidal, 1994). However, a serendipitous opportunity presented itself, and Piaget soon found himself working for Théodore Simon, co-author of the Binet-Simon intelligence scale. Simon placed him in Binet's laboratory, and set him to work standardizing Cyril Burt's reasoning tests on Parisian children. Piaget thought that the standardizing task was dull, and he never finished it. However, his clinical interactions with the children were not without interest. He began to notice that children of similar ages made similar types of mistakes, and it occurred to him that Simon, Binet and Burt might be asking the wrong question: Perhaps the key to understanding human intellectual development is not in what children get wrong, but how they get it wrong. It was clear to Piaget that childish reasoning is not merely less accurate than adult reasoning; it is qualitatively different (Wadsworth 1996). From this point forward, Piaget dedicated himself to answering the question "How does knowledge grow?" Piaget eventually came to believe that intelligence is a form of adaptation, wherein knowledge is constructed by each individual through the two complementary processes of assimilation and accommodation. He theorized that as children interact with their physical and social environments, they organize information into groups of interrelated ideas called "schemes". When children encounter something new, they must either assimilate it into an existing scheme or create an entirely new scheme to deal with it (Wadsworth 1996). Piaget also believed that intellectual development occurs in four distinct stages. The sensorimotor stage begins at birth, and lasts until the child is approximately two years old. At this stage, the child cannot form mental representations of objects that are outside his immediate view, so his intelligence develops through his motor interactions with his environment. The preoperational stage typically lasts until the child is 6 or 7. According to Piaget, this is the stage where true "thought" emerges. Preoperational children are able to make mental representations of unseen objects, but they cannot use deductive reasoning. The concrete operations stage follows, and lasts until the child is 11 or 12. Concrete operational children are able to use deductive reasoning, demonstrate conservation of number, and can differentiate their perspective from that of other people. Formal operations is the final stage. Its most salient feature is the ability to think abstractly.

The full post here

Friday, 19 February 2016

Super Humans - Gabriel See

   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.

   I find very interesting the way his parents are trying to support him (as is described in an article from 2011, in Seattle Times):

   "His parents, Jason and Valerie, want him to have a normal teenage upbringing, so for half the day Gabriel attends a small, arts-oriented junior-high school in the Lake Washington School District called Renaissance School of Art and Reasoning, where he takes dance, drama and language arts.  He started taking upper-level math classes at the UW in 2009, and in 2010 began taking graduate math classes; this quarter, he’s taking applied linear algebra. He’s on the YMCA Sammamish Swim Team, takes music classes and plays Ultimate Frisbee on Fridays. Quiet and reserved, Gabriel is most comfortable discussing advanced mathematics or molecular biology. He’s not good with questions about typical teenage pursuits, but he will explain to you the concepts he is studying in applied linear algebra this fall, if you are smart enough to understand him. When he’s not in class, he’s working through a stack of books at home; he keeps a list of everything he has read. He’s absorbed 52 textbooks on science and math: read the physics lectures of Richard Feynman, and books on robot programming, systems biology, immunobiology, fractals, Latin (a new passion), music theory and the work of Fibonacci, René Descartes, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, among others. He’s studied chaos theory, string theory, quantum mechanics and nuclear science. Along the way, he’s also devoured popular fiction and classic literature — Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and most of the works of William Shakespeare (“Not all of them,” he notes, modestly). He has a younger brother, Michael, 10, and the two boys are especially close, his mother said.

   Gabriel has a laser focus on math and science, but the UW’s Robinson Center program for early-entrance students — those younger than 15 — is not a good fit because he has already skipped over so much undergraduate work, his dad says. “Keeping him engaged is critical, and so far, reasonably successful,” said William Monahan, Gabriel’s Advanced Placement (AP) biology teacher at Eastlake High. In elementary school, Gabriel was placed in the district’s program for highly capable students, but it wasn’t until third grade that the adults around him started to realize the depths of his intellectual abilities. At age 8, he began teaching himself calculus and physics from sources he found on the Internet. Curious to know how much he was learning, his parents signed him up for the SAT; he scored a 720 out of 800 on the math portion, placing him in the 95th percentile for college-bound high-school students. That score plus Gabriel’s math notations — he had written out pages and pages of solutions to math and physics problems — sent the Sees to Elizabeth Sirjani, who was then the math chair at Eastlake. She confirmed that Gabriel had taught himself AP-level math and physics work on his own. “We started scrambling then,” said Phelan, of the Lake Washington district’s accelerated program. Gabriel began taking math and science at Eastlake, while remaining in elementary school for music, gym class, recess and library. When he was 9, he joined Monahan’s biology class, a college-level course usually taken by high-school juniors and seniors. Too small to see what was going on while sitting in a regular chair, Gabriel often ended up perched on a table, his short legs swinging in space, Monahan said. By November, he had finished reading the AP biology textbook on his own. He grasped the science quicker than students twice his age, and when it was time to do a biology lab, “he would get in there and tell the seniors, ‘Let me get it done,’ ” Monahan said. “It’s been, almost at every turn in the road, a unique experience,” he added. “It’s like a beautiful mind — we’re talking about something that’s pretty unique here.” His teachers say Gabriel is capable of digesting and storing information in great gulps, and then making connections with other things he had already learned. “Everything I threw at him, he just got,” said Melissa Nivala, who was a graduate student in the applied math department at the UW in 2007 when she began tutoring Gabriel in graduate-level math. “And he loved it. We would work until I was mentally exhausted. I would tell him, ‘OK, we need to stop, because I’m tired of thinking.’ “ Nivala would give Gabriel a textbook on a subject — say, chaos theory — and Gabriel would read the book in a few days. He could then answer specific questions and open-ended questions on the subject. He even remembered the exact page number in the book where certain formulas first appeared, Nivala said, hinting at a eidetic memory. For any parent whose child has unusual intellectual gifts, finding the right program is a challenge; for Gabriel’s parents, it’s been that process on steroids. In 2008, Jason See found a way for Gabriel to do research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. And in 2009, he persuaded professors in the UW’s Department of Bioengineering to let Gabriel join a team that was assembling an entry for MIT’s International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition for undergraduates. Jason See keeps a thick folder, filled with letters of recommendation from professors, test scores and transcripts, to help reinforce the somewhat hard-to-fathom story of his son’s accomplishments. “Gabriel’s dad is a pretty good advocate for him,” Phelan said. The iGEM competition has been Gabriel’s most public success, and it’s what caught the eye of Popular Science’s editors. “We originally had some other undergraduates interested in the project,” said postdoctoral student Sean Sleight. “He (Gabriel) pretty much intimidated them, because he was so brilliant. We kind of joke that he did more in one summer than a team of undergraduates.” With occasional help from bioengineering professor Herbert Sauro, Gabriel built a prototype model of a robot that could disperse small amounts of fluid into a plate of 96 wells. The greatest challenge was getting the robot to make tiny, precise movements in space — requiring Gabriel to puzzle out math formulas, and then write original computer programming that would allow the robot to move in three dimensions. Gabriel is quick to point out that he wasn’t successful right away: “The first one failed mostly because it was unstable.” The project required him to do three-dimensional trigonometry, which “is not elementary stuff — you do that in university,” Sauro said. “And he worked it out himself.” The project won a silver medal. “There was quite a bit of buzz that year at iGEM,” Sleight said. “Here’s this 11-year-old that turns everything on its head.” Gabriel’s machine could be built for about $750, much less than the $10,000 price tag for such machines, which would make it more affordable to startup companies and small universities. Because the interface is not user-friendly, though, it’s not a product that could be built for the mass market, Sauro said. Still, it hints at Gabriel’s potential — an intellect so powerful already that he can see unique solutions, or possibly find ways around problems that stump other researchers. “Maybe nobody will ever stamp his diploma, but he will be doing research that far exceeds what most people can comprehend,” Monahan said. "He’ll probably find a cure for cancer,” Sleight said. “Or something bigger.”

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Super Humans - Evan Ehrenberg

   Evan Ehrenberg, born in 1993, at age 16 started a PhD 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". Evan Ehrenberg grew up in California, and received his bachelors degree in cognitive science and computational modeling from UC Berkeley. Now a PhD student in MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Evan pursues research in computational neuroscience, attempting to describe how our brains operate using mathematical algorithms. Evan's thesis focuses on how the human brain learns to detect and recognize all of the faces we encounter in our day-to-day lives, with the hope that it will improve state-of-the-art computer vision and artificial intelligence. Evan was excited to join the Sinha lab at MIT not only for their work in vision science and psycho-physics, but also for their work abroad in India named Project Prakash, in which children with curable blindness are provided free surgery to grant them sight. Evan has been involved with the MIT+K12 program since the original video round, and has focused on educating the general public on how their brains work.

   I found funny and very interesting that he teach Star Wars related courses (about SW universe, but also about basic light-saber combat and not only). Maybe i will check some of them soon. 

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Super Humans - Colin Carlson

Colin Carlson (born 1996), 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. He plans to earn his PhD 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. Carlson is currently PhD student in the Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at University of California, Berkeley. At age of 19, he is mentioned in Forbes 30 under 30 in 2016. They say about him that "Carlson is already famous for graduating college at 15, but this “prodigy” isn’t content to rest on that achievement. The focus of his research? Parasites. And more particularly, how parasites–which are key to many ecosystems–will be impacted by climate change, an understudied aspect of ecology." Probably will will hear his name more in the following years.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Super Humans - Ainan Celeste Cawley

   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. He is a particularly talented type of child prodigy. This youngster has not only shown a large amount of talent in math and science, but also composed an entire musical score for a film. He also claims to be able to see movement in the form of colors, which his father coined as "velociperception." Sometimes being smart makes them a target. Ainan Celeste Cawley was bullied “extensively” during his Bukit Timah Primary School days, though he opened up about the incidents only “in recent months”, says writer-actor dad Valentine Cawley, 45. Ainan, 13, says: “Once, someone tripped me with his leg. I just picked myself up and left. “I did not teach myself to not care, I just don’t care. Unless they are serious in their words, why should I take them into consideration?” His mother is Singaporean artist Syahidah Osman, 34, and he has two brothers, Fintan, nine, and Tiarnan, seven. The family live in an apartment in Kuala Lumpur, where Ainan is in Taylor University’s American Degree Transfer Programme, which allows for flexible, broad-based learning. He is majoring in the sciences but doing everything from computer programming to theatre. Last year, he composed the score for a 15-minute short film for a film festival. Mr Cawley has learnt a lesson from his son not to “regiment” him. The boy began composing at six but when his parents arranged music lessons for him, he “wouldn’t touch the piano for the next six years”, says dad. Ainan says: “I do not enjoy rigorous and repetitive training, which was the way I was being taught then.” He is the son of ambidextrous portrait artist, Syahidah Osman Cawley and Valentine Cawley, the writer, actor, scientist. He is the world's only known Chemistry prodigy and a general scientific child prodigy.
On September 14th 2008, he set a world age record for the memorization of pi, reciting 518 digits, on camera. He was just 8 years and 9 months old. This is a feat that has never been equaled by any child: only young adults, or older, have recited this many digits. At just 8 years and 4 months old, he started studying degree level laboratory based Chemistry modules, at a Polytechnic. Most of his courses have been third year ones. He is in the Singapore Book of Records, for being the world's youngest O level holder. He passed Chemistry O level at 7 years and 1 month old. Ainan scored the music for the film, Reflection, when he had only recently turned 12 years old. Ainan was just 13 years old when he conceived, wrote, directed and edited The Sempiternal. Ainan is the youngest film-maker to ever show a film, in the ten year history of the Malaysian Shorts film festival. That makes him the youngest out of an estimated 500 film-makers (since it is a quarterly event). On December 12th 2013, Ainan released a music recording of one of his compositions, Renaissance, as a contribution to the charity album Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines, to raise money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Ainan had just turned 13 years old, when he composed the piece.

Personal Quotes:

The losers in World War II, are the winners in modern cars. 

In Physics, if your equation isn't simple, there is something wrong with your Universe. 

There is no such thing as bad Art, for if it is bad, it is no longer Art. 

Art causes a chemical reaction in the brain, that makes you think it is beautiful. Therefore, Art is a drug.

Singapore StraitsTimes

Friday, 12 February 2016

Super Humans - Tanishq Mathew Abraham

Tanishq Mathew Abraham (born 2003) is an American child prodigy with Indian ancestry. He joined the on-campus college Astronomy class at the age of 7 years, when he became the top student among his college classmates and received an A grade for the course. Before he graduated from high school at the age of 10 years, Tanishq earned A grades in 3 college astronomy courses. Eight year old Tanishq became the founding vice-president of the astronomy club at his college. He served 2 years as the VP of Physics & Astronomy club being actively involved in research projects, college talks and club leadership. His passion for astronomy led him to work on on-line astronomy projects, write astronomy articles that were published on NASA website and attend astronomy & NASA talks & conferences where he met and discussed with astronomers, astrophysicists,astronauts and Noble Prize winners. At the age of 8 years, he co-discovered supernovae, an exoplanet candidate and a solar storm watch using NASA data and an on-line line citizen science program . By the age of 9 years, he became the youngest to attend and speak at a NASA conference for which he received Special Mention Award for his poster presentation and rapid talk. His tweet last summer was fun and maybe will be also true, he want to be medic, researcher and president of United States. I would vote for him.

Bonus link

Super Humans - Jacob L. "Jake" Barnett

   Jacob L. "Jake" Barnett (born May 26, 1998) is an American physics student and child prodigy.  According to a memoir penned by his mother, he was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old and was home schooled by his parents. Barnett was admitted to the Perimeter Scholars International in 2013, a one-year non-degree master's level program at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. At the age of 15, he was the youngest student admitted to the program since its inaugural class four years prior in 2009. He completed the program in 2014 and has subsequently been listed as a doctoral student at the Perimeter Institute. He is currently having a job researching in astrophysics.  

Here is some links to more recent articles about him:

Super Humans - Luis Balbino Arroyo Colón

   Luis Balbino Arroyo Colón[a] (born 1990) is a child prodigy from Moca, Puerto Rico, who, at the age of 11, became the youngest person ever to finish secondary education in Puerto Rico and to be admitted to a university in Puerto Rico. Arroyo graduated in 2006 at the age of 16 with a bachelor's degree in physics, and then completed a master's degree in the physics and another in economics at the age of 18, all from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. He then obtained a juris doctor from the Eugenio María de Hostos School of Law and passed the bar exam at the age of 22 in the year 2012. As of 2014 Balbino Arroyo serves as a legislative advisor for Ángel Rosa in the 25th Senate of Puerto Rico. He serves as Chair of the Commission on Government Affairs and as Chair of the Commission on Economic Development.

I am proud of myself - Ali Baba version

Only 2 links to prove it.

Link 1 The science behind the romantic kiss

Link 2 Why creative people need Lucid Dreaming as a hobby


Sunday, 7 February 2016

Analogies between intelligence and happiness

I just connected some dots between my recent 'study of happiness' and intelligence. Similarities that i try to understand, because i think it is something there, and this is what i found. The genetic factors underlie about 50-60% percent of the difference in intelligence among individuals. The genetics factors that determine the set point for happiness are responsible for 50% of our happiness, more or less. We are all born with a determined set point for happiness, as we are all born with a determined set point for our IQ level (+/- 5%). Circumstances or environment are responsible for about 40% of our intelligence (not yet determined how much is given by the external factors and how much by the internal factors - training and learning). 10-15% of our happiness is influenced by circumstantial factors, while about 40% is the result on intentional activity. Out of this, cognitive and behavioral give what seems to be a temporary boost, that is longer than the circumstantial temporary boost, probably due to the Hedonic Adaptation, faster in circumstantial cases than in intentional activity. Volitional activity is the one intentional activity that seems to create a more permanent boost, and given the apparently transferable knowledge between increasing happiness and increasing intelligence increase and decrease (even if infinitesimal as value), i will try to explore this hypothesis even more. Until now everyone was thinking that the set point for happiness and the set point for intelligence are usually immovable, and every boost is just temporary, because we tend to come back to the equilibrium value, but some recent researches (2001-2005) found that in some cases the increases are sustainable and the boost seems to be almost permanent.  This is the result of more than 35 studies and researches combined in only few phrases, if you understand what i mean, you know what to do next.

I would appreciate if you want to share with me, any help is well received.
Good luck!

Super Humans - Taylor Wilson

   Taylor Wilson (born May 7, 1994) is an American nuclear physicist and science advocate. In 2008, at age 14, he became the youngest person to produce nuclear fusion, using a fusor. Taylor Wilson was born in 1994 in Texarkana, Arkansas to Kenneth and Tiffany Wilson. Kenneth is the owner of a Coca-Cola bottling plant, and Tiffany was a Yoga instructor. Wilson was initially interested in rocketry and space science, before entering the field of nuclear science at age 10. He had a lot of support from his parents. During high school Wilson attended both the Davidson Academy of Nevada and the University of Nevada, Reno where he was given a laboratory to conduct his fusion research. He resides in Reno, Nevada. In June 2012, Wilson was awarded a Thiel Fellowship. The two-year $100,000.00 fellowship requires recipients to forgo college for the duration of the fellowship. In 2008, Wilson achieved nuclear fusion using an Inertial Electrostatic Confinement device which was a variation of the fusor, invented by Philo T. Farnsworth in 1964. He utilized the flux of neutrons from a deuterium-deuterium fusion reaction to conduct nuclear experiments, as well as studied novel fusion fuels inside the IEC device. In March 2012, Wilson spoke at a TED conference regarding the building of his fusion reactor. Along with the IEC reactors, Wilson has conducted fusion research using Dense Plasma Focus devices he also constructed and developed nuclear diagnostics for basic fusion research. In May 2010, Wilson entered the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California, and won several awards for his project titled "Fission Vision: The Detection of Prompt and Delayed Induced Fission Gamma Radiation, and the Application to the Detection of Proliferated Nuclear Materials". In May 2011, Wilson entered his radiation detector in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California, against a field of 1,500 competitors and won a US$50,000 award. The project, “Countering Nuclear Terrorism: Novel Active and Passive Techniques for Detecting Nuclear Threats”, won the First Place Award in the Physics and Astronomy Category, Best of Category Award, and the Intel Young Scientist Award. Wilson stated he hopes to test and rapidly field the devices to US ports for counterterrorism purposes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Energy offered federal funding to Wilson concerning research Wilson has conducted in building inexpensive Cherenkov radiation detectors; Wilson has declined on an interim basis due to pending patent issues. Traditional Cherenkov detectors usually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (USD), while Wilson invented a working detector that cost a few hundred dollars.

Super Humans - Mohammad Abdus Salam

   Mohammad Abdus Salam (Punjabi, Urdu: محمد عبد السلام‎; pronounced [əbd̪ʊs səlɑm]; 29 January 1926 – 21 November 1996), was a Pakistani theoretical physicist. Salam, a major figure in 20th century theoretical physics, shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg for his contribution to the landmark electroweak unification. He was the first (and until Malala Yousufzai the only) Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize, the first Muslim to win a Nobel prize in science and the second Muslim Nobel Laureate (after Anwar Sadat of Egypt).

   Salam was a top level science advisor to the Government of Pakistan from 1960 to 1974, a position from which he played a major and influential role in the development of the country's science infrastructure. Salam was responsible not only for contributing to major developments in theoretical and particle physics, but also for promoting the broadening and deepening of high calibre scientific research in his country. He was the founding director of the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), and responsible for the establishment of the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) in the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). As Science Advisor, Salam played an integral role in Pakistan's development of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and may have contributed as well to development of atomic bomb project of Pakistan in 1972; for this, he is viewed as the "scientific father" of this programme. In 1974, Abdus Salam departed from his country, in protest, after the Pakistan Parliament passed a controversial parliamentary bill declaring the Ahmadiyya Community as not-Islamic. In 1998, following the country's nuclear tests, the Government of Pakistan issued a commemorative stamp, as a part of "Scientists of Pakistan", to honour the services of Salam. Salam's major and notable achievements include the Pati–Salam model, magnetic photon, vector meson, Grand Unified Theory, work on supersymmetry and, most importantly, electroweak theory, for which he was awarded the most prestigious award in physics – the Nobel Prize. Salam made a major contribution in quantum field theory and in the advancement of Mathematics at Imperial College London. With his student, Riazuddin, Salam made important contributions to the modern theory on neutrinos, neutron stars and black holes, as well as the work on modernising the quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. As a teacher and science promoter, Salam is remembered as a founder and scientific father of mathematical and theoretical physics in Pakistan during his term as the chief scientific advisor to the president. Salam heavily contributed to the rise of Pakistani physics to the physics community in the world. Even until shortly before his death, Salam continued to contribute to physics and tirelessly to advocate for the development of science in Third-World countries.

   Abdus Salam was born to Chaudhry Muhammad Hussain and Hajira Hussain, into an Ahmadi Muslim Punjabi family. Chaudhry Muhammad Hussain was Jat and Hajirah a Kakkezai. His own grandfather, Gul Muhammad, was a religious scholar apart from being a physician. Salam's father was an education officer in the Department of Education of Punjab State in a poor farming district. Salam  established very earlya reputation throughout the Punjab and later at the University of Cambridge for outstanding brilliance and academic achievement. At age 14, Salam scored the highest marks ever recorded for the matriculation (entrance) examination at the Punjab University. He won a full scholarship to the Government College University of Lahore, Punjab State. Salam was a versatile scholar, interested in Urdu and English literature in which he excelled. But he soon picked up Mathematics as his subject of concentration. Salam's mentor and tutors wanted him to become an English teacher, but Salam decided to stick with Mathematics As a fourth-year student there, he published his work on Srinivasa Ramanujan's problems in mathematics, and took his B.A. in Mathematics in 1944. His father wanted him to join Indian Civil Service. In those days, the Indian Civil Service was the highest aspiration for young university graduates and civil servants occupied a respected place in the civil society. Respecting his father's wish, Salam tried for the Indian Railways but did not qualify for the service as he failed the medical optical tests because he had worn spectacles since an early age. The results further concluded that Salam failed a mechanical test required by the railway engineers to gain a commission in Indian Railways, and moreover that Salam was too young to compete for the job. Therefore, Indian Railways rejected Abdus Salam's job application. While in Lahore, Abdus Salam went on to attend the graduate school of Government College University. He received his MA in Mathematics from the Government College University in 1946. That same year, he was awarded a scholarship to St John's College, Cambridge, where he completed a BA degree with Double First-Class Honours in Mathematics and Physics in 1949. In 1950, he received the Smith's Prize from Cambridge University for the most outstanding pre-doctoral contribution to Physics. After finishing his degrees, Fred Hoyle advised Salam to spend another year in the Cavendish Laboratory to do research in experimental physics, but Salam had no patience for carrying out long experiments in the laboratory. Salam returned to Jhang, Punjab (now part of Pakistan) and renewed his scholarship and returned to the United Kingdom to do his doctorate. He obtained a PhD degree in Theoretical Physics from the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge. His doctoral thesis contained comprehensive and fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics. By the time it was published in 1951, it had already gained him an international reputation and the Adams Prize. During his doctoral studies, his mentors challenged him to solve within one year an intractable problem which had defied such great minds as Dirac and Feynman. Within six months, Salam had found a solution for the renormalisation of meson theory. As he proposed the solution at the Cavendish Laboratory, Salam had attracted the attention of Bethe, Oppenheimer and Dirac.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Super Humans - Mikaela Irene Fudolig

Mikaela Irene Fudolig (born 1991 or 1992) is known for being a Filipina former child prodigy. Fudolig graduated at 16 years old as a summa cum laude with a B.S. in Physics with a general weighted average of 1.099 from the University of the Philippines. She has also received a degree from the National Institute of Physics. She was only 11 when she entered college under an experimental program to test the impact of gifted children entering a university on their emotional and social development. Fudolig studied in Quezon City Science High School before being pulled into the test program. She is currently a PhD student and professor at the same university—with interest in econophysics, mathematical modeling of behavior in systems, and biological systems. She actively encourages her graduates and other university students in the Philippines to stay and rebuild the country as “brave pioneers” instead of leaving for foreign shores.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Super Humans - Enrico Fermi

   Enrico Fermi (Italian: [enˈriko ˈfermi]; 29 September 1901 – 28 November 1954) was an Italian physicist, who created the world's first nuclear reactor, the Chicago Pile-1. He has been called the "architect of the nuclear age", and the "architect of the atomic bomb". He was one of the few physicists to excel both theoretically and experimentally. Fermi held several patents related to the use of nuclear power, and was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on induced radioactivity by neutron bombardment and the discovery of transuranic elements. He made significant contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics. Fermi's first major contribution was to statistical mechanics. After Wolfgang Pauli announced his exclusion principle in 1925, Fermi followed with a paper in which he applied the principle to an ideal gas, employing a statistical formulation now known as Fermi–Dirac statistics. Today, particles that obey the exclusion principle are called "fermions". Later Pauli postulated the existence of an uncharged invisible particle emitted along with an electron during beta decay, to satisfy the law of conservation of energy. Fermi took up this idea, developing a model that incorporated the postulated particle, which he named the "neutrino". His theory, later referred to as Fermi's interaction and still later as weak interaction, described one of the four fundamental forces of nature. Through experiments inducing radioactivity with recently discovered neutrons, Fermi discovered that slow neutrons were more easily captured than fast ones, and developed the Fermi age equation to describe this. After bombarding thorium and uranium with slow neutrons, he concluded that he had created new elements; although he was awarded the Nobel Prize for this discovery, the new elements were subsequently revealed to be fission products. Fermi left Italy in 1938 to escape new Italian Racial Laws that affected his Jewish wife Laura Capon. He emigrated to the United States where he worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II. Fermi led the team that designed and built Chicago Pile-1, which went critical on 2 December 1942, demonstrating the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. He was on hand when the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, went critical in 1943, and when the B Reactor at the Hanford Site did so the next year. At Los Alamos he headed F Division, part of which worked on Edward Teller's thermonuclear "Super" bomb. He was present at the Trinity test on 16 July 1945, where he used his Fermi method to estimate the bomb's yield. After the war, Fermi served under J. Robert Oppenheimer on the General Advisory Committee, which advised the Atomic Energy Commission on nuclear matters and policy. Following the detonation of the first Soviet fission bomb in August 1949, he strongly opposed the development of a hydrogen bomb on both moral and technical grounds. He was among the scientists who testified on Oppenheimer's behalf at the 1954 hearing that resulted in the denial of the latter's security clearance. Fermi did important work in particle physics, especially related to pions and muons, and he speculated that cosmic rays arose through material being accelerated by magnetic fields in interstellar space. Many awards, concepts, and institutions are named after Fermi, including the Enrico Fermi Award, the Enrico Fermi Institute, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station, and the synthetic element fermium (one of just over a dozen elements named after people). 
   Enrico Fermi was born in Rome on 29 September 1901. He was the third child of Alberto Fermi, a division head (Capo Divisione) in the Ministry of Railways, and Ida de Gattis, an elementary school teacher. His only sister, Maria, was two years older than him, and his brother Giulio was a year older. After the two boys were sent to a rural community to be wet nursed, Enrico rejoined his family in Rome when he was two and a half. Although he was baptised a Roman Catholic in accordance with his grandparents' wishes, his family, like most Italian families, was not particularly religious; Enrico was an agnostic throughout his adult life. As a young boy he shared the same interests as his brother Giulio, building electric motors and playing with electrical and mechanical toys. Giulio died during the administration of an anesthetic for an operation on a throat abscess in 1915. One of Fermi's first sources for his study of physics was a book he found at the local market at Campo de' Fiori in Rome. Published in 1840, the 900-page Elementorum physicae mathematicae, was written in Latin by Jesuit Father Andrea Caraffa, a professor at the Collegio Romano. It covered mathematics, classical mechanics, astronomy, optics, and acoustics, insofar as these disciplines were understood when the book was written. Fermi befriended another scientifically inclined student, Enrico Persico, and together the two worked on scientific projects such as building gyroscopes and trying to accurately measure the acceleration of Earth's gravity. Fermi's interest in physics was further encouraged by his father's colleague Adolfo Amidei, who gave him several books on physics and mathematics, which he read and assimilated quickly. Fermi graduated from high school in July 1918 and, at Amidei's urging, applied to the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. Having lost one son, his parents were reluctant to let him move away from home for four years while attending the Sapienza University of Rome, but in the end they acquiesced. The school provided free lodging for students, but candidates had to take a difficult entrance exam that included an essay. The given theme was "Specific characteristics of Sounds". The 17-year-old Fermi chose to derive and solve the partial differential equation for a vibrating rod, applying Fourier analysis in the solution. The examiner, Professor Giuseppe Pittarelli from the Sapienza University of Rome, interviewed Fermi and praised that he would become an outstanding physicist in the future. Fermi achieved first place in the classification of the entrance exam. During his years at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Fermi teamed up with a fellow student named Franco Rasetti with whom he would indulge in light-hearted pranks and who would later become Fermi's close friend and collaborator. In Pisa, Fermi was advised by the director of the physics laboratory, Luigi Puccianti, who acknowledged that there was little that he could teach Fermi, and frequently asked Fermi to teach him something instead. Fermi's knowledge of quantum physics reached such a high level that Puccianti asked him to organize seminars on the topic. During this time Fermi learned tensor calculus, a mathematical technique invented by Gregorio Ricci and Tullio Levi-Civita that was needed to demonstrate the principles of general relativity. Fermi initially chose mathematics as his major, but soon switched to physics. He remained largely self-taught, studying general relativity, quantum mechanics, and atomic physics. In September 1920, Fermi was admitted to the Physics department. Since there were only three students in the department—Fermi, Rasetti, and Nello Carrara—Puccianti let them freely use the laboratory for whatever purposes they chose. Fermi decided that they should research X-ray crystallography, and the three worked to produce a Laue photograph—an X-ray photograph of a crystal. During 1921, his third year at the university, Fermi published his first scientific works in the Italian journal Nuovo Cimento. The first was entitled "On the dynamics of a rigid system of electrical charges in translational motion" (Sulla dinamica di un sistema rigido di cariche elettriche in moto traslatorio). A sign of things to come was that the mass was expressed as a tensor—a mathematical construct commonly used to describe something moving and changing in three-dimensional space. In classical mechanics, mass is a scalar quantity, but in relativity it changes with velocity. The second paper was "On the electrostatics of a uniform gravitational field of electromagnetic charges and on the weight of electromagnetic charges" (Sull'elettrostatica di un campo gravitazionale uniforme e sul peso delle masse elettromagnetiche). Using general relativity, Fermi showed that a charge has a weight equal to U/c2, where U was the electrostatic energy of the system, and c is the speed of light. The first paper seemed to point out a contradiction between the electrodynamic theory and the relativistic one concerning the calculation of the electromagnetic masses, as the former predicted a value of 4/3 U/c2. Fermi addressed this the next year in a paper "Concerning a contradiction between electrodynamic and the relativistic theory of electromagnetic mass" in which he showed that the apparent contradiction was a consequence of relativity. This paper was sufficiently well-regarded that it was translated into German and published in the German scientific journal Physikalische Zeitschrift in 1922. That year, Fermi submitted his article "On the phenomena occurring near a world line" (Sopra i fenomeni che avvengono in vicinanza di una linea oraria) to the Italian journal I Rendiconti dell'Accademia dei Lincei. In this article he examined the Principle of Equivalence, and introduced the so-called "Fermi coordinates". He proved that on a world line close to the time line, space behaves as if it were a Euclidean space. 
A light cone is a three-dimensional surface of all possible light rays arriving at and departing from a point in spacetime. Here, it is depicted with one spatial dimension suppressed. The time line is the vertical axis. Fermi submitted his thesis, "A theorem on probability and some of its applications" (Un teorema di calcolo delle probabilità ed alcune sue applicazioni), to the Scuola Normale Superiore in July 1922, and received his laurea at the unusually young age of 21. The thesis was on X-ray diffraction images. Theoretical physics was not yet considered a discipline in Italy, and the only thesis that would have been accepted was one on experimental physics. For this reason, Italian physicists were slow in embracing the new ideas like relativity coming from Germany. Since Fermi was quite at home in the lab doing experimental work, this did not pose insurmountable problems for him. While writing the appendix for the Italian edition of the book Fundamentals of Einstein Relativity by August Kopff in 1923, Fermi was the first to point out that hidden inside the famous Einstein equation (E = mc2) was an enormous amount of nuclear potential energy to be exploited. "It does not seem possible, at least in the near future", he wrote, "to find a way to release these dreadful amounts of energy—which is all to the good because the first effect of an explosion of such a dreadful amount of energy would be to smash into smithereens the physicist who had the misfortune to find a way to do it." In 1924 Fermi was initiated to the Freemasonry in the Masonic Lodge "Adriano Lemmi" of the Grand Orient of Italy. Fermi decided to travel abroad, and spent a semester studying under Max Born at the University of Göttingen, where he met Werner Heisenberg and Pascual Jordan. Fermi then studied in Leiden with Paul Ehrenfest from September to December 1924 on a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation obtained through the intercession of the mathematician Vito Volterra. Here Fermi met Hendrik Lorentz and Albert Einstein, and became good friends with Samuel Goudsmit and Jan Tinbergen. From January 1925 to late 1926, Fermi taught mathematical physics and theoretical mechanics at the University of Florence, where he teamed up with Rasetti to conduct a series of experiments on the effects of magnetic fields on mercury vapour. He also participated in seminars at the Sapienza University of Rome, giving lectures on quantum mechanics and solid state physics. While giving lectures of new quantum mechanics based on remarkable accuracy of predictions of Schrödinger equation, the Italian physicist would often say, "It has no business to fit so well!". After Wolfgang Pauli announced his exclusion principle in 1925, Fermi responded with a paper "On the quantisation of the perfect monoatomic gas" (Sulla quantizzazione del gas perfetto monoatomico), in which he applied the exclusion principle to an ideal gas. The paper was especially notable for Fermi's statistical formulation, which describes the distribution of particles in systems of many identical particles that obey the exclusion principle. This was independently developed soon after by the British physicist Paul Dirac, who also showed how it was related to the Bose–Einstein statistics. Accordingly, it is now known as Fermi–Dirac statistics. Following Dirac, particles that obey the exclusion principle are today called "fermions", while those that do not are called "bosons".

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Super Humans - Shakuntala Devi

    Shakuntala Devi (4 November 1929 – 21 April 2013) was an Indian writer and mental calculator, popularly known as the "human computer". A child prodigy, her talents eventually earned her a place in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records. As a writer, Devi wrote a number of books, including novels as well as texts about mathematics, puzzles, and astrology. She also wrote what is considered the first study of homosexuality in India; it treated homosexuality in an understanding light and is considered pioneering. Shakuntala Devi was born in Bengaluru, India, to an orthodox Kannada Brahmin family. Her father rebelled against becoming a temple priest and instead joined a circus where he worked as a trapeze artist, lion tamer, tightrope walker and magician. He discovered his daughter's ability to memorize numbers while teaching her a card trick when she was about three years old. Her father left the circus and took her on road shows that displayed her ability at calculation. She did this without any formal education. By the age of six she demonstrated her calculation and memorization abilities at the University of Mysore. In 1944, Devi moved to London with her father. Devi traveled the world demonstrating her arithmetic talents, including a tour of Europe in 1950 and a performance in New York City in 1976. In 1988, she traveled to the US to have her abilities studied by Arthur Jensen, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Jensen tested her performance of several tasks, including the calculation of large numbers. Examples of the problems presented to Devi included calculating the cube root of 61,629,875 and the seventh root of 170,859,375. Jensen reported that Devi provided the solution to the aforementioned problems (395 and 15, respectively) before Jensen could copy them down in his notebook. Jensen published his findings in the academic journal Intelligence in 1990. In 1977, at Southern Methodist University, she was asked to give the 23rd root of a 201-digit number; she answered in 50 seconds.Her answer—546,372,891—was confirmed by calculations done at the US Bureau of Standards by the UNIVAC 1101 computer, for which a special program had to be written to perform such a large calculation. On 18 June 1980, she demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers—7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779—picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College London. She correctly answered 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in 28 seconds. This event is mentioned in the 1982 Guinness Book of Records. Writer Steven Smith states that the result is "so far superior to anything previously reported that it can only be described as unbelievable". She returned to India in the mid-1960s and married Paritosh Banerji, an officer of the Indian Administrative Service from Kolkata. They were divorced in 1979. In 1980, she contested in the Lok Sabha elections as an independent, from Bombay South and from Medak in Andhra Pradesh. In Medak she stood against Indira Gandhi, saying she wanted to "defend the people of Medak from being fooled by Mrs. Gandhi"; she stood ninth, with 6514 votes (1.47% of the votes). Devi returned to Bengaluru in the early 1980s. In addition to her work as a mental calculator, Devi was an astrologer and an author of several books, including cookbooks and novels.