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  1. #1
    Friendlyman is offline Registered User
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    Question Youngest PhDs and Professors ever

    I heard that some gifted kids get PhDs very soon (at teenage years or so) and this happens relatively often.

    I am curious about the people who got their PhDs and Professorships at the earliest ages. Anybody has any information on that?

    Thanks for any inputs.

  2. #2
    John Bear is offline Senior Member
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    Last year, Time Magazine had a story on Sho Yano, who entered a combined MD/PhD program at the University of Chicago School of Medicine at the age of eleven.

    At Michigan State, I had the privilege of working for Dr. Elizabeth Drews, a specialist in higher education for very young gifted children. There were 5 or 6 undergraduates under the age of ten at State as full-time students, but there was no publicity sought for this program, nor has much been written about it.

    I worked with a young man who was a young-looking 9-year-old sophomore in biology. He had a rich life as a child as well, playing in Little League and enjoying the company of kids his own age. Finest moment: Mike was introduced to a class of teachers of gifted children and chatted with them. One teacher was a little unctuous. She identified herself as a biology teacher and asked Mike if he knew anything about the systems of the human body. He said yes. She asked which system was his favorite. He looked her in the eye and said, "Well, if I said 'reproductive' you'd probably giggle, so I'll say 'digestive.'"

    The last I heard, he completed his PhD at 16, and was studying for the priesthood. Go figure.

    John Bear
    One-time Director of the
    Center for the Gifted Child
    in San Francisco

  3. #3
    Anthony Pina is offline Registered User
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    As far as I have been able to determine, 15 year-old Alia Sabur is currently..."the nation’s youngest PhD candidate and is pursuing her doctorate in nanotechnology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated summa cum laude from New York State University at Stony Brook with her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics when she was 14."

    http://www.desertnews.com/2004/augus...S_Prodigy.html

  4. #4
    Tom Head is offline Registered User
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    Daniel Dennett earned his Oxford D.Phil. at 20, Theodore Adorno finished his doctorate at 21, and Condoleezza Rice wasn't much older than that when she got hers--but that 11-year-old kid who's doing the combined MD/PhD makes them all look like slackers. Very impressive stuff.


    Cheers,
    [url=http://www.tomhead.net]Tom Head[/url]
    B.A. (Liberal Arts) '96 / Excelsior College (USNY/Regents)
    M.A. (Humanities) '00 / California State University, Dominguez Hills
    Ph.D. student (Philosophy of Religion/Interdisciplinary Studies) / Edith Cowan University, Australia

  5. #5
    Tom57 is offline Registered User
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    Charles Fefferman got his PhD in math at 20, and was a full time professor at Univ. of Chicago at 22. He won the Fields medal at 29.

    Noam Elkies did a PhD in math at 21, and was Harvard's youngest full professor ever at 26.

    Math has a lot of such characters. You don't necessarily need to do years of research - merely solve a long standing problem. A dissertation might be less than 30 pages.

  6. #6
    Ted Heiks is offline Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member
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    Originally posted by John Bear
    Last year, Time Magazine had a story on Sho Yano, who entered a combined MD/PhD program at the University of Chicago School of Medicine at the age of eleven.

    At Michigan State, I had the privilege of working for Dr. Elizabeth Drews, a specialist in higher education for very young gifted children. There were 5 or 6 undergraduates under the age of ten at State as full-time students, but there was no publicity sought for this program, nor has much been written about it.

    I worked with a young man who was a young-looking 9-year-old sophomore in biology. He had a rich life as a child as well, playing in Little League and enjoying the company of kids his own age. Finest moment: Mike was introduced to a class of teachers of gifted children and chatted with them. One teacher was a little unctuous. She identified herself as a biology teacher and asked Mike if he knew anything about the systems of the human body. He said yes. She asked which system was his favorite. He looked her in the eye and said, "Well, if I said 'reproductive' you'd probably giggle, so I'll say 'digestive.'"

    The last I heard, he completed his PhD at 16, and was studying for the priesthood. Go figure.

    John Bear
    One-time Director of the
    Center for the Gifted Child
    in San Francisco
    One of my heroes, Charles Homer Haskins (1870-1937), Professor of Mediaeval History at Harvard University (1902-1931), earned his bachelor's degree at Johns Hopkins University at age 16 and his PhD when not yet twenty. I'm so disappointed to learn of what a slacker he was!
    Theo the Educated Derelict
    BA, History/Political Science, Western State College of Colorado, 1984
    MBA, Entrepreneurship, City University of Seattle, 1992
    MBA, Marketing, City University of Seattle, 1993

    Politics is made from two words: "poly" meaning "many" and "ticks" meaning "blood-sucking insects."

  7. #7
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    Originally posted by Tom57
    Math has a lot of such characters. You don't necessarily need to do years of research - merely solve a long standing problem.
    "Merely"? Knock yourself out, Tom, I'd sooner write a thesis. :)

    -=Steve=-

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  9. #8
    plantagenet is offline Registered User
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    Sir William Bragg was appointed to a named chair (Elder Professor of Physics) at the University of Adelaide at the age of 24. He later went on to win the 1915 Nobel Prize for Physics (with his son Sir Laurence) and became President of the Royal Society.

  10. #9
    plantagenet is offline Registered User
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    Originally posted by plantagenet
    Sir William Bragg was appointed to a named chair (Elder Professor of Physics) at the University of Adelaide at the age of 24. He later went on to win the 1915 Nobel Prize for Physics (with his son Sir Laurence) and became President of the Royal Society.
    He was actually professor of Mathematics and Physics.

  11. #10
    aic712 is offline Registered User
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    The youngest PH.D I have ever seen is Dr. Kevin Chouinard, he teaches mathematics/calculus at Northern Va Community college, he is 27.

    I had the pleasure of being in one of his classes, and I have never seen someone so excited about a subject, he was also very professional, and very approachable when it came to questions.

  12. #11
    Mike is or am is offline Registered User
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    Norbert Wiener received his PhD at age 18 from Harvard. . . famous for cybernetics and a Nobel Prize, author of _The Human Use of Human Beings_ His father was a philologist.

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