Jacob (Jake) Barnett was 12-years-old when he sat down with Morley Safer of 60 Minutes in January 2012 for a remarkable feature profile. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, Jake was having enormous trouble with school — the more he attended, the more he began to turn inward. Jacob’s mother describes that she was afraid of trying to pull him out of school. “For a parent, it’s terrifying to fly against the advice of the professionals. But I knew in my heart that if Jake stayed in special ed, he would slip away.” Jacob was not thriving in special ed classes, and he kept turning deeper into himself and was uncommunicative with other people.
Jake’s doctors prescribed medical treatment, and when he wasn’t in therapy his mother noticed him doing amazing things. “He would create maps all over our floor using Q-tips. They would be maps of places we’ve visited and he would memorize every street.” Jake dropped out of elementary school in the 5th grade, and at age 8 he started taking college classes at IUPUI. At age nine, while playing with shapes, he built a series of mathematical models that expanded Einstein’s field of relativity, which was described by a Princeton University professor as ground-breaking. At age 9 he self taught and finished all high school math in 2 weeks. At age 12, Jacob enrolled in university full-time, and it was around then that he published his first physics paper. Jake finished his Master’s at 13, and was accepted to the prestigious Perimeter Institute For Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario at 15, where he and his family currently live.
“There are a lot of people that appear to be amazed by my story, but in my opinion I’m just a 15-year-old who’s very motivated about his subject and got started early and I know what I want to do,” Jacob told CTV News from his new home in Waterloo. Jacob’s IQ is higher than Albert Einstein‘s, and experts believe his original theory in astrophysics is so important there is almost a 100% chance it will earn him a Nobel Prize in the future. You can pick up your own copy of Jacob’s mom’s book The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism by visiting Amazon, and to learn much more about Jacob — including his charity Jacob’s Place which helps children on the autism spectrum — be sure to visit JacobBarnett.com.
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