Friday, September 07, 2007

I Wouldn't Worry

Hothousing of prodigies is always a problem but some take it in their stride easier than others. Like this 9 year old who says that his university math class is too easy for him.

A nine-year-old mathematics prodigy has become Hong Kong's youngest undergraduate, waltzing through his first day at university saying classes were too easy.

March Boedihardjo, an Indonesian-Chinese boy resident in Hong Kong, was accepted by Hong Kong's Baptist University to study for a master's degree after gaining straight As in entrance A-level exams usually taken at 17 or 18.

"It was too easy," Boedihardjo told reporters after attending a convocation ceremony in a pint-sized black-gown and his first day of classes Tuesday, adding that he'd already learnt the subject matter a year or two ago.

The university has designed a five-year program for the child, but it has stirred controversy among some education experts who say he might experience stunted personal and social development as a result.

Yes, I can see the concern over the social development and so on, but the thing is that such a talent for math is ectremely rare: and mathematicians tend to do their best work before they are 30. So there's a huge amount that he needs to learn and learn now in order to have a few productive years at the frontier of the discipline.

It's also, somewhat unkindly, true that those with this level of math ability always have problems with social development anyway.

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