Adam Konantovich, Mystery Man #2

My name is Patrick Martin Benoit (not real name). I am a private investigator in Geneva and Brussels and former journalist in Geneva.

Adam Konantovich (Pseudonym) also followed suit at the age of 23, by leveraging option strategies in the Balkan economies of transition making over 300% returns a year across almost half of Europe. Even by the age of thirteen, he had actualized his intellect. Showing signs of it being greater than Carl Friedrich Gauss himself, who is supposedly an ancestor so is Walter Pitts. A man who discovered every major mathematical results years and decades before his contemporaries and made a wealth of advances beyond that approximated to be a 150 years of mathematics (G.Waldo Dunnington | ET Bell), most of the equations in physics are also Gauss’s approximately more than 50%. He was the first to merge time and space in mathematical investigations and mathematics became very abstract after his presence. Adam had won an architectural competition to design Dublin’s new Opera house, beat Gary Kasparov and Bobby Fischer in an online tournament (1997), had over twenty-seven patents which made him $71.25 M which he invested in South Africa’s real estate housing boom from 1997 to 2002 that grew 195%.

He had a few paintings that were of permanent Boston Museum collection, built automated trading systems with Sharpe Ratios over 3.0 implemented with money management systems, risk modelling, and system redundancies that made him millions more from trading utilizing averages in Brownian Motion and quantum global numbers. He went to a Music Conservatory for a few years, then went to Ecole Normale Superieure where he scored the concours in every subject, being allowed to forfeit all undergraduate courses. He never did finish though he took up a triple major, he lamented that any traditional system would never be faster than autodidactism. He has inspired popular culture in many ways, Matt Damon’s Good Will Hunting (as he is related to Walter Pitts), Ted Chiang’s Understand, Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl. Many researchers have written about the philosophical implications of his work like John Maynard Smith.

The quotes by two different medical minds who studied him confirm this.

This is a book about six unusual children,” writes David Henry Feldman at the beginning of Nature’s Gambit. “How unusual?” one might ask. Consider, for example, the case of the pseudonymous Adam Konantovich. Within three months of his birth, Feldman reports, Adam was speaking in grammatically correct sentences (and in abstract puns “Mom, the ocean is waving at me.” in German). By the age of six months, he was carrying on “complex conversations,” and by the time he reached his first birthday, he was reading simple books and correcting his mother’s spelling. When Feldman first met him, Adam, who had by then attained the advanced age of three and one-half years, was reading, writing, and speaking several languages, studying mathematics (graduate-level), and composing for the guitar and the violin. Clearly, this child’s development was sufficiently atypical to warrant Feldman’s use of the term unusual. However, it is not Feldman’s intention merely to parade Adam and the five other prodigies whose study constitutes the bulk of this book in… (preview truncated at 150 words.)
Some of these children learn so fast, it seems that they are born knowing all there is to learn, and then they only need to be reminded of something to recall it to current status in their minds. They learn instantaneously, as soon as they hear of a topic (Dahlberg 1992).

They understand and think with extraordinary rapidity and delicacy, remembering everything. Any discussion of the nature of intellectual effort in any field is difficult, unless it presupposes an easy, routine familiarity with that field for the interlocutor or else he’s a Gulliver attending to a Lilliputian.

(Page 229) If they were the type of math student who reinvented math as they did each problem, they were usually correct. This latter type of student often did not use paper and pencil, but did most of the work mentally. Some of these exceptional math students were so adept at seeing to the core of a problem that they did not know the sequential steps taken by most other people. They just saw the answer instantaneously. This type of insight is a special strength for the creative mathematically gifted child. One special aspect of this mathematical insight was that they could guess answers with exceptional accuracy. However, on well-known problems, some made computation errors though they knew the procedure. This tended to be the result of attention problems or problems with working memory. For him it stemmed from boredom. His frightening ease with the substance behind mathematics, was like Newton’s who could hold any problem in his head in pure logic until it revealed its secret then dress it up as the supreme technician he was.

Feldman (1986) described the learning style of Adam as both nonlinear and omnivorous in his desire for knowledge. His style is further described as being “non-Western” and untraditional so that a regular school program did not work for him. Adam grasped concepts holistically and intuitively. Once he acquired the basic (“Theoretic”) framework, he filled in the particulars. His parents thought he first developed theory, then learned basic facts and skills. Later, he questioned basic assumptions about theory. Adam had a number of ongoing interests which he explored at increasing levels of complexity including symbol systems (cartography and languages), music, science and mathematics (Feldman, 1986).

He has since made the switch to trading commodities and currencies, when most people think of the drama of global finance, they think of stocks and bonds, venture capital, high-tech IPOs, and complex mortgage-backed securities. But commodities? Crude oil and soybeans? Copper and wheat? What could be more boring? That’s exactly what the elite commodity traders want you to think. They don’t seek the media spotlight. They don’t want to be as famous as Warren Buffett or Bill Gates. Their astonishing wealth was created in near-total obscurity, either in closely held private companies or deep within large banks and corporations, where commodity profits and losses weren’t broken out.

Now Kate Kelly, the bestselling author of Street Fighters, takes us inside this secretive inner circle that controls so many things we all depend on. She gets closer than any previous reporter to understanding these whip-smart, aggressive, and often egomaniacal men who bet millions every day on a blend of facts, analysis, and pure gut instinct. (Sam Vaknin drew influence from Adam for his analyses on narcissism perhaps).

More on the man’s intellect.

At the age of 6 months, when attending a puppet show for preschoolers at the Boston Museum of Science, Adam answered a rhetorical question about what whales eat as follows: “Krill, they’re small shrimp, but they’re not microscopic.”

He spoke with the sophistication and intellectual affect of any educated adult at the age of four.

It’s not hard to read Poole’s answers and get some sense of how his mind works. He’s funny. He’s a little subversive and libidinous. He has the flair for the dramatic. His mind leaps from violent imagery to sex to people jumping out of burning skyscrapers to very practical issues, such as how to get a duvet to stay on a bed. He gives us the impression that if we gave him another ten minutes, he’d come up with another twenty uses.*  Now, for the sake of comparison, consider the answers  of another student from Hudson’s sample. His name is Florence. Hudson tells us that Florence is a prodigy, with one of the highest IQs in his school.  (Poole was tested for a criminal investigation and had incentive to score lower: 116, 160 for school.)


(Brick). Building things, throwing.

(Blanket). Keeping warm, smothering fire, tying to trees and sleeping in (as a hammock), improvised stretcher.

Where is Florence’s imagination? He identified the most common and most functional uses for bricks and blankets and simply stopped. Florence’s IQ is higher than Poole’s. But that means little, since both students are above the threshold. What is more interesting is that Poole’s mind can leap from violent imagery to sex to people jumping out of buildings without missing a beat, and Florence’s mind can’t. Now which of these two students do you think is better suited to do the kind of brilliant, imaginative work that wins Nobel Prizes (and Fields Medals)?

….

There’s something about the richness and multitude of his ideas, the astonishing eruditeness and exposition of his analyses that suggests there is something that can never quite be understood, he covered all the insignificant currents, said all that could be said on the topic to the nth degree and in all directions. His definitions have often been quoted in many books because of that about 3000 times.

The exceptionally gifted child grasps abstract material by finding the underlying pattern. Once that pattern is understood, the child knows the concept behind the material and further practice is unnecessary .In fact, the whole is comprehended so quickly and thoroughly, the child cannot break it down into component parts to show the steps used to build the concept. This process causes problems with many teachers. Dahlberg (1992) described Matthew, age 9, who mastered material so quickly that there never seemed anything to learn. Even in music, finding pieces difficult enough to challenge him and hold his interest was a problem.

There are several psychologists at the hospital studying me now. It’s interesting to see how they analyze my intelligence. One doctor perceives my skills in terms of components, such as acquisition, retention, performance, and transfer. Another looks at me from the angles of mathematical and logical reasoning, linguistic communication, and spatial visualization. I’m reminded of my college days when I watch these specialists, each with a pet theory, each contorting the evidence to fit. I’m even less convinced by them now than I was back then; they still have nothing to teach me. None of their categorizations are fruitful in analyzing my performance, since— there’s no point in denying it— I’m equally good at everything. I could be studying a new class of equation, or the grammar of a foreign language, or the operation of an engine; in each case, everything fits together, all the elements cooperate beautifully. In each case, I don’t have to consciously memorize rules, and then apply them mechanically. I just perceive how the system behaves as a whole, as an entity. Of course, I’m aware of all the details and individual steps, but they require so little concentration that they almost feel intuitive.

….

When he was four, I was curious as to how he wished to direct his education I asked and he replied, “ I always feel that the closer you get to the original sources, the better off you are and that learning from the most general to the least is best, say philosophy and cognitive science before mathematics and physics. Then within said field, one need attain the greatest degree of professional competence so that the theoretical as well as the specifics, the developmental, historical, philosophical, the possible, the alternate and contemporary thoughts and contradictions of the sung and unsung heroes, the known and the scope as well as praxis of any field can be a part of one’s work. One need their mind sweep as hawk-like over the depths and breadths of a subject as one can, so as to cultivate a professional, intellectual playfulness maybe, even madness in the finest sense of the word, one needs an omnibus education in the most abstract domains of thought, the history of ideas, ancient and modern languages, philosophy, universal, ecclesiastical, and literary history, civil and canon law, mathematics, physics, and natural history, anatomy, poetry and oratory, the nature of reality, the ethics and truths of human life, the processes by which decisions and discoveries are collectively and individually made, the abstractions and theologies of humanity and it’s literatures, these things are most important to any intellectual realization of capacities,” he said. I asked him another question of if philosophy was useful as a discipline, “I see your point, you can never know the answers to some questions it raises but for me the usefulness is its discipline, it’s generality and inquisition, its scope and praxis, it’s way of thinking, it’s tradition of analysis”.

Feldman (1986) described a child, who from age 2 to 4, learned 11 different languages to find out whether there had been a parent language. (A long standing problem in linguistics that earned him a Harvard tenure offer) The ability to conceptualize at this level would be exceptional for any gifted child, but at such an early age is phenomenal. Indeed, the ability to find a problem to solve requires ability to conceive that there might be an underlying principle, an ability most gifted children do not achieve until adolescence.

Torsten conceived a passion for philology which lasted from about 22 months to age four, [studying Hebrew, classical Greek, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Yiddish, German, Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Sanskrit.] Shortly after he turned four, I had noted that he had shown little interest in the grammar exercises we had for him. Instead he was pursuing an intricate relationship with each of them that had stumped professors since Gauss… I told him that if he was no longer interested in languages that was all right but he said he was not interested in those languages anymore because he had figured out the answer to the question. Ever the straight man, his grandfather asked him “What question?” “Oh”, he said, looking at me with helpful attention. “I’ve figured out that there was a parent language for these languages (he listed the Indo-European ones) but not for these. It had 11 cases. I told him the scholars at Harvard called the parent language “Indo-European” and that I had been taught in college (Harvard) that it had ten cases. He said,” Scholars can be wrong. It had 11 cases!” He was right and a tenure track position was offered to someone Harvard thought was much older, a prodigy but a teenager.

….

When Adam was 10 months old, we were sitting in a tent in a Norwegian campground waiting, as one often does in Norway, for the rain to stop. Adam turned to us and said after a long pause, ‘Please teach me logarithms. I understand the characteristic, but I don’t understand about the mantissa.” Well, fortunately for us, you can’t fall very far off the floor of a tent. When we recovered it took a few minutes one of us said, “We will, as soon as you learn arithmetic. Do you know what arithmetic is?” Adam, who was about two months away from reading, as far as we know, answered, “Yes addition, subtraction, multiplication, perfect squares, prime factorization, division, and the square root”. My husband is a natural scientist wherever his brilliance lies, he is competent but not brilliant at mathematics. Where or how Adam independently taught himself these mathematical concepts I have no idea.”

Profoundly gifted individuals have been known to do things like reinventing the steam engine at age six. Some of them can walk into a room and in an instant infer what kind of presentation is going to be given, and what kind of organization is going to give it. They have been known to make penetrating observations of connections between vastly different disciplines. Some have written a book in a week. Others remember everything they have read. Verbatim. Another still has invented a crude physics and using it to solve problems before she was old enough to talk (Anne). It’s entirely plausible for a profoundly gifted individual to think for a few hours about a philosophical school he’s just read about, and have a better grasp of the assumptions and implications surrounding that school than scholars who have studied the discipline for years. Many accomplishments are less extreme than that. Some are more extreme. I said that they might as well be magic powers because they are no more believable to many people than levitation or fairies granting wishes. Moderately gifted achievements are envied. Profoundly gifted achievements are disbelieved, and one social lesson the profoundly gifted learn is that there are certain accomplishments that you don’t talk about… which feels the way most people would feel if people were shocked and offended when they tried to say, “I can read,” or for that matter, “I can breathe. (Why Feldman edited most of the more extreme anecdotes out of his book)” The highlighted ones are attributed to him.

Finance is international. It involves massive, intricate and sophisticated operations of export and import, the massive perception of trends, knowledge of languages, extensive and frequent trips, an intimate acquaintance with world prices, technological innovations to hit the market, and all new currency or commodity additions to market, the international financial system, demand and supply in various markets, frequent business negotiations with foreigners, world leaders, bankers and so on. This list would fit any modern businessman even spy as well.

Their connections abroad coupled with their connections with the various elites around the world and coupled with their financial prowess – made them the first and only true businessmen of all the new opportunities in the world and Torsten often knew exactly what he was doing, he was very risk averse. He made $ 8 billion in six months from $5.3 billion, they thought he was lucky. They’d think he was looking at hotels in Cairo, but he’d really be in Guangzhou making a web portal play. He became like a Nation State. “When he moves left, tanks, destroyers, subs, they all move left with him. And you don’t know where his focus is gonna land, you hope it lands on you, sometimes you wish you were invisible because when it does land on you… he sees EVERYTHING. Information just flows to him. A  corporate captain or a top-ranking deep state official inviting him to a football game, a leader of an African republic looking for a small loan of a million dollars. He has a lot of allies, informants and an impracticable and “impossible” intellectual armory. He is utterly realistic and Talmudically concise in his opinions.” He runs rings round the best of the best on his worst day like the diminutive Argentine attacker. Torsten is addicted to the adrenaline rush of his job, the intellectual stimulation which demands an intellect not far from what Gauss or Von Neumann might command where most would suffer extreme nervous breakdown at the high-stakes alone.

 

Immeasurable “Genius” IQ

A legendary child prodigy (Adam Konantovich), the story of the man’s talents alone are far greater than the popular science book, Nature’s Gambit cohesively told. He has influenced great stories from Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, Ted Chiang’s story Understand to the seemingly impossible speed-reading scene in Matt Damon’s researched piece Good Will Hunting because he was  the son of Boris Sidis’s cousin. These tell his stories in bits and fragments.

An excerpt from Ted Chiang’s Understand that he said came from Adam Konantovich’s own mouth:

I’m reminded of my college days when I watch these specialists, each with a pet theory, each contorting the evidence to fit. I’m even less convinced by them now than I was back then; they still have nothing to teach me. [ Regarding psychologists he bamboozled every test thrown at him and has puzzled the greatest medical minds, sending many of them gibbering to their own hospitals.] None of their categorizations are fruitful in analyzing my performance, since – there’s no point in denying it – I’m equally good at everything. I could be studying a new  mathematical theory, a new class of equations, or the grammar of a foreign language, even the operation of an engine; in each case, everything fits together, all the elements cooperate beautifully. In each case, I don’t have to consciously memorize rules, and then apply them mechanically. I just perceive how the system behaves as a whole, as an entity. Of course, I’m aware of all the details and individual steps, but they require so little concentration that they almost feel intuitive [though they are not rigorous but synthetic]. Penetrating.

     From this level of perception and flexibility, his mind can enrich the texture where others felt things were complete and fill in gaps were they never noticed a lack. He could notice the countless intersections, the beauty of the full extent and implications. Often he just wanted to see the tapestry of human knowledge from a broader perspective than anyone has before and only skimmed the cream providing illumination rather than well thought out work unless he found the idea aesthetic then he took it too far. – Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life.

               Subject name: Adam Konantovich

Born: September 1st 1981.

Adam, a Norwegian child prodigy, scored a mental age of 22 years at 5 years on the SB L-M Third Form, scored the absolute maximum on all sub-tests of the WAIS-III at 13 (1997) in almost a 1/4 the time and finally on his first try scored a full 48 on the Titan Test at 15, an IQ test that had such a high ceiling, that the average person would score zero, and just getting around 50% right would put your IQ in the super stratosphere of 120 (98th Percentile) on the WAIS (SD 15) scored at 268 for the speed in which he finished it though Ron doesn’t score perfect raw scores anymore. He has a general intellectual and psychomotor ability that’s at least 8+ to 10+ SDs above the mean. His reaction time was measured up to 20 times to be 445 milliseconds also 6 SDs above the mean. (29 ms/SD at 257 ms average).

Adam’s mind is restless. He was highly abstract, theoretical, thinking types of person. They process social interactions in, and are generally highly systematic in how they do things. So in whatever he does, the brain will take a highly advanced and prime role in things.

He’s easily distracted by new ideas, he is constantly dedicated to such a vast variety of other intellectual pursuits at the same time but when he does find focus, he’s precise; Adam works at trying to put every piece of information or every problem which he had to solve into some sort of category which links up to a network of interconnected categories, so that his thinking is comprehensive, aware, analytical. Perhaps at his level of intellectual activity this is the most efficient way of handling the multitude of information and ideas which he handles each day. He had a logical imperative related to his complex thought patterns so he expected the world to make sense, taking in the artifice, meta, epistemology, ontology and the principle of fuzzy logic: everything is a matter of degree. His passion for scholarly accuracy and thoroughness set a high standard for accomplishment and his notes were marvels of scholarly exposition and origination. The necessity for the world to be logical results in a need to argue extensively, correct errors, and strive for precision of thought. He was quick to perceive many layers of meaning in each and every situation. This allowed him to quickly perceive underlying innuendos, metaphors and symbols. Adam plays the world around him like a chessboard: seeing many intricate moves ahead and manipulating vectors from the opening moves, using complex gambits to great effect.

Extraordinarily high IQ – omnibus prodigy: profoundly curious generalists, extraordinarily high abstract reasoning capability plus extraordinarily advanced domain-specific skills in all or a great multiplicity of domains resulting no specialties or weaknesses often not even in equivalence. Performs at the level of a highly trained adult in multiple domains. Displays passionate involvement with numerous domains of prodigious achievement with flexibility and suppleness of application. Voracious appetite for academic knowledge. An omnibus prodigy may be someone who is blessed with extraordinarily advanced domain-specific capabilities in pure expression in addition to having a high IQ conferring general flexibility, high creativity, abstract generalization, richness and complexity, making it appear that they can do almost anything at not just a high but exceedingly rare and prodigious level in all mental and even psycho-motor abilities. For Adam, multiple savant abilities are present all at once: nearly perfect recall of visuospatial images, auditory sounds and language; super-fast thinking and calculation; powerful geometric visualization, even in higher dimensions and complex evolutions over time with many moving parts; the ability to execute multiple analyses or trains of thought in parallel at the same time; mastering a decade of education in weeks; constructing complex histories from meager clues; asking the right questions to yield minimal and parsimonious principles; for the profoundness and unbiased delicacy in thought and perception, almost aesthetic that could grasp complex problems and logic with deep, implacable and comprehensive accuracy, the list goes on.

Adam instantly knows how two things might go together in a new whole, not only in theoretical subjects like, mathematics but even in engineering, he is able to invent sophisticated gadgets from nothing more than spare parts left over from ordinary household appliances intuitively. Adam is very good at this kind of visual thinking. He is holistic thinkers and problem solvers. Thus, he has very unusual insights, based on a new conceptualization and origination of material. Adam will use a multiplicity of solutions for many similar types of problems because he finds it easier to do this, and because he fluidly notices and reconceptualizes differences among the problems. Creativity can be the result of exceptional mental flexibility and delicacy. Because the creative person is so flexible, he or she is able to consider multiple solutions and alternative perspectives. People who are especially good at this type of thinking tend to be divergent thinkers: they have both many insights and unusual insights. So, if one solution does not work, they always have something else in mind. Children who have the largest gaps between ideas and ability to produce them may also be the most original. The more original the idea, and the less it is an extension of what else the child has already produced. Adam intuited solutions that were right. His notebooks were marvels of scholarly exposition and origination. When you see [Adam’s] mind at play in his notebooks, the sheer torrential multitude and richness of his ideas makes you recognize that there is something that can’t be understood easily—that we may never be able to understand. There was a denseness and informational richness to his writing and the each line of his writing may contain unavoidable 11-dollar words and neologisms, born by extruding words through the declensions of another languageor his own thoughts, but it’s never the same thing as pretentious. I didn’t pick up pretentiousness or anything derivative, kitsch or contrived. Just like he innovated in mathematics.

A few interesting anecdotes:

I also observed (as have his parents) that Adam is one of the few people who truly seems to be able to handle information in parallel. For instance, when he was working on quite a difficult question on the assessment, and was obviously thinking and talking on that particular problem, he suddenly interrupted himself to produce the solution to a previous problem which he felt he could improve on and could listen to an audio book while he read technical material on the net, navigating windows with superhuman agility. As was described earlier, Adam obtained a mental age of 22 years on the Stanford–Binet L-M at the chronological age of 5 years. As the psychologist who tested him pointed out, this meant that he had passed virtually every item on the test, right up to Superior Adult Three. He scored at the ceiling of the test; however a ratio calculation gives him an IQ of 440. To extend the testing further, the psychologist administered the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS–III) at 13. Here Adam performed at the absolute maximum on every subtest in record-time placing him in the ‘very superior’ range even compared to adults giving him an immeasurable adult IQ, in fact though Adam scored the similarities and comprehension portion of the WAIS-III and on the divergence production test, he also did odd things though he got the essence of the question, he gave many higher level and unusual patterns, he also associated to parts of the material that weren’t easily (or expected to be) noticeable and went off on a tangent he even found patterns in all the patterns holistically. Sometimes, his thinking was too divergent to be scoreable, he could infer, generalize and simplify very complex patterns, psychologists hypothesized there were higher levels of knowledge that allowed him to infer rules to sequences very quickly.

His general non-singular mind was powerful, deep, symbolic, anti-realist, theoretical and without bounds, his ephemeral abilities are equally as impressive, the unusual and imaginative memory which recalls even years later complex mathematical formulas, junk code, maps, huge matrices and even entire phrase books in foreign languages and did so in a matter of minutes, he remembered everything that he learned, saw (even without noticing it the first time) or once thought through and possessed an absolutely extraordinary rapidity to understand and think is illustrated in these quotes: (“He learns instantaneously as soon a he hears about the topic”), I can attest that Adam then aged 12, was completely at ease, visiting multiple conferences intended for the intellectual empyrean of their fields at his father’s alma mater, Princeton where he could almost instantly absorb the subject matter from the several fields of study engaged by the conferences. Not only did he, a twelve-year old boy circulate among prominent researchers, but those elite minds either rivaled for his collaboration or deeply valued his critique and commentary. Adam could, without fail, identify errors in logical thinking and he simply did not pursue information or discourse outside of the realm of logic. He was so far ahead of his classmates in mathematics that his parents had arranged for him to take graduate courses in multiple departments at age six, Adam even acted as a visiting professor, giving lectures in several universities.

“Adam quickly and easily grasps concepts in a holistic and intuitive manner. He thinks and understands with such extraordinary rapidity that once he acquires the basic framework for any particular theory, he intuitively and holistically fills in the particulars, algorithmic relationships, interrelationships, applications and implications with breath-taking speed while still sparing no effort in depth. Then, having an intuitive sense of the theoretical holes in any subject, he questions basic assumptions and correlates theory to corollaries and nitty-gritty applications. The details so intuitive they require barely any analytic focus, his performance was fluid and even narrative like it was impossible for him to be unclear in thought or in expression, his insights profoundly illuminating and his statements precise.”

The learning style of Adam as both nonlinear, auto-didactic and ferociously omnivorous in his desire for breadth and depth of knowledge and his need for constant stimulation. His style is further described as being “non-Western” and nontraditional so that regular school or university programs did not work for him. I was of the conclusion he was simply too fast. Adam quickly and easily grasped concepts in a holistic and intuitive manner. Once he acquired the basic framework, he intuitively filled in the particulars, applications, algorithmic relationships, implications and interrelationships without real effort, sparing no depth in his understanding, the details barely requiring any focus.

He had the holistic vision, a special aesthetic for clearness and delicacy in thought and perception that could yield irrational and exhilarating insights, that could intuit theorems whole requiring pages of complex reasoning to prove even sometimes change the direction of scientific/mathematical progress, had the complement of that he instantaneously saw all the details of the matter by concentrating on the basic properties (axioms) from which all else follows which at the same time, revealed to him the steps to follow to get from the foundations to the applications. We cannot know about his perception but it is impossible for him to be unclear in thought or expression, his insights profoundly illuminating and his statements precise, like whole sentences of parsimonious verbal construction form in instants.

Prenatal – Achieved awareness 5 months into pregnancy as he remembers back that far, could respond rhythmically to music in tempo and lento etc. and with the exact number of taps on his mother’s womb. He still has pre-and peri-natal memories like seeing his hands growing, pink lights and being conceived even memories of re-incarnation as spanning centuries which his parents noted that he knew of coincidences he couldn’t have as far back as the Norman Conquest or from his mother’s six week pregnancy, however he retained only autobiographical memories as he could not remember the skills, only biographies he had supposedly known in previous lives, only upon given a chance to learn them.

(First Words) 3 mos.– “Mom, the ocean is waving at us.” in German, a proto-pun. He since then helped his parents care for him, and made proto-puns and jokes related to physical activity mostly till he was 6 months.

6 mos. – Carried out complex conversations on marine biology, at a Boston Museum, Adam answered the question “What do humpback whales eat?” aimed at fifth graders, he said “Krill, they are small shrimp but they are not microscopic”. In conversations with him, one would quickly notice he had a vast (National Geographic) store of sea animals, ocean currents, sailing vessels, whale migration routes and life in the extreme depths of the ocean trenches. He could read simple books up to about fifth grade level.

10 mos.- Independently re-discovered basic arithmetic:

When Adam was 10 months old, we were sitting in a tent in a Norwegian campground waiting, as one often does in Norway, for the rain to stop. Adam turned to us and said after a long pause, ‘Please teach me logarithms. I understand the characteristic, but I don’t understand about the mantissa.” Well, fortunately for us, you can’t fall very far off the floor of a tent. When we recovered it took a few minutes one of us said, “We will, as soon as you learn arithmetic. Do you know what arithmetic is?” Adam, who was about two months away from reading, as far as we know, answered, “Yes addition, subtraction, multiplication, perfect squares, prime factorization, division, and the square root”. My husband is a natural scientist wherever his brilliance lies, he is competent but not brilliant at mathematics. Where or how Adam independently taught himself these mathematical concepts I have no idea.”

11 mos.- Mastered arithmetic, algebra, analytic geometry, trigonometry, calculus and English from his father and started preparing for ten AP tests with his mother in Physics (1,2, C&C), Calculus (AB & BC), Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science.

2 years.-  He had mastered enough math to tackle Math 55a problem sets in his head.

3 and 1/2 years.- Of all the children we studied, Adam most fit the layperson’s notions of the prodigy: he possessed an extraordinarily powerful mind, an endowment of not just one particular faculty of the brain, but a general superlative of the whole brain itself and a seemingly limitless and effortless ability to master any mental skill /complex area of knowledge at will, almost instantaneously with few delays between first forays and intuitive, holistic (top-down) mastery. When confronted with such evidence of seemingly uncanny ability, people’s reactions often run the gamut of extreme emotions. When we first met Adam, he was three and a half years old and already conversant and literate in several languages (French, Spanish, Hebrew, and a smattering of Russian), had completed ten AP courses and was familiar with some of the principles of higher mathematics and conceptual mathematics, writing short compositions for the guitar and violin even to an extent the piano, and interested in a wide-range of topics, the most general and far-reaching topics (philosophy, mathematics, chemistry, music, history, computer science, physics, biology) he pursued with great intensity because he loved extent and implications while the specifics (zoology, cartography) he pursued with superficial interest.

4 years.– He was conversant and literate in 11 languages [Hebrew, classical Greek, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Yiddish, German, Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Sanskrit], he had learnt these to conduct AP research which corrected the Harvard Philology department and got him a few tenure-track offers, knew BASIC (programming language) and was writing poems and essays with a high command of prose, syntax and literary theory at a tenure-worthy level. He, having mastered the calculus: differential, integral, variations and vector, was also studying via Bourbaki’s Elements of Mathematics (Algebra I), an introduction to general linear, multi-linear and abstract algebras approaching differential geometries, he was writing short compositions for the guitar, violin and piano and independently interested in a wide range of scientific and philosophical topics.

Adam, from age 4 to age 6, taught himself to do prodigious mental arithmetic in binary, octal, hexadecimal and decimal systems and had finished all 32-Volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica and read extensively on mathematics, philosophy, cognitive science and philosophy even the works from the Zhou Dynasty and pre-Socratic philosophers to Thomas Carlyle, O. Spengler and Nietzsche, then Dostoevsky and hair-splitting of the Eleatics and the Pythagoreans, the Sophists and the Skeptics.

Adam conceived a passion for philology which lasted from about 22 months to age four, [studying Hebrew, classical Greek, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Yiddish, German, Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Sanskrit.] Shortly after he turned four, I had noted that he had shown little interest in the grammar exercises we had for him. Instead he was pursuing a intricate relationship with each of them. I told him that if he was no longer interested in languages that was all right but he said he was not interested in those languages anymore because he had figured out the answer to the question. Ever the straight man, his grandfather asked him “What question?” “Oh”, he said, looking at me with helpful attention. “I’ve figured out that there was a parent language for these languages (he listed the Indo-European ones) but not for these. It had 11 cases. I told him the scholars at Harvard called the parent language “Indo-European” and that I had been taught in college (Harvard) that it had ten cases. He said,” Scholars can be wrong. It had 11 cases!” He was right and a tenure track position was offered to someone Harvard thought was much older, a prodigy but a teenager.

6 years.- He had read (and understood) all of the existing literature on physics in original papers (in original languages) and bibliography of pioneering physicists and philosophers of science up to first-year graduate level and had by this time taught himself first-year graduate-level mathematics and undergraduate chemistry and computing science. He scored a GRE practice test in Math, Verbal and Physics but only a 92nd percentile in writing.

7 years.- He read book after book until his brain swelled with knowledge in areas as diverse as philosophy, cognitive science, physics, astronomy, mathematics, computing science, romantic poets, mathematical physics, applied mathematics, pure mathematics, quantum physics, artificial intelligence and robotics, model theory, graph theory, molecular biology, aerospace engineering, mechanical/nuclear engineering, cybernetics and several areas of other computing science (complexity theory, machine-learning, and abstract intractability theory), forensic science, and anthropology, among a hundred other subjects by age 13.

He had set an implacable routine of devouring knowledge himself and his undergraduate triple-major in Physics, Philosophy and Mathematics bothered him little, half the time at Ecole Normale Superieure, Adam didn’t attend lectures at all. He would just show up to take tests it was awe-inspiring to watch because in a very easy, almost casual way, he could solve problem sets that the rest of the class would work 24 + hours on, it was a wonderful thing to behold and there was nothing we could do about it. To us, it was hilarious. By the time he was 16, he could just as casually brief a decade’s worth of education in a week, and take care of whatever he had to take care of, and then get back to whatever he was doing in the first place. He taught himself 12 programming languages [FORTRAN, Python, C++, Java, PHP, HTML, Ada, C, SQL, Mathematica, Perl and Haskell], then the classical studies, poetry, modern and ancient history. He scored a 1,800 chess rating at this age and his reading speed hit 7525 wpm while his typing registered at 38-50 wpm, he also learnt Serb, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin.

“I have an immeasurable IQ. The average human has an IQ of a 100. Therefore I am more intelligent than the average human, to the same degree that the average human is more intelligent than a chimpanzee.”

“The things I do as a casual afterthought, cause others to run the gamut of extreme emotions.”

 

References

Feldman, D.H. with Goldsmith, L. (1986). Nature’s gambit. New York: Basic Books.

Extract: http://www.tcrecord.org/library/abstract.asp?contentid=555 | https://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/R10815

Dahlberg, W. (1992). Brilliance-The childhood dilemma of unusual intellect. Roeper Review, 15, 7-10.

Extract: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02783199209553448

The School he went to: Of the total number of children (55) scoring over IQ 140 (154.7), 11 had IQ scores above 180. This suggests that very bright children need further assessment in order to adequately plan for them. The school offered graduate courses as a regular curriculum loading. “But IQ is hardly important in a form full of clever boys.” – Malcolm Gladwell. (Outliers)

He then at 13, applied to Caltech, ENS, Julliard, Harvard and MIT, he chose Harvard (Music).

Bender, L., Van, S. G., Escoffier, J.-Y., Weinstein, B., Weinstein, H., Gordon, J., Armstrong, S., … Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Firm),. (1997). Good Will Hunting. (Inspiration & Consultation from Matt Damon’s first meeting of him, he was reading a stack of technical books in the Tufts Library mimicking 28:45)

Understand (1991) by Ted Chiang (Consultation for novella)

Koppelman, Brian,, et al. Billions. Paramount : Showtime Entertainment, 2017.: 2008 financial crisis story.

“After the crisis, he was shameless enough to quote Pol Pot after conning banks for billions more after making 300% returns for five years from option strategies in the Balkans. To his fellow plutocrats he simply said “Even now you can look at me. Am I a savage person? My conscience is clear.”

Patterson, Scott, 2010 -. The Quants : How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It. New York :Crown Business, 2010. Print.

The Secret Club that Runs the World: Inside the Fraternity of …

 

 

 

 

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