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Jacob Barnett  

Jacob Barnett is known as the boy genius diagnosed with autism who has an IQ higher than Albert Einstein.

As a child, doctors told Jacob Barnetts parents that their autistic son would probably never know how to tie his shoes.

But experts say the 14-year-old Indiana prodigy has an IQ higher than Einsteins and is on the road to winning a Nobel Prize. Hes given TedX talks and is working toward a masters degree in quantum physics.

The key, according to mom Kristine Barnett, was letting Jacob be himself by helping him study the world with wide-eyed wonder instead of focusing on a list of things he couldn't do.

Diagnosed with moderate to severe autism at the age of 2, Jacob spent years in the clutches of a special education system that didnt understand what he needed. His teachers at school would try to dissuade Kristine from hoping to teach Jacob any more than the most basic skills.

Jacob was struggling with that sort of instruction withdrawing deeper into himself and refusing to speak with anyone.

But Kristine noticed that when he was not in therapy, Jacob was doing spectacular things on his own. He would create maps all over our floor using Q-tips. They would be maps of places weve visited and he would memorize every street, Kristine told the BBC.

One day, his mom took him stargazing. A few months later, they visited a planetarium where a professor was giving a lecture. Whenever the teacher asked questions, Jacobs little hand shot up and he began to answer questions easily understanding complicated theories about physics and the movement of planets.

Jacob was just 3-1/2 years old.

His mom realized that Jacob might need something that the standard special education curriculum just wasnt giving him.

So Kristine decided to take on the job herself.

For a parent, its terrifying to fly against the advice of the professionals, Kristine writes in her memoir, The Spark: A Mothers Story of Nurturing Genius. But I knew in my heart that if Jake stayed in special ed, he would slip away.

The Hamilton County mom, a nursery school teacher, decided to take Jacob out of school and prepare him for mainstream kindergarten herself.

Jacob thrived under his moms personal attention. She let him explore the things he wanted to explore. He studied patterns and shadows and stars. At the same time, she made sure that he enjoyed normal childhood pleasures softball, picnics along with other kids his age.

I operate under a concept called muchness, Kristine said. Which is surrounding children with the things they love be it music, or art, whatever theyre drawn to and love.

By the time he was 11 years old, Jacob was ready for college. Hes now studying condensed matter physics at the Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.

His IQ rounds out to 170 higher than that of Albert Einstein. Hes been working on his own theory of relativity. Professors at Princetons Institute for Advance Study were impressed.

The theory that he's working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics, astrophysics Professor Scott Tremaine wrote to the family in an email.

"Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize."

Warner Bros. has snatched up movie rights to Jacobs story. Kristine and her son have embarked on a European book tour, but hope to have some time to rest by July.

My goal for the summer is just to give him a few weeks off, Kristine told the Indianapolis Monthly. The last time he had that was when he came up with the alternative theory to the Big Bang. So who knows what hell create?

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