Child prodigies

Child prodigies

Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 24th, 2007, 8:40 am #1

I was surfing about and ran across a reference to Joel Kupperman. It made me think about how you don't hear much about child prodigies any more. Seems like when I was young in '50s & '60s there was a lot of talk about them. They were always on radio and TV shows demonstrating some amazing skill. And I remember thinking if these kids are so smart now imagine what they will accomplish when they grow up! But you know, they all have grown up now- and I never hear any more about them after they do. It's as if they lose whatever prodigious abilities once they are adults.

Like what ever did happen to Joel Kupperman who amazed people with his breadth of knowledge and mathematical mastery on "Quiz kids". Well through the magic of Google I located him at the University of Connecticut where he has spend many quiet years as a professor of philosophy. Not a dummy job, but hardly anything really exceptional either and as far as I can find he hasn't accomplished anything exceptional since reaching adulthood.

So why do I bring this subject to your attention? No reason other than I have this strange need to bore other people with my fits of interest in obscure subjects.
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Eric UK
Eric UK

August 25th, 2007, 8:56 am #2

You are not boring us at all Nat. I seem to remember, over the years, that some of these child prodigies end up as total misfits and/or have nervous breakdowns. Others do, however, go on to have successful careers - especially in music.
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etal
etal

August 25th, 2007, 11:29 am #3

I was surfing about and ran across a reference to Joel Kupperman. It made me think about how you don't hear much about child prodigies any more. Seems like when I was young in '50s & '60s there was a lot of talk about them. They were always on radio and TV shows demonstrating some amazing skill. And I remember thinking if these kids are so smart now imagine what they will accomplish when they grow up! But you know, they all have grown up now- and I never hear any more about them after they do. It's as if they lose whatever prodigious abilities once they are adults.

Like what ever did happen to Joel Kupperman who amazed people with his breadth of knowledge and mathematical mastery on "Quiz kids". Well through the magic of Google I located him at the University of Connecticut where he has spend many quiet years as a professor of philosophy. Not a dummy job, but hardly anything really exceptional either and as far as I can find he hasn't accomplished anything exceptional since reaching adulthood.

So why do I bring this subject to your attention? No reason other than I have this strange need to bore other people with my fits of interest in obscure subjects.
i would recommend caution about that declaration that prof kupperman has not done anything exceptional. to my idea, earning a doctoral degree is quite exceptional. what he has done may not be interesting to the general public but could be of great value in his field. if i remember correctly albert einstein was fired from a dead-end job in the swiss patent office

~
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 25th, 2007, 10:21 pm #4

Well I don't mean to belittle Kupperman's PhD but there are probably a million people with PhDs- nearly every college professor has one as well as many in medical and scientific fields. It's not the kind of unique accomplishment I would expect of a prodigy- like finding a cure for cancer or a breakthrough in cold-fusion.

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Bob
Bob

August 26th, 2007, 7:49 pm #5

I was surfing about and ran across a reference to Joel Kupperman. It made me think about how you don't hear much about child prodigies any more. Seems like when I was young in '50s & '60s there was a lot of talk about them. They were always on radio and TV shows demonstrating some amazing skill. And I remember thinking if these kids are so smart now imagine what they will accomplish when they grow up! But you know, they all have grown up now- and I never hear any more about them after they do. It's as if they lose whatever prodigious abilities once they are adults.

Like what ever did happen to Joel Kupperman who amazed people with his breadth of knowledge and mathematical mastery on "Quiz kids". Well through the magic of Google I located him at the University of Connecticut where he has spend many quiet years as a professor of philosophy. Not a dummy job, but hardly anything really exceptional either and as far as I can find he hasn't accomplished anything exceptional since reaching adulthood.

So why do I bring this subject to your attention? No reason other than I have this strange need to bore other people with my fits of interest in obscure subjects.
For years (until recently) this guy lived a few houses away from my parents. He was older than me -- went to high school with my sisters. This guy was very smart . . in a way . . but very backward as well. He was an only child, did not associate with other teens, and his parents apparently tried to shield him from the "hazards" of typical teens his age. I remember that he did well in school, but was afraid of girls or talk of adult subjects (e.g., dating, cruising, smoking, drinking, staying out late). I recall me sisters' girlfriends enjoyed chasing him down the street, saying, "You're so cute! I want to kiss you!". and he would literally run and shreik in terror, asking the "bad girls" to leave him alone (I shit you not!). The guy always dressed in very conservative slacks and plaid shirts (what they would call "geek" today), not the bell-bottom or other jeans, and colorful/paisley shirts most teen guys wore then. In a word, he was, and remained, a misfit.

I bring this up because, as an adult, this guy was devoted to finding and championing child prodigies. He never married, never had children of his own, and always worked menial jobs (though intelligent, he had little education beyond high school and clearly lacked social skills to be taken seriously for better jobs). His primary life achievement (which he talks non-stop about) has been finding "gifted children" (often via internet), befriending them, and publicizing them on his public access channel show. He takes this very seriously. He knows that others think he is "wierd" and question if his interesrt in children is healthy (so far as anyone knows, the guy simply has a child's mind and is not a pedophile). This thread made me think of this guy.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 27th, 2007, 1:01 am #6

Yes, I'm afraid I was one of those nerdy kids too. Not in the 'prodigy' class ofcourse- but I was obsessed with radio and electronics as a kid. I wasn't macho or athletic so I spend my time at home tinkering in our basement- spending countless hours restoring old radio gear (much of it WW-II military surplus) for use on ham radio. My school notebook bulged with radio magazines and schematics of circuits I wanted to try as soon as I could get home- if only damn school wasn't wasting my time! But at least my obsession lead into a career which has worked out well for me suiting both my interests and my reclusive personality. But I'm still uncomfortable in social situations except when with people whom I share common interests- and on the net in forums like this.
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Brandon
Brandon

August 27th, 2007, 1:37 am #7

For years (until recently) this guy lived a few houses away from my parents. He was older than me -- went to high school with my sisters. This guy was very smart . . in a way . . but very backward as well. He was an only child, did not associate with other teens, and his parents apparently tried to shield him from the "hazards" of typical teens his age. I remember that he did well in school, but was afraid of girls or talk of adult subjects (e.g., dating, cruising, smoking, drinking, staying out late). I recall me sisters' girlfriends enjoyed chasing him down the street, saying, "You're so cute! I want to kiss you!". and he would literally run and shreik in terror, asking the "bad girls" to leave him alone (I shit you not!). The guy always dressed in very conservative slacks and plaid shirts (what they would call "geek" today), not the bell-bottom or other jeans, and colorful/paisley shirts most teen guys wore then. In a word, he was, and remained, a misfit.

I bring this up because, as an adult, this guy was devoted to finding and championing child prodigies. He never married, never had children of his own, and always worked menial jobs (though intelligent, he had little education beyond high school and clearly lacked social skills to be taken seriously for better jobs). His primary life achievement (which he talks non-stop about) has been finding "gifted children" (often via internet), befriending them, and publicizing them on his public access channel show. He takes this very seriously. He knows that others think he is "wierd" and question if his interesrt in children is healthy (so far as anyone knows, the guy simply has a child's mind and is not a pedophile). This thread made me think of this guy.
Sounds like the guys has a bit of what is called Asperger's Syndrome. I've always thought I had some aspects of this form of autism. I could easily remember tv schedules, the whole Billboard music charts, and every radio station's dj lineup but had trouble with things like tying a knot and lots of trouble with sports until it becomes a repetitive type action then I'm pretty good (like serving a tennis ball or a golf putt).

I also have trouble in social situations with small talk. Can talk for hours about things that interest me.

There is a good article about Asperger's Syndrome in last week's New Yorker.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 27th, 2007, 2:25 am #8

Gee, this sounds quite a bit like me.
How 'bout that Brandon, we have something in common.
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Brandon
Brandon

August 27th, 2007, 2:30 am #9

Nat, I've come to believe that we probably have much in common except in the area of textiles.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 27th, 2007, 2:35 am #10

Yes, I think that's true. You should hang around here more.
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