Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Eight-year-old physics genius enters university
Korea Herald ^ | 2005-11-05 | Hwang Si-young

Posted on 11/06/2005 11:06:05 AM PST by sourcery

Song Yoo-geun, 8, wants to build flying cars, defying Newton's law of gravity, and the physics genius which has made him Korea's youngest university student may very well drive him to that dream.

Amid scholastic achievements that have confounded experts, the public spotlight is squarely on the child prodigy and his parents, both 46 and both former teachers. What has made Yoo-geun - born late November 1997 and actually just shy of 8 years old - so special?

His parents differ from the vast majority of Korean parents who show a passion approaching zeal for their children's education.

"No fixed daily routines for our boy," said Yoo-geun's parents. "Yoo-geun has a monthly schedule only. Rather than being confined by a rigid timetable, Yoo-geun has the freedom to explore every field he wants to."

While other children his age are first graders at elementary school, he is a freshman at the Physics Department of Inha University in Incheon, west of Seoul.

Song Yoo-geun

He set a record by completing elementary, junior-high and high school curricula in just nine months - a progression that normally takes Koreans 12 years - before being admitted to university.

With no school record to rely on for screening Yoo-geun's qualifications, the university tested him through an interview in October. He surprised professors by explaining the Schroedinger equation, which is of central importance to the theory of quantum mechanics.

Experts say the equation, proposed by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger in 1925, plays a role analogous to Newton's second law in classical mechanics.

It's no wonder then that Yoo-geun is now a national figure and the focus of media attention. People are curious about his mental capabilities and how he will be taught at university. They also want to know how he is different from ordinary children and how he has been brought up.

"Once we took Yoo-geun to a zoo. There he was looking at animals for four and a half hours straight. It was when he was three or four years old. We thought then that he was either a prodigy or the opposite," his father Song Soo-jin said in an interview with The Korea Herald at his apartment in Guri, Gyeonggi Province.

The interview was conducted mainly with the senior Song since Yoo-geun is lacking in his ability to communicate with adults.

"I think it's good to let my son do whatever he wants," the father said. According to him, when Yoo-geun is engrossed in solving math problems or doing games, he often concentrates on them for up to 14 or 15 hours. "He likes to reach conclusions, even it takes a long time."

He said his son wants his to undertake research at CERN, the world's largest particle physics laboratory near Geneva.

Yoo-geun's dream is to make flying cars, based on the superstring theory - an attempt by science to explain all particles and forces of nature by representing them as vibrations of tiny strings.

"It goes against Newton's law. Everything on earth gets drawn to the surface by gravity, but in the case of flying cars, it's different," Song said. "There should exist the same opposite magnitude of power as the earth's gravity-pull. So, a balance is formed between gravity and reaction, which makes flying cars float in the atmosphere," he explained.

"To study more on flying cars and the super-string theory, Yoo-geun wants to join CERN," the father said.

Yoo-geun first made headlines in March last year when he received a certificate for information-processing, normally given to professional engineers in their 20s or 30s. A KBS-TV program introduced his extraordinary talent in physics last November.

In March this year, he went to an elementary school but after a few days said he didn't feel suited to the school system. He took a test to obtain a diploma certifying graduation from elementary school, and passed it.

But the Song family became embroiled in legal disputes with the school authorities after they refused to approve the exam result and issue a diploma.

In April, the Song family won the case. Afterwards, on April 5, Yoo-geun passed the middle school-level entrance exam, followed on Aug. 3 by the high school-level entrance exam. In October he was admitted to the Physics Department of Inha University.

Then Science and Technology Minister Oh Myung labeled Yoo-geun as "the first prodigy in science" and promised to offer him scholarships for five years. Oh said the government will provide support for him to be able to experiment at state-run research institutes and study at universities abroad.

Yoo-geun's father is basically against prodigy schools because, he says, their institutional methods prevent children from growing creatively. Plus, he added, it's absurd to produce the same number of gifted students every year.

Nationwide there are currently 23 such schools, which accept a set number of students. What about other gifted students who, unfortunately, weren't allowed to enter? The standards to determine genius become unclear, the senior Song said.

Asked if media attention is burdensome, he said "proper attention" is desirable because proper media attention can enable encouragement to be passed on. Furthermore, it will generate more interest in physics, an area which is declining but fundamental to advancing science.

Song also said he hopes media attention can help Yoo-geun become the Park Se-ri of physics. By winning many LPGA golf championships, Park became a model for young, aspiring golfers. After Park, plenty of female Korean golfers such as Kim Mi-hyun and Grace Park and Michelle Wie have figured prominently on the women's golf circuit.

"Public attention on Yoo-geun shouldn't stop here. I'd like to see more kids go along the same path, shoulder to shoulder with Yoo-geun," said Song.

Yoo-geun has received his share of criticism, along with the hype. When he appeared on television with signs of atopic skin reactions on his face, the gossip, although lacking legitimate grounds, was that the rash was caused by severe stress. Critics said his mother should be held responsible for making her kid study excessively.

Educators in the mainstream found fault with his father's decision to enroll Yoo-geun at Inha University after rejecting offers from top-notch and prestigious national universities like Pohang University of Science and Technology or Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Techonology.

"I believe, above all, the first priority in education is to make every child happy, said Song.

"The single most important thing in education is to find a favorable, encouraging environment for a kid - in other words, let him be," he concluded.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: genius; korea; physics
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-114 next last

1 posted on 11/06/2005 11:06:06 AM PST by sourcery
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: AntiGuv; Ernest_at_the_Beach; FairOpinion; phatoldphart; SunkenCiv

Ping


2 posted on 11/06/2005 11:07:35 AM PST by sourcery (Either the Constitution trumps stare decisis, or else the Constitution is a dead letter.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

I hope Kim Jong-Il doesn't get a hold of this kid...


3 posted on 11/06/2005 11:11:04 AM PST by RockinRight (Itís likely for a Conservative to be a Republican, but not always the other way around)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

Good for him. I pray he goes far.


4 posted on 11/06/2005 11:11:50 AM PST by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

You cannot really hold a genius back. The simply don't play like other kids. Even when you send them outside to play a little, they will be looking at things and doing things differently. They will NOT fit in socially AT ALL with their "peers." Let him study. He is happy.


5 posted on 11/06/2005 11:11:52 AM PST by Yaelle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

Let's hope the media backs off and gives this kid some space. I wish he'd focus on fusion energy so we could wall off the middle east.


6 posted on 11/06/2005 11:12:49 AM PST by Maynerd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

So he gets his PhD at 10, overthrows Einstein's theory of relativity at 14, has his super string car up and running at 18, gets his Nobel at 20, then what?

Actually, from what I read, most of these child geniuses are totally burnt out by the time they're 20 and are never heard from again. The exceptions seem to be in the world of music for some reason.


7 posted on 11/06/2005 11:13:30 AM PST by saganite (The poster formerly known as Arkie 2)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RockinRight
I hope Kim Jong-Il doesn't get a hold of this kid...

...or American educrats...

8 posted on 11/06/2005 11:14:51 AM PST by who knows what evil? (New England...the Sodom and Gomorrah of the 21st Century, and they're proud of it!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

"The interview was conducted mainly with the senior Song since Yoo-geun is lacking in his ability to communicate with adults."

My cat's genius exceeds that of Einstein.....but unfortunately he is lacking in his abililty to communicate with humans.


9 posted on 11/06/2005 11:15:03 AM PST by RouxStir (Islam is a slower moving, more deadly "Nazism".....but the results are the same.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: saganite

But aren't most forced into some sort of academic system? The kid seems intent to pursue an application of his abilities. Hell even he get's burned out after creating a flying car, the benefits for the scientific community should be quite impressive.


10 posted on 11/06/2005 11:16:11 AM PST by x5452
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Maynerd
Flying cars are a really dumb idea. There are enough bad drivers now. :-)

Now if the kid wants to design a workable starship we all would have plenty of room to maneuver...and a way to escape political correctness here on Earth. :-)
11 posted on 11/06/2005 11:16:49 AM PST by cgbg (Racism is identifying, quantifying, and determining social policy by race.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: sourcery
There's something about the child prodigy that I find very fascinating. My hope for such kids is that they are nurtured as much as possible and allowed to progress as best they can. I don't believe there is a perfect way to achieve this.
12 posted on 11/06/2005 11:17:19 AM PST by DoughtyOne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sourcery
Eight-year-old physics genius enters university

Did they ask him yet about how often he thinks about touching his private parts?

-PJ

13 posted on 11/06/2005 11:18:59 AM PST by Political Junkie Too (It's still not safe to vote Democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sourcery
In March this year, he went to an elementary school but after a few days said he didn't feel suited to the school system.

I felt the same way, but my parents stifled my creativity and forced me to go through he whole 12 year thing.

14 posted on 11/06/2005 11:20:20 AM PST by operation clinton cleanup
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Political Junkie Too

"Did they ask him yet about how often he thinks about touching his private parts?"

Those lucky Koreans doesn't have the Ninth Circuit:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1515312/posts


15 posted on 11/06/2005 11:23:27 AM PST by LibFreeOrDie (L'chaim!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Yaelle
They will NOT fit in socially AT ALL with their "peers."

Their peers aren't the other play ground kids. They'll find FreeRepublic some day and find a whole bunch of genius+ peers.

16 posted on 11/06/2005 11:23:34 AM PST by ASA Vet (Those who know don't talk, those who talk don't know.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: DoughtyOne

It is possible that the really smart ones escape detection.

;^)


17 posted on 11/06/2005 11:24:23 AM PST by headsonpikes (The Liberal Party of Canada are not b*stards - b*stards have mothers!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Maynerd
Let's hope the media backs off and gives this kid some space. I wish he'd focus on fusion energy so we could wall off the middle east.

Er, fission works just fine. Right now. It has for more than half a century. Our energy problems are political not physical.

18 posted on 11/06/2005 11:24:49 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: DoughtyOne

I have a confession to make.
Before I read the article I said,"I bet the kid is Asian"
I'm still stereotyping.


19 posted on 11/06/2005 11:25:47 AM PST by Riverman94610
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

WOW!

This is really impressive! And 8 year old kid as a Physics freshman. From the sound of it, he will have his Ph.D in Physics by the time he is 10.


20 posted on 11/06/2005 11:26:29 AM PST by FairOpinion (CA Props: Vote for Reform: YES on 73-78, NO on 79 & 80, NO on Y)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: saganite
I do not know where you "read" that. I work with about 800 profoundly gifted children in this country. Your assertion that most get totally burnt out is a myth. Some do, but it is a very, very small minority.

Another myth is that these kids are all socially maladjusted. True, they are not intellectually matched with their peer age group, but they can engage quite well in athletic or social activities with their age peers. They just can not learn with them.

Think of Tiger Woods. As a young child he could do many things with his age peers. He could go to school with them and socialize with them, but he was not well matched playing golf with them.
21 posted on 11/06/2005 11:27:45 AM PST by gleneagle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: sourcery
I can't square this:

He surprised professors by explaining the Schroedinger equation, which is of central importance to the theory of quantum mechanics.

With this:

The interview was conducted mainly with the senior Song since Yoo-geun is lacking in his ability to communicate with adults.

22 posted on 11/06/2005 11:28:51 AM PST by TN4Liberty (American... conservative... southern.... It doesn't get any better than this.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cgbg

I think I saw this episode of the X-Files. The problem will be keeping the aliens from taking him back to their own planet.


23 posted on 11/06/2005 11:29:56 AM PST by GoforBroke
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

Burn out by age 15. Suicide by 21.


24 posted on 11/06/2005 11:30:03 AM PST by birbear (Admit it. you clicked on the "I have already previewed" button without actually previewing the post.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: saganite
"then what?"

Then he figures out that a black whole is 6 months from eating us?

25 posted on 11/06/2005 11:30:42 AM PST by litehaus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: sourcery
Experts say the equation, proposed by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger in 1925, plays a role analogous to Newton's second law in classical mechanics.

That's odd. I've always thought of it as being equivalent to Newton's first law. Both are essentially statements of conservation of energy.

26 posted on 11/06/2005 11:35:54 AM PST by Physicist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

I'm ashamed of this board. I thought by now there would be a posted picture of George Jetson's family car.


27 posted on 11/06/2005 11:36:34 AM PST by sparkomatic (I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Phil 4:13)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sourcery
The only thing I found curious in the whole article...how many languages does he speak/read? Not that this is an incredible hold back, not anymore, but it was something that is usually listed in such articles.

As for his future.. I'll go with another poster who would like to see him work on fusion reactors rather than flying cars. Especially after watching a two-car collision on the freeway yesterday in the mirror.
28 posted on 11/06/2005 11:37:53 AM PST by kingu (Draft Fmr Senator Fred Thompson for '08.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

"He surprised professors by explaining the Schroedinger equation, which is of central importance to the theory of quantum mechanics."

Hope he doesn't take up poker, or we're all finished!


29 posted on 11/06/2005 11:38:15 AM PST by Left2Right ("Democracy isn't perfect, but other governments are so much worse")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: headsonpikes

That's an interesting point. I can understand the reasoning behind a comment like that.

My perception would be that people who are incredibly bright, off the scale so to speak, would be harder to hide than $100 million dollars under your mattress.

The one possiblity I could agree with though, would be that proper diagnosis might be a problem. So might sanity. So might channeling the benefits of such a mind into a complimentary vs destructive force.

People with such incredible briliance, see scientific things clearly, like you and I see a road sign clearly. I'm not sure they are as able to see morality issues with that same clarity. I'm not trying to dump on the Einstine Hawkings people. I'm actually talking about people that could surpase them, and I do think they are out there.

It's kindof hard to address this issue without acting like these folks are monsters. That's not what I'm trying to intimate. Socially, the extremely brilliant are sometimes simply unable to cope with social performance.

That these parents seem to have brought this kid to the place he's at without destroying him, or allowing society to destroy him is rather remarkable IMO.

The study of this dynamic is an interesting field IMO. Hope I've conveyed some rationality to this. It's kindof a tough topic to touch on without sounding like you've gone off the deep end.


30 posted on 11/06/2005 11:39:17 AM PST by DoughtyOne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Riverman94610

IMO, you're referencing a work ethic without intentionally doing so. At the present time some Asians seem to put their noses to the grind-stone as well as anyone on the planet. The results speak for themselves.

Einstine, Hawkings, other brilliant minds pop up here and there and will continue to do so.

I am inspired by the savant mind at times. Some of those people are very gifted in narrowly focused areas. I sometimes wonder if we haven't ignored what might be an incredible resource if channeled properly.


31 posted on 11/06/2005 11:45:30 AM PST by DoughtyOne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Yaelle
The simply don't play like other kids. Even when you send them outside to play a little, they will be looking at things and doing things differently.

Reminds me of the movie Parenthood. The little girl is a genius, and is completely freaked out from something as simple as the old "sliding thumb" trick.

32 posted on 11/06/2005 11:46:05 AM PST by Recovering Hermit
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: operation clinton cleanup
"I felt the same way, but my parents stifled my creativity and forced me to go through he whole 12 year thing."

Mine also. On the first day of kindergarten I walked home at noon and declared that I wasn't going back and wind up being nothing but a basket weaver and all the kids do was play. She made me walk back after getting by bottom reddened and after that in 3 different grades wouldn't allow the school to skip a grade.
33 posted on 11/06/2005 11:46:28 AM PST by dalereed
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: sourcery
"Yoo-geun's dream is to make flying cars"


At last, a physicist who'll understand man's true place in the order of the universe: we're here to drive the flying cars!

34 posted on 11/06/2005 11:52:27 AM PST by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dalereed
My ignorant teachers never understood my brilliant theory that 1+1 = 3.
35 posted on 11/06/2005 11:53:15 AM PST by operation clinton cleanup
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: operation clinton cleanup

I've always held that there are 3 kinds of people in this world - those that can do math and those that can't.


36 posted on 11/06/2005 11:55:21 AM PST by sparkomatic (I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Phil 4:13)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: sparkomatic

I was one of those!


37 posted on 11/06/2005 11:56:14 AM PST by operation clinton cleanup
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith

As long as that flying car does the quater-mile in less than 12 seconds and gets better than a hundred miles to the gallon.


38 posted on 11/06/2005 12:00:24 PM PST by GoforBroke
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: operation clinton cleanup

Had a stastics class where the instructor tried to prove that 2+2=5 but no one caught him since he went so fast and used 2 blackboards, erasing the first one to finish the problem thereby erasing where he had conned us!

He also stated on the first day of class that anyone writing or uttering the word stastics in the class would automaticly fail and that the class was to be known as how to lie with figures and how to make figures lie.


39 posted on 11/06/2005 12:00:36 PM PST by dalereed
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: dalereed

My parents were convinced I skipped several of grades, even though I attended nine months for each of them. Heh heh heh...


40 posted on 11/06/2005 12:02:39 PM PST by DoughtyOne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: dalereed
I would never trust anyone who taught stastics! :)
41 posted on 11/06/2005 12:04:43 PM PST by operation clinton cleanup (GO BENGALS!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: dalereed
Had a stastics class where the instructor tried to prove that 2+2=5...

You know... there are three kinds of lies:

  1. Lies
  2. Damned lies
  3. Statistics

But seriously, university level stats are nothing to joke about... they can be confusing, and leading people into confusing territory is a good way to lie to them. Statistics do not really lie...

42 posted on 11/06/2005 12:06:48 PM PST by Bon mots
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: Yaelle
You cannot really hold a genius back.

Sure you can. Happens every day. Ask anybody who has joined Mensa, even the ones who have experienced great success.

43 posted on 11/06/2005 12:13:56 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: saganite

Yes that happened to me.


44 posted on 11/06/2005 12:16:27 PM PST by sine_nomine (Every baby is a blessing from God, from the moment of conception.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: dalereed

I had a discreet mathematics professor that proved to us that he was god. I forget how he did it; I remember being unimpressed and stuck to the notion that there is only one God and he wasn't it.

BTW, I don't mean to imply that the professor was discreet, only that the math was discreet and that he was the professor of such.


45 posted on 11/06/2005 12:16:47 PM PST by sparkomatic (I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Phil 4:13)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: Bon mots

"Statistics do not really lie"

They do when you choose which ones you use and disregard any that disprove your lie.


46 posted on 11/06/2005 12:17:17 PM PST by dalereed
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

"Once we took Yoo-geun to a zoo. There he was looking at animals for four and a half hours straight. It was when he was three or four years old."



This had me scratching my head. Isn't looking at animals for several hours exactly what children are expected to do at the zoo?


47 posted on 11/06/2005 12:18:09 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Beelzebubba
Yeah, but you should've seen the way he was looking at them.



No, I don't know what that means.
48 posted on 11/06/2005 12:26:22 PM PST by kenth (A zot! A zot! My kingdom for a zot!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: sourcery

Poor Kid will probably burn out at 14.


49 posted on 11/06/2005 12:27:42 PM PST by ConvienentCharade
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sourcery
Yoo-geun's dream is to make flying cars, based on the superstring theory

What the heck does building flying cars have to do with superstring theory? Sounds like some reporterspeak gee-wiz retardification.
50 posted on 11/06/2005 12:29:19 PM PST by billybudd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-114 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson