How did the universe get its start? That question may plague mankind until the end of time, yet there's one scientific mind that could get us a little closer to the answer. That mind? It belongs to Jacob Barnett, a 12-year-old in Indiana who already takes college-level advanced astrophysics classes.
Barnett has always been a bright bulb. At age three, he was solving 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzles while the rest of us were still drooling. Those advanced astrophysics classes? He also provides tutoring for them. He already has a paid gig lined up performing research at Indiana University, and you better bet your boots there's probably going to be a movie about him someday.
What has folks talking about Barnett at the moment, however, is how he is taking on the thought process around the Big Bang theory:
I'll admit, half of that went right over my head and right into a Google search. Other astrophysicists — Barnett's peers, one could even say — have encouraged Barnett's exploration with no small words. Princeton University's Scott Tremaine even emailed the family to say, "The theory that he's working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics. Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize."
Not too shabby, right? Barnett is said to have a whopping IQ of 170 — just a tad above the 160 or so Albert Einstein is believed to have enjoyed. The young man was also diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at an early age, which, coupled with his already brilliant mind, is no doubt helping to drive his unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
You can see the young Mr. Barnett spit more of his math game over on his mother's YouTube channel, and The Indianapolis Star (linked below) has a pretty thorough writeup of Barnett.