Brilliant kids who will make you feel like an idiot

Most smart kids are smart in the typical sense. They know their ABCs, they can count to 100, it only takes one hand on the hot stove to realize "heat is hot." Then there are children who put legitimate adult geniuses to shame. These kids were born with IQs just shy of an all-star batting average, and ten seconds in a room with them would make us feel like the biggest dummies on the block.

Tristan Pang


In 2014, Tristan Pang learned he'd been accepted to New Zealand's prestigious University of Auckland to study math. That's terrific news for anybody, except in Tristan's case it's even more incredible. He didn't get accepted at the normal college age — he got in when he was twelve, making him the youngest math student in University history. We're guessing the second youngest student isn't even close.

He earned his way in, garnering a 96% on his Year 13 math exams in Cambridge. Of course, at 12-years-old, he was at an age when most of us were lucky to have squeaked past introductory algebra. He's since gone on to launch Tristan's Learning Hub, a website devoted to helping kids up to fifteen years old learn math, geography, science, and programming. That said, one look at the site, and you'll find a whole bunch of lessons even 30 to 40-year-olds could learn something from.

When asked by Newshub what made him so ridiculously smart, Tristan was either really humble, or proved that he can do math and science all day, but evocative language eludes him. As he put it, "it's just a bit of brain stuff." In that case, he's got more "brain stuff" then just about everyone reading this combined.

Kautilya Pandit

In 2013, at just five years old, Kautilya Pandit already boasted an IQ of 150. That apparently rivals Albert Einstein's IQ, though it still falls far short of Bart Simpson's

Pandit, nicknamed "mini encyclopedia" by his family, has deep knowledge of over 200 countries, including each one's population, gross domestic product, their religion, their heritage, what they use for money, and probably anything else you could want to know. According to his family, he has a photographic memory, so he basically reads or sees something once and remembers it forever. Not bad for a kid who hasn't even started puberty yet. Plus, he's not done learning. 

According to his family, he has an incredibly curious mind, and will ask questions about literally anything. Once you answer, he usually has yet another question ready to go. Unlike most kids, that question isn't just "why" over and over again. They're real queries, ones the adults only might have answers for.

As for what he wants to do once he's old enough to work? His answer to that is pure kid. As he told Tribune India, "I want to be an IAS [Indian Administrative Service] officer … no, a scientist … an astronaut … I will first study and then decide." In other words, get ready for the first scientist-astronaut-government official in recorded history.

Taylor Wilson

When young kids build something, it's usually a volcano or a birdhouse in shop class. It's nice, but nothing earth-shattering. Ten-year-old Taylor Wilson, meanwhile, built a bomb.

Yes, an actual bomb. According to CNN, Wilson built his first bomb at age 10, using a pill bottle and chemicals he found around the house. Just a year later, he started buying plutonium on the internet. Luckily, this is one of the few times when a story that includes "he bought plutonium on the internet" doesn't end horribly. 

At age 14, he became the youngest person to ever assemble a nuclear fusion reactor. A year later, in 2009, Homeland Security finally got wind of him, and brought him in to see if he could help them with anything. He made quite the first impression, by telling them their building was radioactive. As it turns out, it was — Wilson had a Geiger counter handy, which alerted him there was uranium in the walls. Luckily, there wasn't enough to harm anybody, but there was certainly enough to both set off the counter and impress Homeland Security.

In 2012, according to Wilson's Ted Talks page, he received the $100,000 Thiel prize, which is given out to young people who want to create something extraordinary. Wilson's goal is to build an inexpensive radiation detector that anyone can afford and use, all to fight both nuclear terrorism, and cancer. That's certainly better than what a lot of people who can build a bomb in their garage want to do.

Mahmoud Wael

At just three years old, Mahmoud Wael blew his parents' minds by successfully calculating all sorts of multiplication problems. After getting tested, he was discovered to have an IQ of 155. By the age of fourteen, he was interviewed by Egypt's Independent Weekly; the reporter chose to test Wael's intelligence by asking him to multiply 136 by 141. It took him a mere four seconds to answer correctly, and in an effort to save time, we'll just tell you right here: it's 19,176. 

It's not just math problems, either — Waer was also able to learn how to read, write, and speak English in just three months — that's an insane pace for anybody, but he was just seven years old at the time. Plus, he's an amazing computer programmer, because of course he is. As of 2013, at just fourteen, Wael was being sponsored by Microsoft to help him complete various classes in programming. After doing so, he became the youngest person ever qualified to teach university-level classes for the notoriously difficult C++ programming. That's mighty impressive for somebody who, let's face it, has never gotten a C+ in his life and never will.

Adora Svitak

Adora Svitak is, quite simply, a writing wunderkind. At age three, she started reading, and she quickly graduated to 2-3 books a day. It's rare to read that much and not start writing yourself, so four years later she published her first book, Flying Fingers. It contained both short stories and tips on how to write well. Unlike most kids who try to teach you how to do something, Svitak is the real deal. At age seven, she began teaching school children all around the world, as well as other, physically grown-up teachers.

She says in the above video that she loves JK Rowling, which makes sense since she's basically a real-life Hermione.

She can write for both quantity and quality; according to the Telegraph, Svitak can type over a hundred words a minute, and averages about 330,000 words per year. To compare, the typical Grunge article is about 2000 words long. She's basically writing three of those a week, every week. 

That's impressive enough for anyone, but she was eleven at the time. Most eleven-year-olds struggle to write a nice message in a Hallmark greeting card, and here she is writing hundreds of thousands of words, book after book, and blog post after blog post. Yes, blogs — she's very active in the blogosphere, as she feels it's a more powerful tool to help change the world than by simply writing short stories and fiction. So she's super smart and super self-aware.

As for her IQ, we don't know, because she hasn't been tested. She told the Telegraph she doesn't believe in them, that they're "not necessarily the best way to determine one's literary intelligence." So if you took one and felt like hot stuff because you scored a 110, now you get to feel dumb all over again.

Aman Rehman


In 2009, Aman Rehman Became a lecturer at Dehra Dun's College of Interactive arts, teaching people how to create digital animation. That doesn't sound extraordinary, except — as you might've already guessed — he was eight years old when this happened. According to the Telegraph, he could barely see above the lectern when he started lecturing. But when you're a legit genius, height ain't nothing but a number.

At three years old, Rehman was first introduced to making animation through computers. But rather than watch other people do it, Rehamn chose to make them himself. Six months later, he created his first animated cartoon, a short about dancing letters. It's not exactly Toy Story, but where's your animated cartoon that you made when you were three years old? Exactly.

Shortly thereafter, his father got him accepted into Dehra Dun. And just a few months later, he created his own programming software. He's so impressive, State Chief Minister Rahul Gandhi agreed to pay for his schooling until he turned eighteen. His goal after that, according to Barcroft TV, is to study at Disney for awhile, then return to India and start up some kind of group that will teach poor kids how to animate, for free. After all, when you're this smart, the best thing to do with your gift is help other people become smart too.

Chris Hirata

In 2001, Chris Hirata graduated from Caltech, and entered Princeton's graduate physics program. Caltech can be ridiculously difficult, so simply making it through is Impressive. But he graduated with a 4.2 GPA — basically a perfect score, plus extra credit for days. To make that feat even more incredible, he did all this when he was eighteen, meaning he entered the college when he was fourteen, an age where most of us are still two years away from even thinking about college.

He pretty much aced it from day one, earning incredible scores on entrance exams, and skipping several freshman and sophomore classes in favor of more advanced ones. He pretty much dominated those too, culminating in a perfect score on the advanced physics GRE. During his final exam, he aced an incredibly difficult question that even his professor's colleagues thought was impossible. Not only did he get it right, he showed his professor an even simpler way to solve it on the back of the paper. You could say he dropped the mic, but he probably knows a better, more energy-efficient way of making it clear he proved his point. 

He completed his PhD in 2005, and is now a Physics professor at Ohio State University. Oh, and he may one day get us to Mars. Seriously. At Caltech, he was a member of the Mars Society, and according to one of his friends there, he redesigned NASA's Mars plans on three separate occasions — he was shooting for a fourth before that pesky Graduate program kicked in. So if you're ever wondering why we're not on the Red Planet yet, the answer's simple: Chris Hirata hasn't made tenure yet, so he doesn't have time to get us there.

Ainan Celeste Cawley

You know how you can recite pi to maybe four decimal places and you feel like a genius for it? Or how you know a couple places on the Periodic Table, and that makes you feel real good inside? Well, Ainan Cawley can recite pi to a ridiculous 518 places, and he knows the entire Periodic Table by heart. And he's still not old enough to drink.

His genius isn't limited to memorizing stuff, either. By nine years old, Cawley was already in college, studying chemistry. He passed his GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) at age seven. Plus, he sounds far less interested in just passing tests than doing something great for the future. As his father said in his blog about his son, "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" (as quoted by The Telegraph), "His vision is wide, ranging across the disciplines of physics, biology and chemistry … sometimes his insight seems prophetic, for he sees what is possible, rather than what is merely now." In other words, don't just quiz him on how aspirin works. Let him build a better aspirin.

Oh, and he's more mature than you, too. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, Cawley was bullied in school. However, he brushed everything off, and his reasoning (according to the Straits Times) might be the most ridiculously mature thing we've ever heard: "I did not teach myself to not care, I just don't care. Unless they are serious in their words, why should I take them into consideration?" Considering he's probably going to revolutionize chemistry and medicine, and the bullies almost certainly won't, he's got a point.

Cameron Thompson

By 2011, 14-year-old Cameron Thompson was already in a South Wales University for advanced math, according to the BBC. He got there by knowing more about math than the guy who invented math. He's a numbers prodigy who, at eleven years old, took his school's math entrance exam, which had a maximum of 140 points. He somehow got 141 —  as he put it, "I broke the system, I think I did well." Clearly, he's good at both math and understatements. 

That said, for awhile he was getting shockingly low grades in college — low for a total genius who aced basically every test put in front of him up to that point, anyway. The issue was that Cameron has Asperger's Syndrome, so he has a very difficult time explaining himself. This includes being unable to explain how he arrived at the answers. So even though he's almost always correct, he has trouble showing his work. As anybody who's dealt with any math class knows, showing your work is 90 percent of the battle. Even though he knew exactly what the answers were, he would get points taken off, ultimately scoring 72 percent on an advanced math test he wasn't even supposed to take until he was nineteen. Meanwhile, most of us would be lucky to get a 19 percent.

It sounds like things worked out —  in 2013, he told Wales Online his plans for the future: "I will go to Yale College in Wrexham and do three A-levels along with a masters degree at Open University … I can't wait." That doesn't sound like the kind of thing we'd be eager to do, but that's why he's the genius and we're the ones writing about him.

Elise Tan-Roberts


In 2007, five-month-old Elise Tan-Roberts said her first word. When she was eight months old, she started walking, and two months later she was running. Before her first birthday, she already knew what her name looked like when written down, and she could count to ten at sixteen months. It's honestly a shock she didn't create her own language by eighteen months.

All this resulted in Elise getting her IQ tested at two years old. She scored 156, which is positively astronomical. According to the Telegraph, this puts her in the .2 percentile for people her age, and she probably ranks almost as high when compared to people of any age. She quickly applied for and joined Mensa, making her the youngest member of all time. The jury's still out on whether she'll actually do anything with her fantastical intellect, as she's not even a teenager yet. Based on just about every other child genius, however, she'll probably wind up acing at least one graduate program before she can legally see an R-rated movie.