Re: Einstein's SATs and early recognition

From: Richard Loosemore (
Date: Mon Nov 21 2005 - 13:11:51 MST

Michael Vassar wrote:
> Actually, Da Vincy was identified as a remarkable painter at age 14 or
> 15 and became the apprentice of a one of the famous painters of his
> day. Stravinsky, at age 20, acquired an apprenticeship with Russia's
> most famous musician. Newton was recognized as unusually able as a
> child, but if he conceptualized gravity at age 12 as he later claimed,
> he told no-one and was not acclaimed till much later. Leibnitz was
> recognized as a much more remarkable scholar in youth, and applied for a
> doctorate in law, on of several subjects he had mastered by that time at
> age 20, but was refused. Einstein was a bad student, dropped out of
> school, and failed his liberal arts exams, but in fact it is a testomony
> to his extrordinary mathematical test scores that he was recruited by
> the Eidgenössische Polytechnische Schule anyway under the condition that
> he first finish secondary school.
> In other words, by college age all of these examples had been recognized
> as unusually talented, surely 99th percentile and probably 99.9th
> percentile, but none of them had accomplishments that would be
> particularly unusual among say, Cal Tech students or SL4 posters.

Well, no, what you say is not entirely accurate. Stravinsky was an
abysmal law student when he encountered Rimsky-Korsakov at the age of
20, and Rimsky told him that maybe he should take some lessons, but
thought his stuff was not that great and discouraged him from a career
as a musician.

Newton's early period at Cambridge was in many ways pretty banal.

Einstein was running hot and cold all the time ... he was the poster boy
for the type of person who looks mediocre on a standard test.

As for Leonardo, we don't know much about his early talent in respect of
the kind of thing that would appear on an SAT. I mean, can you get a
99.9th percentile on SAT if you are good at drawing and painting ......?
  And never mind the fact that Leonardo couldn't finish most of the
projects that he started.

Richard Loosemore.

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