21 February 2012

This young man is graduating from college

His name is Moshe Kai Cavalin.  He's 14 years old.

He initially enrolled in East Los Angeles Community College, and earned two Associate of Arts degrees by the time he was 9 years old (finishing with a 4.0 GPA).

He then transferred to UCLA, where he will finish this year and head on to graduate school.

Further details at the StarTribune.  Photo: Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press.


  1. While I'm very glad for him - I'm also glad that we don't have to achieve such heights.

  2. Which is it more:
    An example of what we should all strive for
    A theft of a childhood
    An exposure of how easy US college is nowadays - a 4.0? Me thinks the diploma is useless until he's what.. at least 22? Are the loans due now?

  3. Awesome.
    I love stories about child prodigies.
    I don't think his childhood was stolen.
    Anon, Do you really think US College is easier these days?

  4. Child prodigies seem to disappoint. The time advantage they accrue by completing college when most of us were reading Highlights for Children never seems to pay out.

    I am old enough now to have seen dozens of articles about them in my life. And when I check back later they never seem to be making important contributions to society. Completing college by 14 does not seem to result in important cancer research by 24 or highly regarded symphonies by 30.

    The Mozarts, Gausses, and von Neumanns of the world seem to be the exceptions rather than the rule.

    1. I think the difference between prodigy and genius matters here. If these children are prodigies, they might far outstrip their peers at a young age, but the majority of those peers will eventually catch up, and some might even surpass the prodigies. If these children are geniuses, though, then they'll possess a capacity that might always surpass their peers, no matter their age.

    2. It's true, many child prodigies fail to live up to the hype (but that says more of the difference between media today and media 100 years ago; there's no accounting for the prodigies you never heard of because they never did anything historically significant) - still, it's fun that they can fail in remarkable ways.

      Unrelated: Are there any encryption algorithms which mimic the mechanical variations produced by Rubik's cubes? (Seems like it'd be computationally trivial and, after a million iterations with a variable base(2^x) node allocation on each pass, fairly hard to decipher)


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