Zimbabwean Dalumuzi Mhlanga one of the world’s Smartest Teenagers
There have always been some pretty smart — make that incredibly smart — teenagers around.
Take, for example, the French mathematician Evariste Galois (1811–1832; at left), who invented the field of abstract algebra known as group theory while still in his teens. This branch of mathematics lies at the heart of modern quantum mechanics, among other things.
Galois may have been brilliant, but he was no nerd: He died in a duel over a love affair at the tender age of 21!
So, teen geniuses are nothing new. However, it does seem like there are more of them around today than ever before.
Some of them are inventors; some, like Galois, solve difficult mathematical problems; some are brilliant artists, performers, or entrepreneurs; and some have encyclopedic knowledge, speak multiple languages, or can correctly spell any word.
They are all smart. Very smart. Smart way beyond their years.
So, how do we measure intelligence? The most popular measure for intelligence is the Stanford-Binet IQ test offered through Mensa International, an organization for high-IQ people. An average IQ score is 85–114; 144 or above is considered genius-level. Yet, some people have intelligence and gifts that defy or go beyond a test score.
At first glance, it’s pretty hard to recognize the smartest teenagers. Just like fruit and other gifts of nature, we can’t (and shouldn’t) judge that proverbial book by its cover. You’ll recognize the diversity among these 50 smart teenagers and find very little in common among them in terms of physical characteristics, locations, background, etc.
Sometimes, genius only emerges after a slow start. For example, Isaac Newton did poorly in grade school, Winston Churchill failed 6th grade, and rocket scientist Werner von Braun failed 9th-grade algebra. Albert Einstein (at right) didn’t speak until he was four and didn’t read until he was seven, and Beethoven’s teacher called him hopeless as a composer.
For the most part, “wunderkinder” are just like you and me — just much smarter.
Dalumuzi Mhlanga is a graduate of Waterford Kamhlaba United World College, an honors high school in Zimbabwe.
In 2010, Dalumuzi founded Lead Us Today, a non-profit organization that conducts leadership and empowerment training with Zimbabwe’s youth. He won the 2011 Forbes magazine College Social Innovator Award Winner, and has presented his goals for Lead Us Today at the 2011 Igniting Innovation Social Entrepreneurship Summit at Harvard University.
In 2012, Dalumuzi was recognized as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Zimbabwe” award conferred by Junior Chamber International.
One lonely night when I was fifteen, I sat on my bed, surrounded by the few clothes that I owned. As I tried on each of my “outfits”, I looked at my image in the mirror and rated myself on a scale of one to ten. I never scored myself above three. I felt worthless. For me, this was an exercise in assigning my value to society. Fortunately, a few hours later that night, I pondered why I was doing this to degrade myself. I snapped out of it in that moment. For how much longer was I going to value myself based on my family’s material circumstances, which I could do little to change at that time? For how much longer was I going to brood over my situation? That night, I vowed to live life based on what I could contribute to the world and not on what value I perceived to be projected onto me by others.
This experience has inspired me to empower young people to view themselves as possessing the agency and responsibility to make a difference in their communities instead of brooding over their material, social or political circumstances. I consider this to be particularly important in my country, Zimbabwe, as young people are overwhelmed by a 95% unemployment rate and an unstable political environment, which have forced one in four Zimbabweans to live outside the country. I am intent on addressing the despair, despondency and lack of personal and collective responsibility among young people to address their own challenges and those of their communities in Zimbabwe.
Dalumuzi strongly advocates for three core values for the youth of Zimbabwe to embrace: humility, courage, and curiosity. He believes by taking more risks, we can all contribute to making our world a better place.
Dalumuzi graduated from Harvard in May, 2013, and will teach a graduate school class at Harvard. He is a pragmatic, yet eloquently powerful speaker.
Saheela Ibraheem, Nigerian
19 year old Nigerian Harvard student Saheela Ibraheem has also been recognized as one of the World’s 50 smartest teenagers in 2015. Saheela, a neurologist undergraduate in Harvard was invited to the White house where she met with the Obamas who celebrated her great feat last Thursday Feb. 26th. She was one of those celebrated by the US government to mark ‘The Black History Month”.
Saheela got admitted into the Ivy League school at the age of 15 and at the time of her admission was also offered a letter of acceptance by 13 other top colleges in the United States, including six Ivy League institutions. She however chose Harvard, making her one of the youngest students to ever attend the university. Saheela will be graduating in May this year.
President Obama while celebrating her described her as a wonderful lady.
According to Saheela, passion is what’s made her attain such academic feat.
“If you are passionate about what you do, and I am passionate about most of these things, especially with math and science, it will work out well,” she said
According to her mother, Saheela had always been independent as a child and had never wanted anyone to help her with her homework
“She’s like always independent. I never get to help with her homework because she’d say ‘it’s my work mommy, not yours.’ she said.
If you are under 21, you still have a chance to make this list or one like it, one day. Here are a few suggestions to bring out your genius and inspire you to greatness:
- Mensa International, http://www.mensa.com: Try out some of the tests on their website to see how you compare to others
- Get involved with STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities at your high school; join a local math or science team to participate in science fairs, tournaments, and olympiads
- Seek out advanced placement (AP) courses and other ways of challenging your mind and natural abilities
- Do you have a specific passion, hobby, or talent? Look for ways to stretch your interests, develop your skills, and compete with talented people
Don’t stress out over this, though.
Pushing yourself to higher levels of intellectual achievement still may not make you smarter than Einstein — some of this is simply genetics (or Providence) — but one thing is for sure: If you do participate in these activities, life will be a whole lot more interesting!
source: the best schools