12 People You Didn’t Know Were Child Prodigies

12 People You Didn’t Know Were Child Prodigies
12 People You Didn’t Know Were Child Prodigies
By this point, pretty much everyone knows about the accomplishments of child prodigies such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Some of the world’s greatest minds — individuals whose works continue to resonate and inspire even today — also launched their prodigious careers early in life as well; however, many mainstream individuals fail to realize this. The following names, all of whom have somehow revolutionized their respective industries, nurtured their talents as children before moving on to achieve some pretty amazing things. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but rather a nice, quick primer on some intriguing people who changed the world.

Pablo Picasso: Though his first exhibition occurred at age 19, one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century started his illustrious career far earlier than that. Showing promise as early as 8 years old with his painting Picador, Picasso enrolled in La Lonja and began studying the fine arts. His extensive education and inherent talent eventually led him to experiment with shape and form — eventually birthing the lauded Cubist movement later in life.

Herbie Hancock: Long before Miles Davis ever praised jazz and funk prodigy Herbie Hancock’s enviable jazz skills, the acclaimed musical artist began tinkling on his piano at age 7. By 9, he was performing to audiences across his native Chicago. It wasn’t until high school when the award winner began playing around with the genre that launched him to international stardom.

H.P. Lovecraft: Long before he drew up the blueprints for the heavily influential Cthulhu mythos, Howard Philips Lovecraft was already developing a fascination with the bizarre and macabre. He devoured books — especially horror and classics – with great passion and began memorizing and reciting poems at 3. By 6, Lovecraft could pen complex and short stories inspired by everything from Arabian Nights to Hellenic religious tales.

John Stuart Mill: Even today, political science and philosophy alike builds upon solid foundations left by this legendary figure. John Stuart Mill showed such promise very early in life, receiving a home-based education from his father that heavily emphasized Hellenic literature, academics and thought. At 8, he already displayed a proficiency in the classics and could speak and read in both Latin and Greek.

Bjork: Popular Icelandic songstress Bjork Gudmundsdottir’s music may not exactly appeal to everyone, but even her more ardent detractors can’t deny that she has talent. Long before her stints with Kukl, Sugarcubes and as a solo artist, she released her very first album at 11. It consisted of traditional Icelandic folk songs — hardly surprising, considering how a goodly portion of her family also hails from a musical background.

Jean Piaget: At age 11, legendary psychologist Jean Piaget launched his brilliant scientific career with a published paper discussing an albino sparrow. His fascination with animals branched out into malacology, and he continued submitting writings to journals – earning great acclaim in the field before graduating from high school. Before the polymath’s death in 1980, he revolutionized not only psychology, but biology, sociology, economics, education, law, epistemology and plenty other academic subjects as well.

Blaise Pascal: Blaise Pascal’s father forbade him from studying mathematics before age 15, but such staunch restrictions only piqued his curiosity even more. Around 12, he began scribbling formulas and conducting his research in secret; when his father unveiled the deception, he was rewarded with the works of Euclid instead of punishment. This training led him to exclusive meetings of the "Western" world’s foremost mathematical minds while still in his teens, and they even allowed him to present papers after a couple of years.

Ibn Sina: Also known as Avicenna, the Persian scientist and philosopher who revolutionized medicine made his intelligence known at a very early age. Under the tutelage of Natili, he memorized the entire Qur’an by age 10, eventually moving on to study Greek philosophy. Age 16 saw him nurture an interest in practicing medicine — and he proved so adroit at the subject he cured a mysterious illness plaguing the Sultan of Bukhara.

Yo -Yo Ma: Like many other exceptional musicians showing considerable promise as a child, the world-renowned cellist came from a family with such inclinations. Yo-Yo Ma’s first recital occurred at age 5, and by 9 he was already performing at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall. Today, he remains a highly respected virtuoso and composer, even enjoying an exclusive contract with Sony Classical.

Alexander Pope: This renowned English writer grew up at a time when Roman Catholics were forbidden a formal education. But this didn’t prevent his keen mind from pursuing one anyways, and he happily lapped up Latin, Greek, Italian and French. Alexander Pope began composing his beloved poetry around the age of 12, attempting to emulate the style of his favorites.

Frederic Chopin : Considered one of the greatest classical composers, Frederic Chopin began penning piano music for traditional Polish dances by age 7. He would perform many of these compositions himself in nearby concert halls to much acclaim. Once he reached his teens, Chopin began publishing as well as performing, eventually studying under other musical geniuses in order to best hone his prodigious skills.

Harold Bloom: Yale University’s prestigious literary analyst launched his illustrious, lifelong career at only 10 years old. He discovered poetry then, tearing through the library and nurturing a passion for discussing the written word before high school even began. When constructing his own elaborate self-mythology, Harold Bloom has been known to claim he could read before he could talk.
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