Unsurprisingly, it's not too hard to identify who is likely to be a top-tier scientist, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) academic or inventor: just look at the young students who score in the top .01% of the math SAT test.
How to Raise a Genius: Lessons from a 45-Year Study of Supersmart Children
"A long-running investigation of exceptional children reveals what it takes to produce the scientists who will lead the 21st century."
The article goes on to discuss the push-pull in the educrat industry over which group of kids gets more attention: those in the upper reaches of innate abilities, or the ones struggling at the bottom.
As correspondent Lew G. observed, it's a false choice: technology increasingly enables us to tailor education to each students' learning preferences and interests.
"Why should there be any choice about encouraging everyone vs focusing on the very superior?
Education should be individualized, which means it should have zip to do with any government. Government does one size fits all, at best."
Lew sent along another interesting article that is related to the study of supersmart kids:
What I learned as a hired consultant to autodidact physicists (via Lew G.)
Autodidact = self-taught.
This article is about adults, almost all male, who think they have an insight into high-level physics. Many are nearing retirement and many are engineers.
The writer, a journalist who specializes in cutting edge physics, observes that the self-taught researchers lack the rigors foundation needed to actually contribute to such a demanding and dynamic field.
She also observed that many visualize a solution based on spatial descriptions that are not entirely mathematically accurate, and this results in some basic misunderstandings pf modern physics.
The study of supersmart kids found a high correlation between these kids' spatial abilities and their math wizardry: high spatial "genius" generates "genius" in a variety of fields.
This reminded me of Einstein's account of how he discovered special relativity: it was a visualization, not a series of formulas. Those followed as he formalized in math what he'd visualized spatially.
If you read his gedankenexperiments (thought experiments) on relativity, you can see how he visualized the relations of space, time, the speed of light and the speed/velocity of objects.
Many fields require foundations that are supremely difficult to master: physics is one such field, playing and composing classical music is another. (Try memorizing 45 minutes of complex music and playing it flawlessly with all eyes on you.)
But many others don't require such massive intellectual foundations. Imagine if there were an SAT test for emotional intelligence. Would we start focusing on kids who were supersmart in emotional-intelligence?
Is there a genius for authenticity and integrity? How about for spatial insights that cannot be reduced or formalized to mathematical formulas?
It seems there are many forms of genius, and right now we only measure the few that can be leveraged into great wealth via patents and new technologies that can be commercialized by corporations.