Video: 12-Year-Old’s Serious Challenges to Einstein’s Theories


jacob-barnett[Video below.] In some ways, Jacob Barnett is just like any other 12-year-old kid. But in other ways, he’s a little different. Jake, who has an IQ of 170, began solving 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzles at the age of 3, not long after he’d been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism. A few years later, he taught himself calculus, algebra, and geometry in two weeks. By 8, he had left high school, and is currently taking college-level advanced astrophysics classes-while tutoring his older classmates. And he’s being recruited for a paid researcher job by Indiana University.

Now, he’s at work on a theory that challenges the Big Bang-the prevailing explanation among scientists for how the universe came about. It’s not clear how developed it is, but experts say he’s asking the right questions.

“The theory that he’s working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics,” Scott Tremaine of Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Studies-where Einstein (pictured) himself worked-wrote in an email to Jake’s family. “Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize.”

Here you can watch Jake question some of the key elements of Albert Einstein’s theories on quantum physics:


It’s not clear where Jake got his gifts from. “Whenever I try talking about math with anyone in my family,” he told the Indianapolis Star, “they just stare blankly.”

But his parents encouraged his interests from the start. Once, they took him to the planetarium at Butler University. “We were in the crowd, just sitting, listening to this guy ask the crowd if anyone knew why the moons going around Mars were potato-shaped and not round,” Jake’s mother, Kristine Barnett, told the Star. “Jacob raised his hand and said, ‘Excuse me, but what are the sizes of the moons around Mars?’ ”

After the lecturer answered, said Kristine, “Jacob looked at him and said the gravity of the planet … is so large that (the moon’s) gravity would not be able to pull it into a round shape.”

“That entire building … everyone was just looking at him, like, ‘Who is this 3-year-old?'”

{The Lookout/ Newscenter}


  1. In this stupid world we live in anyone can be the next Einstein.. Besides from the clip it seems he himself dosnt look like he knows what he is saying.. he kind of smirks at the end.. like “i know I’m a jerk” you wouldnt see that from a real genious..

  2. The funny thing is that he goes back to eating the sandwich right after speaking about the theories of light and space. Thats pretty funny!

  3. This is technobabble. The kid doesn’t know what he is saying.

    Tachyons were first coined by Gerald Feinberg who wrote a theoretical paper as an amusing mathematical exercise (I took his general relativity course in college). Tachyons are mathematically consistent with Einstein’s general theory of relativity and the constant speed of light (not an accelerated speed of light), but are not likely to exist.

  4. What you’re noticing are classic symptoms of asperger’s/autism. That’s why he comes across as unfocused and needs to be prompted. That being said, you can’t deny that what he is actually saying is very advanced even for your average adult. Of course, if you are not familiar with the topic it will be hard to understand what he’s talking about. (Unless you understood everything he was saying … )

  5. Reply to #2
    Do you know that you’re a jerk? The article says that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s which means his social skills aren’t the greatest but I don’t think Indiana University would recruit him for a paid position if he didn’t have legitimate potential.

  6. #2, I don’t see any smirk, but anyway, the article says he has Asperger’s. He probably doesn’t always behave like everyone else, but he certainly seems to be a genius. (that’s how a genius spells genius!)

  7. To #2. Actually, that is precisely what a genius might say. Einstein himself oftem made self depracating remarks. Isaac Newton was famously quoted to the effect that regardles how he was viewed by other people he saw himself as just a fellow walking along a beach, occasionally stopping to look at a bright colored pebble.

  8. I’d rather be normal and have normal kids and be able to relate to my peers. I don’t need to know quantum physics to be happy.

  9. The video headline has it all wrong:

    “Here you can watch Jake question some of the key elements of Albert Einstein’s theories on quantum physics:”

    Quantum physics is essentially a post-Einstein study. The “uncertainty principal” is a basic quantum mechanics principal, whereby (in simplistic terms) just by “observing” quanta (electrons, sub-atomic particles) the location and/or the momentum of that particle in its trajectory, is altered. (Almost like: “If there is no-one in the forest then the tree falling makes no sound.”)
    This is a theory very similar to the Torah concept of “bechira”, where one action can change the whole “structure” of physical existence, and we become partners (shutafim) to Creation through mitzvos.

    When Einstein heard of this emerging principal (in 1927 by Heisenberg) he is often quoted as saying: “The Old One (Der Alter, G-d) doesn’t play dice.” He also said: “I like to believe that the moon is still there even if we don’t look at it.” (Einstein remained convinced that electrons do have definite orbits, even if we cannot observe them.

    I have taken the effort to state this simply, because it is one of the highlights of my emerging sefer, “Science, Design, and Divine. May Hashem give me sustainable resources to bring such notions to print.

    Which reminds me of a story (a mayseh is always in the right place): The famous Lubliner Rov (originator of Daf Yomi, who spent much time traveling to raise funds for his Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin) was once asked to speak in a shul on Parshas Shekalim. He gave a very deep pilpul on the concept of machatziss hashekel and tzedaka, and it was not certain how many people were following. On his way down from the bima, he asked a child “Du hosst farshtanen? (Did you understand?) To which the child said “Yeh, der Rebbe hott gezogt ‘git gelt’.” (The Rebbe said give money.) So the Lubliner Rov turned to the audience and said, “This child understood exactly what I said.”

  10. to #16. In fact Einstein’s prize was for the photoelectric effect: that light (even of wavelengths at which wave properties are readily observed) interacts with electrons at the surface of metals as a particle. This is Quantum Mechanics.

    I presume the acceleration sideways refers to bending of light in a gravitational field.

  11. to #11: Newton may have said that, but he was lying. He spent much time and energy getting himself recognized and honored.

  12. What are are you guys talking about?
    Enstein was pretty much the father of Quantum Mechanics; to prove light was a particle and not a wave. Turns out its a partcle that acts like a wave. Then it explain it other physicists came up with a model based on probabilites (and destroyed determinism) it was unacceptable to Einstein. But he still played an important role in trying to debunk quantum physics for a long time.
    Einstein prize will always be releativity! anything else he did (I’m sure he did much) will pale in comparison. I believe it was 18 years between special and general releativity. This kid is 12? let him toy around with ideas that make sense. That was all scientist do, till one makes sense. He will find the speed of light to be consistant or witness the other absurbities of nature it would create OR we do got it wrong and it needs to be modified. That’s a pretty tried and true one though, lol.
    And the photoelectric post? com’on, if there’s a 2nd einstein thing to talk about, it’s him showing a low intensity light radiator makeing a single intense point instead of a weak drawn out wave pattern showing the existance of photons.