The Prodigy Puzzle
November 20, 2005, Sunday
By ANN HULBERT (NYT); Magazine
'So you're the geniuses,'' Senator Carl Levin said, looking pleased as he peered over his glasses. He was addressing the flaxen-haired Heidi Kaloustian, a 17-year-old freshman at the University of Michigan, and John Zhou, a superfriendly 17-year-old senior at Detroit Country Day School, unusual visitors to Room 269 of the Russell Office Building on Capitol Hill. Michigan had distinguished itself, Levin had been informed: the state boasted two Davidson Fellows, and he had clearly been told these teenagers came trailing brainy superlatives. ''Genius loves company,'' announced the September press release about the students who had won scholarships awarded annually since 2001 by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a foundation that supports ''profoundly intelligent'' youths, a more recent term for off-the-charts children. ''Seventeen prodigies,'' the press release went on, were ''to be honored at the Library of Congress for contributions to society'' in the fields of science, math, technology, music and literature....
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