12-year-old genius on soaring through college: “I just grasp information quickly”

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Whip-smart kids apply every year to Georgia Tech. But no one like Caleb Anderson. He’s 12 years old.

“I’m not really smart,” he told correspondent Mark Strassmann. “I just grasp information quickly. So, if I learn quicker, then I get ahead faster.”

This elite engineering school fell over itself recruiting him. Caleb saw the labs, and met the school’s president, Ángel Cabrera.  

At age 2, Caleb Anderson could do fractions; today, at 12, the young prodigy is preparing to study aerospace engineering.

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Professor Mark Costello, chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Aerospace Engineering, told Strassmann, “He’s a perfect candidate to come into our program and be very successful.”

“Is his admission guaranteed?” Strassmann asked.

“I would expect that he would be admitted, for sure,” he replied.

Strassmann asked Caleb’s parents, Claire and Kobi Anderson, “What’s it like to be touring a college when your kid is 12?”

“I don’t think anything Caleb has done has been normal for us,” said Claire.

Caleb Anderson.

CBS News

Caleb knew sign language by nine months. At age one, he was reading. At age two, he knew how to do fractions. 

Caleb said, “I have this distinct memory of going to a first grade class and learning there, and everyone was way taller than me, because, you know, I was two. I could barely walk!”

Middle school was awful. “The kids there, they kind of looked down on me, they treated me like I was an anomaly,” Caleb said. “And I kind of am.”

He’s been studying aerospace engineering for a year at Chattahoochee Technical College in Marietta, Ga. If he stayed there, he’d be on track to graduate in two years. But his parents want a university that’s the right fit for a tween genius. 

Claire said, “We want him to


21 MacArthur ‘Genius grant’ winners — including a neuroscientist, econometrician and historian — receive $625K each

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A legal scholar who studies how Black and other disadvantaged families are deprived of their real estate wealth.

A cognitive neuroscientist who taps a range of technologies to understand how the brain functions.

A jazz singer who is expanding what the art of song can achieve.

These are among winners of this year’s MacArthur Fellowships, popularly known as “genius grants.” Each will receive $125,000 annually for the next five years, with no strings attached, from the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

“In the midst of civil unrest, a global pandemic, natural disasters, and conflagrations, this group of 21 exceptionally creative individuals offers a moment for celebration,” said Cecilia Conrad, managing director of the MacArthur Fellows, in a statement.

“They are asking critical questions, developing innovative technologies and public policies, enriching our understanding of the human condition, and producing works of art that provoke and inspire us.”

Following is the complete list of this year’s winners. For more information, visit www.macfound.org.

Isaiah Andrews, 34, Cambridge, Mass.

Andrews, an econometrician, develops “reliable and broadly applicable methods of statistical inference to address key challenges in economics, social science and medicine,” according to the foundation.

Tressie McMillan Cottom, 43, Chapel Hill, N.C.

The sociologist, writer and public scholar explores where issues of race, gender, education and digital technology converge. Her work spans academic scholarship to social media platforms.

Paul Dauenhauer, 39, Minneapolis.

A chemical engineer, Dauenhauer is developing technologies for turning materials drawn from organic, renewable sources into the “chemical building blocks” for items now made from fossil fuels.

Nels Elde, 47, Salt Lake City.

An evolutionary geneticist, Elde explores the processes that allow organisms to attack others or defend themselves.

Damien Fair, 44, Minneapolis.

Fair, a cognitive neuroscientist, investigates brain functioning via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), sophisticated mathematical