Did you know, fellas? Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart started composing when he was five. He was a musical prodigy.
On this article, we will discuss the word ‘prodigy.’
A prodigy is a highly talented child, especially under the age of ten years old, who is capable of producing a meaningful output in a field which the child is interested in, in a level of an adult expert.
In the course of history, there are several different areas where a prodigy could be found: mathematics and science, arts, and sports, particularly chess.
Some researchers believe that prodigious talent tends to arise as a result of the innate talent of the child, and the energetic and emotional investment that the child ventures. Others believe that the environment plays the dominant role.
For example, a chess grandmaster might train their children starting at a very young age, resulting in an emotional investment of the children in the game. We also see how children of famous actors or performers tend to acquire the same talents as their parents’.
There could also be occasions where, even though the environment a child grows up in doesn’t necessarily provide support to the child’s development in specific areas, the child still becomes prodigious. Researches suggest that working memory and the cognitive function of the cerebellum are what makes a prodigal child. This theory is supported by brain imagery.
The term ‘prodigy’ itself initially only meant ‘an omen’ or ‘something extraordinary’ when it was first used in English around the 15th century. It came from the Latin word ‘prodigium.’ ‘Wunderkind’ is a German word (literally: wonder child) that is often used as a synonym to ‘prodigy.’
Aside of Mozart, prodigies we might be familiar with are Frédéric Chopin and Blaise Pascal.
“My mother said that I should finish high school and go to college first.” – Saul Kripke, an American philosopher and logician who is a prodigy, in a response to an invitation to apply for a teaching position at Harvard.