Forget what you know | Jacob Barnett | TEDxTeen

Translator: Jaime Ochoa
Reviewer: Capa Girl Hey! I’m Jacob Barnett,
are you guys excited? (Cheers) Alright! I am here to tell you why you guys
should forget everything you know, right now! So, first thing you guys need to know: suppose you guys are
all doing your homework. OK, you know,
it’s something you have to do; and, you’re doing great
on your homework, you are getting great grades,
fabulous prizes, such as you know, Benjamins and all this great stuff. I’m here to tell you
that you’re doing it all wrong! That’s right, I did just say that,
you’re doing it all wrong! In order to succeed you have to look at everything with your
own unique perspective. OK, what does that mean? That means that, when you think, you must think in your own creative way, not accepting everything
that’s already out there. By the way, the people I’m showing you in the background
are my little brothers Ethan and Wesley, one of them is a chemist and the
other one is a meteorologist. So, your perspective might be
the only way you can see art or history
or music, or whatever. So, let me show you one of the
ways in which I can see math. that’s 32 and the rotations represent: addition, subtraction,
division, multiplication, etc. My main reason of coming out here is to do some quantum mechanics, OK? So, today, what we’re gonna do is, we’re gonna do the Schrödinger equation, split it into time independent components, and we’re gonna solve it for the boundary conditions of a
lattice and a particle in the box. So, let’s get to work! So, I have some lecture notes,
which I’d like you guys to pass out. I’m gonna split them into two rows. So, if I can have some people
come up and get these? No, wait.
Before you come up here I need to let you know about
something very quickly. OK, just stay there.
I’m kidding! (Laughter) I didn’t —
(Applause) I did not come here to frighten you all
with quantum mechanics — not yet. So, let’s think about something simpler. How many of you here
have heard about circles? OK, good. So, why are circles important? They are the shape of cookies. They are the shape of
skateboard wheels, and most importantly, they’re the shape of the thing
that turns on your X-box 360. (Laughter) So, what do we know
from school about circles? We know Pi r2,
we know they’re round. Do we know anything else? Not really. (Laughter) So, let me tell you something cool
you can do with circles. It’s called Johnson’s Theorem. It’s not really a theorem,
it’s just, you know, a way mathematicians
can think of stuff. So, what Johnson said was, “You take three circles, you overlap them in a way
so that there’s six blue lines” — where I call each
of the circles blue; so there’s six lines
coming in one point. The other three points
are in a circle of the same size; Interesting. So, this isn’t just Pi r2,
This is something new. So because Johnson didn’t just think: “Oh, it’s gotta be Pi r2 and round,
that’s it,” he created math. And he did it in his own
unique perspective way. So, now I know not all of you are
necessarily mathematically gifted, so — (Laughter) so, let’s move on to some
more interesting stuff. By now you might have heard about
Isaac Newton in your High School career. You might have heard
about him from prisms or whatever he might have done. So, in 1665, Isaac Newton
was at the University of Cambridge. Now, for those of you who
really know your history, at that time Cambridge
had closed due to the plague. So, Isaac Newton,
he didn’t have a way to learn. He had to stop learning,
and he was probably, hiding in a dormitory with
his cat running from the plague. Now, while he was doing this
he decided he had to stop learning, but he didn’t want
to stop thinking. OK? So, because of that he was thinking
about this problem in astrophysics. And specifically I think
he wanted to calculate the motion of the Moon
around the Earth, so I sort of revamped that problem
into the case of Mercury around the Sun. So, OK. What he did was, in order to solve
this problem he created calculus, Newton’s three laws,
the universal law of gravitation, the reflecting telescope
to check his work, and optics, and all this crazy stuff in that two years
that he had stopped learning. So, I guess that was really good for us, because at that time
Newton had to stop learning; but when he stopped learning he started
thinking and he created science. And, OK, that’s just great,
we now have a theory of physics! So, OK. He could have probably
been some top scholar, he could have had a 4.0 GPA, he could have been
on the dean’s list, he could have had
his professors proud; but he wouldn’t have created anything if he didn’t stop learning. Newton needed to start thinking, and think of things out of his
own unique perspective, in order to create his theory. So, now let me formally introduce myself because I did not do that
at the beginning of the talk. So, about 11 years ago I was diagnosed
with this thing called autism. that it seemed I wasn’t thinking at all. Basically I’d be like,”Oh, look here’s
this reflection of that light, so there’s light up here,
but, oh, there’s my shadow, so there’s a light back there”
and I looked over and it’s over there. (Laughter) OK. So, because of that, you know, people thought I would never learn because it just looked
I was just staring into the opening; it looked like
I wasn’t doing anything at all. So, people told me I would
never learn, I’d never think, I’d never talk, I’d never
tie my shoes, which — OK, they might have had
a point, you know, So —
(Laughter) You know, but however,
at that age, I went to the Barnes and Noble,
and I got a textbook, and from the data that was in that textbook
I derived Kepler’s laws. When I wasn’t supposed to be
learning or thinking at all. So, basically from the other
people’s point of view it wasn’t really looking too good, I wasn’t
fingerpainting, or doing story time, or any of the other stuff
the 2-3-4 year olds would do; but, you know,
what they did was, because I — they took me to special Ed., which is extremely special in the fact that it didn’t educate me. (Laughter) So, during that time
I had to stop learning because I didn’t have a
way to learn, you know, I was just in special Ed. So what they would do is — So, I wasn’t able to learn
anything at all. However, at that age I started
thinking about things and sort of the way
of all of these shadows, and I think that’s why I like astrophysics,
and physics, and math today; because I had to stop learning, I believe that’s why
I do what I do today. OK, so let me continue
about gravity. It’s a very exciting topic for those
of us who are in physics. So let me continue. Now, what happened was, about a couple of centuries later, the physicists had enough experimental
technology to test Newton’s orbit. Now, Newton predicted that
the orbit of Mercury was an oval, or as scientists like to say
“an ellipse.” However, when we pointed our
telescopes out, we saw that thing. For those of you who are scientists you know
that’s extremely exaggerated, but — This was not looking good,
Newton had failed. One of the greatest physicists,
of all minds, had failed, he failed! (Laughter) So, we needed someone else,
just like Newton had done, to forget everything they knew! And you know, recreate this. That man’s name was Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein, what he would
— he was also — he was stopped in his tracks,
he was not doing very well. He was Jewish
and it was pre-Nazi Germany, so, he was not able to get
a position at the local university. He had to work at a patent office; which, OK, that’s not theoretical physics,
and we’re talking about Einstein here. So, yeah, what happened was, Einstein,
he had all this time to think all of a sudden. He had to stop learning,
but he had all this time to think; he liked to have these
thought experiments and liked to think about
all these different things. So what Einstein thought was, OK, he pictured himself on
a trampoline with a couple of friends, which — they are actually —
a failure of my sentence there, and the fact that physicists that’s usually a couple
more than they have. (Laughter) Albert Einstein was probably on
a trampoline with one of his friends, and you know, they were
probably playing some, I don’t know, tennis or something. So, however, you know,
they are physicists, they don’t have very good
hand to eye coordination, so they probably didn’t, you know, catch the tennis ball, and
it went rolling around them; and Einstein looked at this and said, “Without friction, this is gravity!” He realized, “This is just gravity.” So, afterwards,
he predicted the motion which is gonna end up
like that crazy thing; but that crazy thing is exactly
that other crazy thing. So, Einstein had solved the problem just by thinking about it in his
own unique perspective, in his own unique way. He stopped learning,
and he started thinking, and he started creating. So now let me get back
on the story, you know, I wasn’t really looking too good, so I just kind of brush it over there. So, about three years ago, I — OK, there was a calculus class
I wanted to sit in the back of, so, I decided,
in order to sit in the back of this, I am going to learn:
algebra, trigonometry, all this other middle school stuff, all the high school math, and first year undergrad
calculus in two weeks, so I could sit in the
back of this class. I was ten. (Laughter) Okay — So, also at that time, proving this, I got accepted into the University; and yet again I was still ten. So, OK, then I had to go to
an entrance interview, you know, that’s what you gotta do,
its a university. So, I had to go
to this entrance interview, and because of parking,
I had all these coins, and, you know, I dropped them all
over the guy’s office; making him think I had
no common sense and he pretty much held
me back for a semester. So, I also had to stop
learning at that time. OK, what did I do? Did I stop learning and just, you know,
start playing video games and stuff? No! I started thinking about shapes! (Laughter) And I was thinking about this
specific problem in astrophysics that I was really
interested in at that time, which I still kind of am. Now, what I did was, over the next two weeks I started
thinking about these shapes, I started thinking about this problem, and after a while I had solved it. So, I have solved this
problem in astrophysics, which basically is similar to, you know, what’s happening with
Einstein and Newton right now. I am not going to tell
you the exact problem due to the fact that I have
not published it, yet. When my paper gets published,
you may figure out about it; (Laughter) for those who read scientific papers. (Laughter) I thought about all these problems
and you know, I only has a 500 cheap
thing of paper from Officemax; and since I was thinking about
these multidimensional things, it filled them up really quickly. So, then I moved on to white boards
because I was out of paper. But the white board,
it also filled up pretty quickly, so then I moved on
to my parents’ windows. After that I got chased down by
all this Windex and stuff and, you know, my equations would get erased
by these horrible Windex creators but, so, because of that, after about a month or so, my parents realized I was
not going out to the park, I was just drawing these
weird shapes on the windows. And basically I was
trying to disprove myself, you know, I didn’t want to end up
like Newton; I did not want to, you know, be proven a hundred years
down the road, disproved. So, what I did was,
I was going on the windows, I was trying to disprove
myself, but to no avail. After that, my parents, you know, they figured
I should be on the park, so they called some
guy up at Princeton, and they told him to disprove
what I was doing. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case,
and he said I was on the right track; (Laughter)
(Applause) Then because I had to stop learning, I started thinking
and I solved the problem. After that I decided to create
a calculus video for other people who wanted to
still do calculus; the three others out there, and, so that way they could also learn. OK, so, I made this calculus video, people noticed that I was 12
and I was doing a calculus video. After that, the first people that
noticed was the Indianapolis Star, and they put me on the front
page of some newspaper and as you can see
from this picture, I was eating a sandwich,
it was really yummy. So, OK. After that, my calculus
video, it went viral. At the time of this photo
it had some two million views. So, first of all a calculus video going viral,
who would have ever thought? (Laughter) So, after that it got translated
into whatever this language is. Is there anybody who can tell
me what language this is? I can’t read it.
(Audience) Chinese OK, it’s Chinese,
OK, good to know. (Laughter) So, then after that, I had some
guy from Fox TV call me up, and I was able to draw on his
windows, and he was Glen Beck. (Laughter) The thing special about that experience
was that the windows were huge, 23 floors above the ground,
and overlooked the Chrysler Building, so that was a fun experience. (Laughter) Then after that I started having some really
strange visitors show up to my house. (Laughter) I had Morley Safer show up,
and he’s from CBS Sixty Minutes. Now, for those of you who can
really see this picture very well, you may notice that I am
wearing the same sandals. (Laughter) Now, let’s sort of recap
what we’ve done. Have Einstein, and Johnson, and Newton, and everyone
I talked about, are they really geniuses? Is that really what has
made them so special? Is that really why they
did all their work? Absolutely not! They, no! That’s not why!
(Laughter) OK, so, what happened was,
all they did was, they made the transition from learning, to thinking; to creating, which by now the media has
translated into, you know, genius. Now, I’m pretty sure they
had relatively high IQs; but, as some of you may know, there are lots of people out there with high
IQs who don’t create this sort of thing, they usually just end up memorizing a
couple hundred thousand digits of Pi. So, first of all, my question to them is:
why not memorize a different number? Like, I mean,
I am wearing Phi right now. So, in conclusion, I am not supposed to be here at all, you know, I was told that I wouldn’t talk. There’s probably some therapist watching
this who’s freaking out right now. (Laughter) (Cheers)
(Applause) OK, I am not supposed to be talking,
I am not supposed to be learning; but because I made that transition
from learning to thinking, to creating, I am here today; and I am talking to some four hundred
to eight hundred people in New York. OK. Now, what would I want you
guys to get out of this speech? What I want you guys to do is,
for the next 24 hours, I know you guys may have school
or what not, even though it’s a Saturday; for the next 24 hours
don’t learn anything! You are not allowed to learn
anything for the next 24 hours. (Audience) Yes! (Laughter) However, what I’d like you to do is, I’d like you to go into some field, I mean, you all have some
passion, I don’t know about it, I’ve been talking to
you for 11 minutes. I have no idea what you
guys are interested in. But, you guys have some
passion and all out there and you all know what it is. So, I want you to think about that field instead of learning in that field; and instead of being a student of that field, be the field! Whether it’s music or architecture, or science or whatever; and I want you to think about that field and, who knows,
maybe you can create something. Thank you very much.
I’m Jacob Barnett. (Cheers) (Applause)

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100 thoughts on “Forget what you know | Jacob Barnett | TEDxTeen

  1. wow! Bold and beautiful! So much to learn! So much to appreciate!
    Undoubtedly speechless!

  2. " Learn , create , think , be the field "
    My interpretation in Jakes overall message is that it takes more than intelligence alone to make real change .
    He mentions people who can recite Pi yet never make an advancement , create new ideas / make a difference .
    Maybe savant like intelligence can be unlocked in anyone to a degree and that a key lies in finding motivation to be driven mentally enough to acquire an obsessive immersion and tap into the subconscious . Point the mind at a target and never give up .
    Kim Peek was classified as a megasavant . He travelled the world impressing people with his infinite recitation of facts .
    Yet to my knowledge never created like Newton or Einstein .

  3. But somehow this so much intelligence like 170 iq can be heavy to carry. I can see he has thunders inside and how difficult it is. He is so lovely by the way.

  4. This kid is so not offensive and, the 5500 people who down voted this must belong to a part of society that appreciates nothing.

  5. Actually, I find it more difficult to stop learning than just memorizing the others' ideas. At the same time, it almost makes me feel like I'm reborn in a world of my own.

  6. Hey Jacob – think about how our genius-level acceleration toward Progress (as Ape-men) is inextricably tumbling us toward extinction. Hmm… Is there a "dark side" to learning beyond our most recent genetic mutation 200,000 years ago, or am I perhaps just evolving epigenetically toward a more sustainable mode for our planet and the answers/solutions to our manifestly diseased place within it? P.S. And don't forget Leibnitz!

  7. Math, Physics, Chemistry (AKA God) are the true firmament. Biology, Anthropology, Archaeology, History, Film and Women's Studies (AKA All life on Earth) are terra firma. And your genius will always be suspect if you can't compassionately merge "Heaven" and "Earth." [Einstein did]

  8. This amazing boy's huge potential is the result of loving parents and compassionate teachers. Kudo to his dad+mom and his teachers throughout school and college. You embrace the darkness and seek the light of it so this boy can be a ray of hope and light for many many kids with difficult conditions in the future.

  9. This boy is amazing! Early challenges must have been difficult on his parents and him. Being told your son won’t speak and here he is on a Ted Talk. And that is surpassing all expectations the experts put on him. He’s not perfect but no one is regardless. 👏🏽👏🏽👨🏻‍🎓 I’m proud of him and I don’t even know his family. Congrats!

  10. Can't watch this kid without smiling. It hardly even matters how smart he is…what's most impressive is that joie de vivre.

  11. He’s thinking like Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein or other important scientists. And i think he’ll change the world.

  12. I've been looking at videos on autism due to my child's physician hinting at autism in my 2 year old, I've noticed that each child's parent says in their own world or something similar. Then I came across a video of several people in their 20s that have autism that you would never guess had it and each one said they learned in a very different way, a lot of these videos talk about spectrums and it's intesting to me because it's not a disease it's just a different way of learning like everybody else just because you have freckles does not mean that the other person is going to have freckles or red hair or green eyes. It just means that you're learning differently than everybody else I have three other kids and each heart individually unique to one another my youngest is the one being diagnosed with autism yet from what I have observed he is highly intelligent he does things that his other brothers would have never done at that age so brings me to believe that each parent should take their individual time to try and find ways to teach their kids so they can take in as much as I can and run with what they know and keep growing instead of just labeling their child as a disabled child for handicapped when in reality they're perfectly normal it's just their spectrum of looking at something is totally different from how you see it

  13. Who knows, he might end up re-deriving the CTMU, and perhaps parallel it, just in other words and/or syntax, without having known at all. Interesting stuff, there.

  14. This kid look so frightened and uncomfortable on stage it makes me sad. Like he’s definitely on the spectrum hard. And is FORCING himself to smile.

  15. I'm just looking at the comment section and thinking;
    people who use the word 'cringe' are probably at the lowest level on the intelligence quotient… meaning they won't watch the video b/c they're focusing on shallow stuff instead of the actual message which is how far their focus goes.
    Inspiring kid, especially with his condition. Thinking out of the mold is just as important as working within a paradigm.

  16. This kid is genius there is no doubt in it but unfortunately he lacks in confidence that's why he looks too nervous though he is correct in everything.

  17. unbelievable I had watched this talk years ago and I have understood his concept now his mind is approaching stars MASHALLAH

  18. この子めっちゃ盛り上がってていききれてしかも自分でわらっっちゃっててかわいいい🤭❤️❤️

  19. To see any child this excited about what he can know and excited about telling others about it is spectacular.

  20. 1.look everything in your own perspective.
    2.stop learning start thinking about the problem in your own perspective
    Then you create something mind-blowing.

  21. Yes, his mind is remarkable in how he can think, calculate and understand physics. But his wisdom at such an early age to suggest that we quit learning, to think for ourselves and transcend and create is genius, very Zen!

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