Study looks at what makes an Einstein

December 20, 2006

U.S. researchers say they've determined the complex mix of factors that help create the world's Albert Einsteins and Stephen Hawkings.

The report from Vanderbilt University reveals that complex mix includes such factors as cognitive ability, educational opportunity, investigative interest and old-fashioned hard work.

"The talent and commitment necessary to develop as a scientific leader require both personal attributes and learning environments that are truly beyond the norm," study authors Camilla Benbow and Professor David Lubinski said.

"Not surprisingly, the personal attributes of future science, mathematics, engineering and technology leaders reveal that it takes much more than exceptional abilities to truly develop exceptional scientific expertise," the researchers added.

The report is based on 35 years of research from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth, a 50-year study tracking individuals identified as exceptionally gifted at a young age across their lifespan. Started in 1971 at Johns Hopkins University, the study is now based at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

The current report, reflecting data collected from more than 5,000 study participants, appears in the Dec. 18 issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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