9-Yr-Old College Prodigy: Tanishq Abraham
>>TANISHQ ABRAHAM: Hi, my name is Tanishq
and I’m eight and a half years old.>>PROFESSOR AFONSO: He is thirsty for learning.
He wants to embrace the universe>>WOMAN: What kinds of things do you do for
fun?>>TANISHQ: I like to program.
>>PROFESSOR STERLING: Tanishq retains difficult concepts better than any other student I’ve
ever had.>>TANISHQ: I like particle physics, all the
anti-matter and the fate of the universe and the big bang theory. I’d like to design a
rocket that can go faster than the speed of light!>>PROFESSOR AFONSO: We’ve finished chapter
twenty but it’s a very important chapter so let’s review that today. So can anyone tell
me what are the main types of galaxies?>>TANISHQ: Elliptical
>>PROF: Eliptical galaxies and…?>>TANISHQ: Spiral.
And spiral.>>PROFESSOR AFONSO: About one year ago Tanishq
became my student in Astronomy 300 and he ended up being the student in the class with
the highest grade. Which ones are the most common ones in the early universe?
>>TANISHQ: Regular>>PROFESSOR AFONSO: Regular. What about today?
What kind of galaxies do we find most often?>>TANISHQ: Rough elliptical.
>>PROFESSOR AFONSO : Rough elliptical. Right. How many people do you know who at the age
of seven or eight can discuss the expansion of the universe? He is different in a positive
way.>>TAJI ABRAHAM: The most fun thing for him
is learning. Sometimes when people ask, “What do you do for fun?” he says, “I just learn.”
And people just can’t understand that.>>PROFESSOR STERLING: Tanishq was in my geology
lecture and lab class at American River College.>>TANISHQ: Professor Sterling is actually
the one who helped me get into college.>>PROFESSOR STERLING: I’ve taken Tanishq
under my wing because he has such potential. His challenges are that he is at an intellect
level here and yet he is still a very happy and kind eight year old.>>TANISHQ: Forward! You’re getting pretty
good actually. Oh, did my clapping disturb you?>>TANISHQ: She’s my sister, Tiara. She’s
six years old and that’s basically it. I have two kittens: Lucky and Furry. Here’s lucky.
His real name is Lucky Billi because Billi in Hindi means cat. I really like topographic
maps and geological maps. Topographical maps meaning maps that show the heights and evelations…
I mean elevations. Yeah, got it.>>BIJOU ABRAHAM: Taji says he came out smart,
right?>>TAJI: Around two or two and a half he knew
all his numbers from one to a hundred. He just jumped from kindergarten level to third
grade level.>>BIJOU: In the public school system he had
a lot problems with not being challenged.>>TANISHQ: I was bored because all of the
things were really easy>>BIJOU: That’s kind of where we ended up
this year going fully home schooled.>>TAJI: What chapter are you on?
>>TANISHQ: Six.>>TAJI: Six, what chapter is that?
>>TANISHQ: The periodic table.>>TAJI: The periodic table. That’s something
that you love, isn’t it?>>TANISHQ: Home schooling is much better
than regular school. That was Arsenic!>>TAJI: It was Arsenic? Oh, you were right
then.>>PROFESSOR STERLING: The role that his family
plays is one of great support and they go beyond to give him any opportunity they possibly
can.>>DOCTOR BHATTI: Hello Tanishq, how are you?
Let’s have a look at you.>>TAJI: Doctor Bhatti agreed to have Tanishq
and Tiara shadow him. Both kids love animals, it’s probably in the genes.
>>DOCTOR BHATTI: So what is your guess? How many beats in a minute?
>>TANISHQ: Probably like sixty or something like that.
>>DOCTOR BHATTI: There’s more than that.>>PROFESSOR STERLING: His family is just
so receptive to anything that can help him and clearly without their support he wouldn’t
have the opportunities but how much can you really entertain an eight year-old who is
at an undergraduate level of understanding.>>STUDENT: Hey Tanishq, are you taking any
other classes here?>>TANISHQ: No, this is the only class.
>>TAJI: He’s always says, “I wish I could be a full time student in college.” And I
say, “What difference does that make?” And he says, “I can graduate early then I can
find a cure for this. So he wants to go go go. THe first college we applied to denied
him so we’ll see now. We have a few more options.>>DR. STERLING: There’s all these wonderful
programs to help the hearing impaired, the vision impaired, the learning impaired but
there’s no program for someone like Tanishq.>>TAJI: It’s a challenge. There’s a lot of
stress, both emotional and physical. I just don’t want him to give up hope.>>TANISHQ: Maybe we could just have a blog
post on the website saying our two experiments we might be doing in the future.>>TANISHQ: It’s never boring talking with
any college student.>>STUDENT: So I’ll give you leadership rights
this year.>>TAJI: Tanishq? Yeah, he is a happy child.
But everyone in a while he does say I wish I had friends or I wish I had more friends.
>>TANISHQ: With my friends from kid class you get to play with them and that kind of
socialization. But this it’s more like talking. I kinda miss having friends I guess. [music and singing]>>TANISHQ: I feel it’s a good age to sing
because as I get older I’ll become more like an alto and I really like to be a soprano.
So, I’m going to miss being a soprano.>>CHOIR TEACHER: Okay music and folders,
Alex dismiss people from chairs. [kids chattering]>>STUDENT: Now I’d like to introduce Tanishq.
He’s going to show us about Zooniverse.org.>>TANISHQ: Thank you for the introduction.>>TANISHQ: So Zooniverse is an online science
citizen project. We try to find exoplanets and exoplanets are planets that orbit other
starts.>>PROFESSOR AFONSO: If he’s good enough in
physics, truly a genius one day, and finds a way to travel across the stars. That’s my
selfish wish for Tanishq. I think he should be free to find his way.>>PROFESSOR STERLING: The lesson that we
can all learn from Tanishq is look beyond the rules of the game, or so to speak, and
allow people to perform and excel.>>TAJI: People look at him differently, treat
him differently.>>BIJOU: We hear about all these stories
about gifted kids, as they grow to be adults, they have a lot of emotional problems and
things like that.>>TAJI: For example, depression.
>>BIJOU: Those are the kinds of things we worry about and hope that he has a well adjusted
life.>>TAJI: He can choose anything he likes as
long as it keeps him happy.>>TANISHQ: I really want to be a scientist
or the President of the United States. I’ll make the United States more healthy for us
and more efficient. Final thoughts, as Buzz Lightyear says, “To Infinity and Beyond!”