What Are The Makings For A Genius?

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Albert Einstein, one of the smartest human beings to ever live. Famous for his theory of Relativity

Why do some people excel academically while others are less capable, and grasp only the basic concepts? For years people have wondered why some people are born intellectually above the rest. What makes a “great mind” so great? Today, scientists have come up with a few ideas they feel may contribute to genius minds.

Famous Quote by Albert Einstein

An example of a genius that most people relate to is Albert Einstein, whose knowledge, research, and even popular quotes are still shared today. Quotes like “the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination”. The question that would remain until this day would be whether Einstein was right or wrong. Hence this question grew in minds of scientists and researchers, who have since come up with their own theories.

While a look in to Einstein’s brain may not have revealed the essence of a true genius one still can’t help but me impressed by the knowledge and insight he brought forth. Einstein provided scientific theories that were way ahead of his time. For example, his theory of relativity. It wasn’t until 2 years ago his theory was validated by true scientific research and tests. Tests which used modern scientific technological tools that were not available to Einstein when he came up with his theory, but were necessary and used by scientists today to prove his theories correct!

Graphic Genius Brain

An article in National Geographic called “What makes A genius” states that the term Genius is too elusive, too subjective, too wedded to the verdict of history to be easily identified”. In addition, it suggests that the qualities of a genius mind, “intelligence, creativity, perseverance, and simple good fortune”, while intricate will perhaps more efficiently unveil the human mind. The idea then is that scientific breakthroughs are more like moments of awareness or awakenings for persons like Einstein or Darwin, who is famous for his theory of evolution. These moments are defined as times when the brain may perhaps internally “turned off its ability to criticize itself” (Charles Limb, hearing Specialist and Auditory Surgeon, UC San Francisco).

Jazz Pianist Keith Jarrett

Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett is known for his improvisations at live concerts. Keith attests that his ability is unique and a gift he can only be thankful for. Keith also believes his ability and best performances come when he completely bypasses the brain. Keith gave an account of a concert in Munich where he felt outside of himself, or not in control and merely playing from his years of experience, practice and listening. Keith feels his best work is accomplished when he is mentally least in control and says, “it’s a vast space in which I trust there will be music”.

Andrew Newburgh, Dir. of Research, Marcus Institute of Health, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals

Many believe real genius can be seen in people whose work or accomplishments become timeless. They are shared throughout generations, and they go on to inspire others. Remarkable minds transcend over decades. Their knowledge becomes a tool to educate others, but also to open minds and bring about like-minded thinkers. Now science suggests that the highest peaks of creativity often occur when the mind is not fixed on thought, but rather during times when the brain is preoccupied with other activity. Therefore, explaining those “ah ha” moments many experience at random during times they are engaged in something routing like showering.

Graphic Images of a brain of Newburgh's Big Thinkers Pool and that of a brain from the control group

While more scientific research on the subject of genius minds is still underway there is still profound discoveries to consider. They suggest there is a neurological difference in a genius’ mind. In fact, there is a preliminary study being conducted by Andrew Newburgh, Director of Research at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals. His study observes a control group and a group composed of what Newburgh called “a pool of big thinkers”. In one test Newburgh concluded a huge difference on subjects’ brain scans that appear visibly larger than those of the brains from the control group.

Everyday new concepts and technology are developed by everyday people. In many cases it’s as the old saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”. Our necessities which live in our conscious mind have the potential to play out in our unconscious minds, and according to scientists it is there where the potential for great ideas can be sparked by one’s unique imagination. Fostering one’s imagination and one’s ability to look beyond what lies in front of us is where you find the makings for genius! If you or someone you know has an idea but can’t quite get it going consider this article and share it with them. Einstein was right on, imagination is key!

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Beverly Malko

Staff Writer

Beverly has been making her living as a writer since college. She studied business at Skidmore College and lives in Boston.