Gifted and Talented Ireland: Genius!
‘Genius’ is not what a person is, it’s what a person does.
No surprises there. Even Edison said that ‘genius’ was 1% inspiration but 99% perspiration. But what does ‘genius’ technically mean? The modern idea seems to have it’s roots in the work of Sir Francis Galton who published ‘Hereditary Genius‘ in 1869. As perhaps might be expected of the time and the social standing of Galton, high intelligence belonged only to certain groups in society. Other races to his own were considered inferior.
Certainly we have an idea of what a genius is (but see note above!). A genius is a person who excels at one or more endeavours. Tiger Woods is a genius golfer. David Beckham is a genius footballer. That said, Professor Joan Freeman considers people with just one talent ‘a boffin’ ( Channel 4 – ‘Child Genius‘). Leonardo Da Vinci was considered a genius everything!
If we thought we had a baby Leonardo Da Vinci, how would we know? Arguably we would try to measure their intelligence. Into this field in 1904 came Alfred Binet who wanted to discover why some children in school lagged behind others. He never intended that the intelligence test he developed would be used as a means of concretely determining who was intelligent and who wasn’t. He fully appreciated that a number can not be the sum total of a human being. His intention was to identify how to help weaker students.
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