What Makes a Genius?

What Makes a Genius?

2011, Science  -   45 Comments
Ratings: 7.70/10 from 27 users.

What Makes a Genius?Could you have come up with Einstein's theory of relativity? If not - why not? This is what Marcus du Sautoy, professor of mathematics, wants to explore.

Marcus readily admits that he is no genius, but wants to know if geniuses are just an extreme version of himself - or whether their brains are fundamentally different.

Marcus meets some remarkable individuals - Tommy, an obsessive artist who uses his whole house as his canvas; Derek: blind, autistic, and a pianist with apparently prodigious gifts; Claire who is also blind, but whose brain has learnt to see using sound.

Marcus is shown how babies have remarkable abilities which most of us lose as teenagers. He meets a neuroscientist who claims he has evidence of innate ability, a scientist who's identified a gene for learning, and Dr. Paulus, who has discovered how to sharpen the brain... by electrically turbo-charging it.

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Kane Holahan
4 years ago

I believe geniuses are fueled by low self esteem and are trying to prove to others but mainly themselves their worth. Happy content people dont have that fire in their belly. If you had a happy childhood and were encouraged by your caregivers and told you can do anything in life, chances are you wont. You will probably slip into mediocracy for life like sliding into a nice comfortable warm bath.

5 years ago

I think genius is genius and it will take a genius to explain one's genius.

6 years ago

Talent hits a target others can't reach. Genius hits a target others can't see.

6 years ago

every time i see the thumbnail for this doc i think it's a pint of guinness.

7 years ago

Well i think we can just attribute genius to one thing either environment or genetics .i guss we are all born with the ability to excell and be a G in a specific area but here comes the environment it plays a vital role in applying these abilities. G ppl always make the best out of the opportunity given to them it seems that they never give up.they work so hard .they are very patient self motivated.so how the structure of the brain give us these features .

7 years ago

Did this crazy lady just compare being delusional with being introverted?

9 years ago

Expressed genius requires a perfect storm...

Trash CanMan
9 years ago

Genius is in every human. Teach a kid to do anything and then teach him the forces that govern that thing now let them get creative. boil and stir for 10 years

9 years ago

Anybody hear of the 10,000 hour rule? It takes 10,000 hours of focused practice to master a skill. Could be anything...baseball to physics. This is how a great working knowledge is built. Then, add to that curiosity and you have the basic profile of a genius, such as Nicoa Tesla. He posed both characteristic of mastery (form all that hard work) and curiosity. But I also think he must have had a good ability to take in new information(a.k.a. learn)...but wonder if that isn't really part of curiosity, which is ushered in by our passions.I think being genius would be AMAZING.

9 years ago

The video didn't say a great deal about genius other than it is intelligence + creativity & that creativity is considered more important. It seemed to focus more on math & chess skills versus creativity, for example. In contrast, the painter was very creative but wasn't presented as a type of genius or specifically skilled in a specified area. Perhaps technical painting skills were a part of his paintings but it wasn't mentioned. For me, the video lacked a focus on intelligence + creativity together to arrive at genius. The two were usually split apart during the majority of the video and I would have enjoyed hearing more about the blending to the two in terms of impact on genius, considering that the title and intro made me very interested in that particular idea.

11 years ago

Did you even heard of Henri Coanda about the jet engine, or is this just another propaganda documentary by BBC? When I heard the intro, I stopped watching this BS english/american propaganda. NOT ALL INVENTIONS ARE BRITISH OR AMERICAN!

11 years ago

How is it that children can exceed in an IQ test at the same age as their parents were when the child was conceived?

bud oracle
11 years ago

Americans have been subjected to gene modification like the mouse which can't learn. This is the results of MK ultra research combined with vaccinations. Now Americans will do exactly as the government wants with little resistance

11 years ago

Genius is mastery of an existing craft, infused with creativity (or a different perspective from all others). It takes hard work to master a craft thus indicating a strong work ethic (created from circumstances usually). As well as a stimulating environment to encourage the creation of ideas that differ from the norm.
History has forgotten many great minds, so open yours, our world needs as many innovative minds as it can get, especially right now, while on the fringe of a global awakining.

grave angel
11 years ago

I hate how they had to test on mice with electrical shocks - surely nowadays we could use computer simulation instead? It doesn't take a genius to work out that there is a huge lack of compassion; replaced by ignorance towards our fellow Earthlings.

Gary V
12 years ago

A great doc in HD from the BBC with Marcus du Sautoy. Very interesting.

12 years ago

I would like to see whats going on with the brain and nervous system when someone like Sonnie Trotter free climbs the cobra crack

12 years ago

I can tell you there is no way of truly calculating genius. If you were a "genius" you would understand it can only be calculated on the most fundamental levels (i.e. in established fields with enough peers to test against). This leaves "true geniuses", such as Einstein, to be thought of as having just "normal" intelligence by tests, peers, and professors. In actuality, "true geniuses" are so far beyond the capacity of other humans their intelligence cannot be perceived as "real" until a base of people exists who understand the new concept (i.e. doctors, physicists, rock stars).

What test would you give Jimmy Hendrix to determine his genius?

If you tell me he isn't a genius you lost all credibility.

12 years ago

There are not many on earth who do not possess the potential for genius. Sadly it appears that the more we aim to "calculate" creativity, the more people we seem to count out.

12 years ago

we are just a bunch of monkeys and some of us are unlucky enough to realize that we are just a bunch of monkeys

Sieben Stern
12 years ago

i think this initially assumes that 'genius' exists in a bubble. what i tend to see is the best creative people have amazing people around them and have been exposed to their craft since they were a child.

this is especially true with art, the audience just sees the final result without knowing the work that went into creating the work, so it appears miraculous and attributed on one person's one burst of amazing genius.

12 years ago

Good effort, but I think also limited by the interpretation of the results. I think more conclusions and questions could be drawn then were asked to explain some results. For instance when the plasticity of the brain degrades, is this a result of age, genetics, environment, and depending on which one - can this be reversed? I think the mind has the ability with exercise to become plastic again. Although I also tend to agree that imagination is more important then intelligence :)

Worth the watch, and I am interested in the questions related that aren't asked others might have as well.