Don't call 12-year-old Mexican university student 'genius'

Don't call 12-year-old Mexican university student 'genius'
12-year-old Carlos Santamaria Diaz poses for photographers during a press event at Mexico's National Autonomous University in Mexico City, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The university, better known by its Spanish initials as the UNAM, said Thursday that Carlos Santamaria Diaz is the youngest such student in the university's roughly century-long history.(AP Photo / Marco Ugarte)

The youngest student ever admitted to Mexico's National Autonomous University wouldn't call himself a "genius."

Carlos Santamaria Diaz, a 12-year-old who will begin classes for an undergraduate degree in biomedical physics Monday, was dwarfed by the upholstered blue chair he sat in to answer reporters' questions Friday.

With his feet barely brushing the floor, he laughed out loud and shook his head when a reporter asked if he considered himself a genius.

"I don't like to use that word," he said.

Carlos passed the university's entrance exam and has already done preparatory work at the university's school of chemistry in its genetics sciences center.

The boy from western Guadalajara grew bored with at an early age and turned to the web where he taught himself calculus and physics. By the age of nine, he participated in university programs in analytical chemistry, biochemistry and biology.

Nervously running his hands through his hair and speaking passionately of finding cures for rare diseases, his behavior seemed typical of a confident albeit young college student until the university's photographer asked him to pose with a stuffed mascot and the boy emerged.

Don't call 12-year-old Mexican university student 'genius'
12-year-old Carlos Santamaria Diaz smiles as he stands with his parents during a press conference at Mexico's National Autonomous University in Mexico City, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The university, better known by its Spanish initials as the UNAM, said Thursday that Carlos Santamaria Diaz is the youngest such student in the university's roughly century-long history. (AP Photo / Marco Ugarte)

When asked if he ever felt isolated because of his intelligence, Carlos shrugged off the question: "The truth is, no, I feel like the university has been very good to me, especially the chemistry faculty."

His mother Arcelia Diaz said that like any mom she was proud of her son.

Carlos offered advice to Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador: "First off, I would tell him not to make the same mistakes as the previous presidents."

Politicians should "take care of the country like they take care of themselves," he said. "This a country filled with people who have dreams and at the same don't have any dreams because they don't have any opportunities."

The university said Carlos would be treated like any other student, with no special privileges or benefits.

  • Don't call 12-year-old Mexican university student 'genius'
    12-year-old Carlos Santamaria Diaz shares a moment with his father Fabian Santamaria during during a press conference at Mexico's National Autonomous University in Mexico City, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The university, better known by its Spanish initials as the UNAM, said Thursday that Carlos Santamaria Diaz is the youngest such student in the university's roughly century-long history.(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
  • Don't call 12-year-old Mexican university student 'genius'
    12-year-old Carlos Santamaria Diaz is seen on a television camera monitor during a press conference at Mexico's National Autonomous University in Mexico City, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The university, better known by its Spanish initials as the UNAM, said Thursday that Carlos Santamaria Diaz is the youngest such student in the university's roughly century-long history. (AP Photo / Marco Ugarte)
  • Don't call 12-year-old Mexican university student 'genius'
    12-year-old Carlos Santamaria Diaz poses for photographers during a press event at Mexico's National Autonomous University in Mexico City, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The university, better known by its Spanish initials as the UNAM, said Thursday that Carlos Santamaria Diaz is the youngest such student in the university's roughly century-long history.(AP Photo / Marco Ugarte)
  • Don't call 12-year-old Mexican university student 'genius'
    12-year-old Carlos Santamaria Diaz smiles during a press conference at Mexico's National Autonomous University in Mexico City, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The university, better known by its Spanish initials as the UNAM, said Thursday that Carlos Santamaria Diaz is the youngest such student in the university's roughly century-long history. (AP Photo / Marco Ugarte)
  • Don't call 12-year-old Mexican university student 'genius'
    In this undated photo provided by the Sala de Prensa UNAM, Carlos Santamaria Diaz sits with his parents, Arcelia Diaz and Fabian Santamaria, during an interview in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Mexico's National Autonomous University, better known by its initials UNAM, says it has admitted the 12-year-old student to its undergraduate degree program in biomedical physics. (Sala de Prensa UNAM photo via AP)

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12-yr-old Mexico university student doesn't like word genius

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Aug 04, 2018
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Aug 04, 2018
umm... why should someone go to university this early, if I'm smart shouldn't I enjoy being a kid and make cool stuff at my spare time?

I mean i've heard many news of genius going to university at early age but then they go on with their private life and nothing to be heard anymore.

I don't think they're going to solve anything significant until they're old anyway.

Aug 04, 2018
umm... why should someone go to university this early, if I'm smart shouldn't I enjoy being a kid and make cool stuff at my spare time?

From the article it's pretty clear that he enjoys learning...why should that be denied to him?

Kids like that need their intellect stimulated or they get bored.

I don't think they're going to solve anything significant until they're old anyway.

Well, let's let smart people try to do smart things instead of someone like tryting to tell them what's good for them, why don't we?

In any case you almost never hear about individual scientists. Life isn't like in the movies. Most scientists' work is a group effort. The few scientists you could name off the top off your head that have actually done anything fundamental on their own can probably be counted on one hand.

Aug 05, 2018
@antialias_physorg , undergraduate at university isn't that impressive, it would be as boring as school & college. If he's in PHD or Master then sure I understand he's gonna learn something else not in book, otherwise why bother going for an undergraduate if he is self-taught at home already?? hmmm?

I mean, I think it's probably a waste of his time, massively. If I'm smart (like him) I'd probably exploit the system; have like 20 more years of free time doing cool stuff at home while breezing thru school and gain a scholarship and get an obscenely good credentials while still doing obscenely cool stuff at home...

(If I'm smart like him) My dad should probably buy cool science kit and tools for me, he should bear with me until I came to age and not send me off to boring University that early (unless it's Master or PHD).

Aug 07, 2018
undergraduate at university isn't that impressive

At age 12 it is.

therwise why bother going for an undergraduate if he is self-taught at home already?

Learning from techers and from/with classmates is totally different than learning from books. In books you only get exposed to one way to view a problem. The people that are needed are not those that just get their knowledge from books (actually those are the kind of straight A students that people hire and then find out you can't do anything with them)

If I'm smart (like him) I'd probably exploit the system; have like 20 more years of free time doing cool stuff at home while breezing thru school

Just being smart is not enough to do cool stuff (particularly not in science). Smarts and innovation/creativity are linked but not 100% so...and the times when someone could do great things in science totally alone - even if he is super smart - have been over for 100 years.

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