Promising Astrophysicist Starts College. Did We Mention He’s Only 9 Years Old?
Science| | By Mauricio Castillo
Maillis, of Penn Township, Pennsylvania, the son of Nancy and Peter Maillis, told People magazine that he is used to being the youngest in his classes. But even more remarkable than a 9-year-old in college is what Maillis is studying to become, and the theories driving his dreams. Maillis is working to become an astrophysicist in the future with one self-appointed goal: “I want to prove to everybody that God does exist.” Considering science and religion are usually at odds, it is an interesting theory, but with Maillis’ father being a Greek Orthodox priest and the young boy’s amazing scientific prowess, the results could be astounding. One of Maillis’ main theories is that black holes aren’t “super massive,” a theory shared by super-minds like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. This fuels his belief in the existence of God, as in Maillis’ mind only an outside force could create the cosmos. And as casual as young Maillis talks about things like “displacement of space-time,” “singularity,” and “pure gravity,” it hasn’t always been a breeze for the prodigy. Maillis was denied from entering kindergarten at four years old due to failing an entrance exam. But he was not deterred. His parents took him to a child psychologist, and after a few IQ tests, Maillis was quickly identified as a “pure genius,” and allowed to enter the elementary school as a student. This came after years of knowing their son was special, as Maillis was able to recognize numbers at just six months old and speak complete sentences just one month later. After overcoming his kindergarten hurdle, the unreal accomplishments began: performing addition at 21 months; multiplication, reading and writing at two years old; algebra, sign language and reading Greek at age four; geometry at five and trigonometry at seven. If that’s not insane enough for you, Maillis then attended fourth grade and high school at the same time. Yes, at the same time. According to Aaron Hoffman, Maillis’ current history professor, the boy has fit right in, but unlike other students, he doesn’t take normal notes, instead choosing to listen, to absorb. His father does not pressure his son, instead reminding him that “God gave you a gift. The worst thing would be to reject that gift and not use it for the betterment of the world.” It will be interesting to follow Peter Maillis’ story as he makes his remarkable progress toward his dream of being a decorated astrophysicist and changing the way the world thinks about science and God.