So, first thing you guys need to know:
suppose you guys are all doing your
homework. OK, you know, it’s something
you have to do; and, you’re doing great
on your homework, you are getting great
grades, fabulous prizes, such as you
know, Benjamins and all this great stuff.
so, let’s move on to some more
interesting stuff. By now you might
have heard about Isaac Newton in your
High School career. You might have
heard about him from prisms or whatever
he might have done. So, in 1665, Isaac
Newton was at the University of Cambridge.
OK? So, because of that he was thinking
about this problem in astrophysics.
And specifically I think he wanted to
calculate the motion of the Moon around
the Earth, so I sort of revamped that
problem into the case of Mercury around
So, OK. What he did was, in order to
solve this problem he created calculus,
Newton’s three laws, the universal law
of gravitation, the reflecting telescope
to check his work, and optics, and all
this crazy stuff in that two years that
he had stopped learning.
OK, they might have had a point, you
know, I’m wearing sandals.
So — (Laughter)
You know, but however, at that age,
I went to the Barnes and Noble, and
I got a textbook, and from the data
that was in that textbook I derived
Kepler’s laws. When I wasn’t supposed
to be learning or thinking at all.
However, at that age I started thinking
about things and sort of the way of all
of these shadows, and I think that’s
why I like astrophysics, and physics,
and math today; because I had to stop
learning, I believe that’s why I do
what I do today.
OK, so let me continue about gravity.
It’s a very exciting topic for those
of us who are in physics. So let me
continue. Now, what happened was,
about a couple of centuries later,
the physicists had enough experimental
technology to test Newton’s orbit.
Now, Newton predicted that the orbit
of Mercury was an oval, or as scientists
like to say “an ellipse.”
However, when we pointed our telescopes
out, we saw that thing. For those of
you who are scientists you know that’s
extremely exaggerated, but –
This was not looking good,
Newton had failed.
One of the greatest physicists, of
all minds, had failed, he failed!
Albert Einstein, what he would
– he was also — he was stopped in
his tracks, he was not doing very well.
He was Jewish and it was pre-Nazi
Germany, so, he was not able to get
a position at the local university.
He had to work at a patent office;
which, OK, that’s not theoretical
physics, and we’re talking about
So, yeah, what happened was,
Einstein, he had all this time to
think all of a sudden. He had to stop
learning, but he had all this time
to think; and so, what he had done
was, he liked to have these thought
experiments and liked to think about
all these different things.
So what Einstein thought was,
OK, he pictured himself on a trampoline
with a couple of friends, which –
they are actually — a failure of my
sentence there, and the fact that
physicists that’s usually a couple
more than they have.
Albert Einstein was probably on a
trampoline with one of his friends,
and you know, they were probably
playing some, I don’t know, tennis
or something. So, however, you know,
they are physicists, they don’t have
very good hand to eye coordination,
so they probably didn’t, you know,
catch the tennis ball, and it went
rolling around them;
He stopped learning, and he started
thinking, and he started creating.
So now let me get back on the story,
you know, I wasn’t really looking too
good, so I just kind of brush it over
there. So, about three years ago, I –
OK, there was a calculus class I
wanted to sit in the back of,
so, I decided, in order to sit in
the back of this, I am going to learn:
algebra, trigonometry, all this other
middle school stuff, all the high school
math, and first year undergrad calculus
in two weeks, so I could sit in the back
of this class. I was ten.
So, also at that time, proving this,
I got accepted into the University;
and yet again I was still ten.
So, OK, then I had to go to an entrance
interview, you know, that’s what you
gotta do, its a university.
So, I had to go to this entrance
interview, and because of parking,
I had all these coins, and, you know,
I dropped them all over the guy’s
office; making him think I had no
common sense and he pretty much held
me back for a semester.
And I was thinking about this specific
problem in astrophysics that I was
really interested in at that time,
which I still kind of am.
Now, what I did was, over the next two
weeks I started thinking about these
shapes, I started thinking about this
problem, and after a while I had
So, I have solved this problem in
astrophysics, which basically is
similar to, you know, what’s happening
with Einstein and Newton right now.
I am not going to tell you the exact
problem due to the fact that I have
not published it, yet. When my paper
gets published, you may figure out
I thought about all these problems
and you know, I only has a 500 cheap
thing of paper from Officemax; and
since I was thinking about these
multidimensional things, it filled
them up really quickly.
So, then I moved on to white boards
because I was out of paper. But the
white board, it also filled up pretty
quickly, so then I moved on to my
After that I got chased down by all
this Windex and stuff and, you know,
my equations would get erased by
these horrible Windex creators but,
so, because of that, after about a
month or so, my parents realized I
was not going out to the park,
I was just drawing these weird shapes
on the windows.
So, what I did was, I was going on the
windows, I was trying to disprove myself,
but to no avail. After that, my parents,
you know, they figured I should be on
the park, so they called some guy up
at Princeton, and they told him to
disprove what I was doing.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case,
and he said I was on the right track;
so, I’m not going to the park.
Then because I had to stop learning,
I started thinking and I solved the
Now, let’s sort of recap what we’ve
done. Have Einstein, and Johnson,
and Newton, and everyone I talked
about, are they really geniuses?
Is that really what has made them so
special? Is that really why they did
all their work? Absolutely not!
That’s not why!
Now, I’m pretty sure they had relatively
high IQs; but, as some of you may know,
there are lots of people out there with
high IQs who don’t create this sort of
thing, they usually just end up
memorizing a couple hundred thousand
digits of Pi. So, first of all, my
question to them is: why not memorize
a different number?
Like, I mean, I am wearing Phi right
OK, I am not supposed to be talking,
I am not supposed to be learning;
but because I made that transition
from learning to thinking, to creating,
I am here today; and I am talking to
some four hundred to eight hundred
people in New York.
OK. Now, what would I want you guys to
get out of this speech?
What I want you guys to do is, for the
next 24 hours, I know you guys may have
school or what not, even though it’s a
Saturday; for the next 24 hours don’t
learn anything! You are not allowed to
learn anything for the next 24 hours.
However, what I’d like you to do is,
I’d like you to go into some field,
I mean, you all have some passion,
I don’t know about it, I’ve been
talking to you for 11 minutes.
I have no idea what you guys are
But, you guys have some passion and
all out there and you all know
what it is.
Whether it’s music or architecture,
or science or whatever; and I want
you to think about that field and,
who knows, maybe you can create
Thank you very much. I’m Jacob Barnett.