What makes a genius?

My education has rendered me no choice but to seek out and characterize everything. To put labels to things, to set patterns and logic behind every existing phenomena, and to find rationale behind every happening. No matter how far my science may be from the truth, it's hard for me to not to give out personal and biased judgments.

There, there you have your disclaimer.


I've often tried to explain to myself and my friends the definition of a genius and what separates him/her from an average person like me or anyone who is modestly willing to accept himself/herself as average. Thus I'm attempting to make some theoretical claims based on the graph above. The graph belongs to spectra collected from a Raman spectrometer, which I just got from google.

Now imagine the X axis is a span of all possible fields of art/science and Y axis be the magnitude of input in arbitrary units (a.u./intensity). While an average person would try and fool around different fields in life being able to put only limited effort in each due to constraints of a lifetime, his spectrum would be like a noisy spectra. Just pure noise, wobbling, shaking line along the X axis (see 700-800 cm-1).

But a genius would spend a life which would result in a spectra with sharp peaks at 1-2 points, spending his/her 40 years of life in a single, very specific field and making the most out of it (eg 950 cm-1 and other selected peaks). That's what separates an average person from a genius. An average person, at least me, is often afraid to put too much energy into one thing, so I'll try to do 2 things at a time, and then 3 and then 4 things, ending up as well-rounded human being who is perfect at nothing. But mark that I'm not saying, that a person by birth is a genius or average, it's simply a matter of motivation at a given point of time. If someone gets highly motivated in one specific area at some point, he/she may do well in that field, but then the question is will she/he stay motivated long enough? You could argue that geniuses stay motivated all the time, working on a problem unflinchingly, long enough till they solve it. I leave that open for interpretation.

If you want to make something out of your life, reduce the noise, and get some peaks. Focus.


Trivia#1: By the way, I know a bit about crystallography and I can tell you that in the results of most spectroscopic techniques and X-ray/neutron diffraction methods, sharp peaks denote crystalline material and wide humps denote amorphous material. Noise is simply subtracted or removed from the figures for convenience of knowledge dissemination. And most researchers try to study crystals because they are so precious and so rare.  (oh and of course some people study amorphous materials like Glass too, well good for them, not so thrilling as crystals)

Trivia#2: There's a reason why all women like gems and diamonds. Now you know why. (because they are crystalline and give sharp peaks in their spectral features, just like geniuses!)


Current Book: "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells
Current Music: "My December" by Linkin Park

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Anonymous said...

Quite an interesting post - I liked your perspective on defining a genius! Looks like you've joined the PhD you were talking about - welcome to boring grad student life!

Adi Crazy said...

Found this space through Indiblogger and totally loved this post and your blog. Keep writing :)

Tanya said...

Thanks. Hehe not yet, I'm still in my Masters, will join PhD in 2nd half of the next year (hopefully)..hmm maybe will make a post about it.

Thanks! That means a lot to me.

Santa said...

nice read...

Neeraj Kumar said...

Something that is entirely a different angle of thinking.

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