Math and Science Club Students Make Oppenheimer Quote Real

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A True Test of Theory, Concept and Science!

J. Robert Oppenheimer, physicist and the father of the atomic bomb, stated at some point around 1960 that "There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago." No one had ever tested that theory until Marshall Barnes had a similar idea - that because of theories concerning the flexibility of young minds, that students at least in the high school level would be able to detect mistakes and errors in advanced physics.

A Suburban School Says The Project Is Too Advanced

Marshall wanted to put the full Oppenheimer quote to the test, by using younger students - actual children who could fit the full description of what Oppenheimer was talking about. Because of his background in consciousness research as well as his studies into how children think and perceive the world around them, Marshall was sure that children as young as 4th grade could easily handle one of these challenges. He talked with a suburban elementary school about doing it and scheduled as day and time to conduct the experiment. However, the school email him later and stated that they decided against t because they felt that it would be too advanced for their children to participate in. Undaunted, Marshall then had to come up with another plan.

An Alternative Option Becomes Obvious...

Marshall had to look for an alternative option to test his theory. He had previous contact with the Math and Science Club run out of The Ohio State University African American and African Studies Community Extension Center on Mt. Vernon Ave. and contacted them about his idea. Program Coordinator Beth Guzman-Bowman, who was running the program now as a coordinated effort with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, thought it sounded like a great idea. More to the point, Marshall wanted to show that African American children could take on a challenge that was deemed too hard for their suburban counter parts. The Oppenheimer Strain is not just about exposing children to new challenges but to prove to their doubting adults (in some cases) that the students really can perform at the level required to see the errors.  

The Children Meet The Challenge

Marshall proved that the suburban school's assumption was wrong when he met with the children of the Math and Science club. In a stunning proof of J. Robert Oppenheimer's rhetorical statement from decades ago, not only were some of the Math and Science club members able to get the right answer of the test question, but by the largest percentage ever - 60%, or four out of seven. Not only did they get the right answer but what they were analyzing was a blatant error by the famous astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking which was made during his 2010 TV special on the Discovery Channel, Into The Universe with Stephen Hawking!

Coming soon to this section will be the complete background on this incredible education experiment, the physics behind the question, the proof that Stephen Hawking was wrong, photos, video and more!