Dr. Adam Richter: Genius at Work
Brain Power’s new “Think Like a Genius” program invites high-potential kids to explore the thoughts and approaches of history’s great geniuses.
The word “genius” gets thrown around a lot these days. “He’s a genius with the puck.” “The pastry chef there is a genius.” “She’s a genius with numbers.” But what exactly does it mean to be a genius, and what do the rest of us mere mortals consider a genius to be? Is it someone who has brilliant, or novel insights, someone world-famous on the level of Einstein, Mozart or Shakespeare? In any case, where does that genius come from, and what does that mean?
These are the questions that motivate Brain Power’s “Think Like a Genius” program, which will be launching as part of the company’s Innovator & Explorer Learning Series in March 2023. This is collection of workshops, created and led by prominent academics, is designed to inspire high-potential students and to help them become future leaders.
With campuses in Vaughan, Hamilton and, most recently, North Toronto, Brain Power is a 30- year leader in enrichment for high-potential kids. Brain Power’s programs for students in Grades 1 through 12 help these bright young minds to become independent, creative and critical thinkers, as well as exceptional writers and resilient leaders. With a core curriculum of math, language arts and public speaking, accented by programs like “Think Like a Genius,” Brain Power’s innovative approach to teaching helps students to thrive in elite high school and university programs, ace interviews and develop the skills needed to succeed in a changing and globally minded world.
“Think Like a Genius” is a first-of-its-kind Brain Power workshop that, by retracing the thoughts of some of the greatest scientific minds in history, gives students insights into how brilliant thinkers conceived of their ideas and came to be known as “geniuses.” Students will learn not only what scientific geniuses have achieved, but also how. What was it about these geniuses that led them to make their groundbreaking theories, discoveries and inventions? By the end of the program, students will be able to identify the many factors that contributed to these moments of genius.
The program is led by Dr. Adam Richter, a historian of science with a PhD from the University of Toronto who has received numerous academic awards and has been published in prominent academic journals. Dr. Richter says that, true to Brain Power’s approach, “Think Like a Genius” digs a little deeper to uncover the ideas and thought processes of geniuses.
“The big question in this workshop is ‘What does it mean to be a genius?’” says Dr. Richter. “Where does genius come from, not only in terms of how do geniuses think, which I think is a very important and interesting question, but also culturally in terms of what does the category ‘genius’ actually mean? What does our culture mean when we identify someone as a genius? Who counts as one and who doesn’t? There are both scientic and cultural aspects to this. So, the questions are, What does a genius do, what does a genius think and how do we decide who is a genius?”
“What Does a Genius Do, What Does A Genius Think, and How Do We Decide Who is a Genius?”
“One of our dierentiators at Brain Power is that we have amazing scholars as a part of our team, like Adam, and they are all globally leading experts in their fields,” says Brain Power instructor and CEO, Vanessa Serra Iarocci. “These workshops are an opportunity for these scholars to create original new content and work directly with students, and that’s very different from other enrichment programs.”
A trademark of the Brain Power approach to learning is to help students develop critical thinking skills and reach beyond their comfort zones. “What I hope to achieve at Brain Power is not just to get students to explore things they are interested in, but to generate new interests as well, as we’re teaching kids who love learning,” says Dr. Richter.
For Dr. Richter, when it comes to his students, success is not defined by test scores, or marks, but rather by a broader, more globally oriented picture.
“If we’re getting access to these really bright kids and turning them into really informed citizens who are going to change the world, then for me, that’s a successful class,” he says. And perhaps, with the “Think Like a Genius” workshop, Dr. Richter can even show these kids how to reach their potential as future geniuses.