Kim Ung-Yong Got His PhD At The Age Of 8 But It Took Him 50 Years To Find Happiness In Life

What would you do if you were the most intelligent person on the planet?

Maybe become the best scientist in the world or mint millions of dollars trading in the stock market. Or maybe write a great novel or come up with a cure for AIDS and cancer. There are so many things you can do when you are the most intelligent man in the world, right?

But the chances are, you would never have a choice to do anything, as Kim Ung-Yong found out the hard way.

Kim was exceptionally intelligent. He started talking when he was just 4 months old. At the age of 3, he could solve Physics problems. He could read Korean, German, Japanese and English by the age of 4.

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He was a celebrity figure in all of Korea! He was invited to Korean TV shows and was given complex math problems to solve. He fascinated everyone in the small country with his brilliance.


When he was just 8 years old, he was invited by NASA to work for them. He agreed and moved to the USA. And by 8 he also had a PhD from Colorado State University

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He worked for NASA for the next 10 years after moving to the USA.

Now just imagine yourself in his shoes. A 15-year-old kid doing top research for NASA even before your brain has fully developed. It’s not pleasant.


And understandably, Kim burnt out. He abruptly quit his job at NASA and returned to Korea. He thought that the work he was doing there was used for destructive purposes.

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He came back to Korea and started studying to graduate high school because he could not enroll at any university. After he got his GED score, he enrolled at a regional university to study Civil Engineering.


People around him were dismayed. They pronounced him as the ‘wasted genius’. No one seemed to care that he was finally happy studying civil engineering.

“I’m trying to tell people that I am happy the way I am. But why do people have to call my happiness a failure?”

He believed the work he was doing now – engineering – was constructive and gave him a peace of mind.

But people did not believe him. Whenever he said that he was happy, people always retorted with “There’s no way that’s possible.”


He did not like working for NASA because he just solved equations like a machine and his superiors took all the credit. Back in Korea people did not understand this and he was sick of the media attention again on his return.

Kim Ung-Yong
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He never lived a normal life – a life where he studied in middle school and then high school and then graduate to go to college. Life just moved too fast and all the praises by the people around him made him think he was doing the right thing. And the same people turned on him when he returned as if they had a say in what he should do in life.

“People put too much emphasis on IQ.”, says Kim.

“Society should not judge anyone with unilateral standards everyone has different learning levels, hopes, talents, and dreams and we should respect that,”

Today, at 52 years of age, Kim Kim Ung-Yong has fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a professor. He teaches students at the Shinhan University.

IQ is not omnipotent, and Kim’s story proves it. It is just another talent like being exceptionally good in sports or music. And it is nothing without wisdom, which Kim slowly gathered through his life.

All said and done, he surely will make a brilliant professor, who knows how to deal with gifted as well as troubled students.

A noble lesson for life, indeed.

Sources – Korea Herald.

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