Michael Kevin Kearney (born January 18, 1984, in Paterson, New Jersey, USA) is a former child prodigy known for setting several world records, and teaching college at the age of 17.
The son of a Caucasian father and a Japanese mother, he was homeschooled by his parents, especially his mother, and accelerated in his academic career. He was diagnosed with ADD and his parents declined to use the offered prescription of Ritalin.
He spoke his first words at four months. At the age of six months, he said to his pediatrician “I have a left ear infection” and learned to read at the age of ten months.
When Michael was four, he was given multiple-choice diagnostic tests for the Johns Hopkins precocious math program. Without having learned the material, Michael achieved a perfect score.
He finished high-school at age six, enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College at the age of six years and seven months, from which he graduated at the age of eight with an Associate of Science in Geology.
He is listed in the Guinness Book as the world’s youngest university graduate at the age of 10, receiving a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of South Alabama.
For a while, he was the world’s youngest postgraduate and the holder of several Guinness world records, but the master’s degree record was broken by Tathagat Avatar Tulsi. Michael Kearney’s 118-page master’s thesis is entitled “Kinetic Isotope Effects of Thymidine Phosphorylase.” His research is focused on an enzyme that could potentially slow or stop the growth of cancer cells without harming health. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a master’s degree in biochemistry at the age of 14, and taught at Vanderbilt University also in Tennessee at 16. He received a second Master’s degree in Computer Science from Vanderbilt when he was 17.