From moon missions to ground breaking inventions—it all happened when opportunity met talent at a young age.
At the age of 5 when Albert Einstein was sick in bed, his father gifted him a magnetic compass which sparked his curiosity in the field of science. Eventually, this curiosity would lead him to become one of the most influential scientists in human history. Einstein, himself, wrote about receiving the compass, "I can still remember...that this experience made a deep and lasting impression on me. Something deeply hidden had to be behind things."
Neil Armstrong was five when he first experienced an airplane flight. Neil went on to earn a student flight certificate on his 16th birthday, much before he got a driver's license. His fascination for outer space was further fueled by his neighbour who owned a powerful telescope which Neil occasionally used. Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon. And, guess what did Neil Armstrong also take to the Moon? His Boy Scout Badge.
At the age of 18, Ban Ki-moon won an Essay Contest organized by the Red Cross in South Korea. As a winner, a young Ban Ki-moon got a chance to visit the United Nations and the White House and met the then US President John F. Kennedy. On the 50th anniversary of his visit, Ban Ki-moon said, “I was so inspired that I went on to spend my life in public service.” Ban Ki-moon served as the 8th Secretary General of the United Nations.
In times when women in Poland weren't allowed to continue their education past high school. Marie Curie enrolled in "Flying University", a secret university for women, which helped her continue her education. In 1903, Marie Curie received the Nobel Prize in Physics and became the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize. In 1913, Marie Curie received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and became the first person ever to receive two Nobel Prizes.
At the age of 16, Srinivasa Ramanujan received a library copy of "A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics" from a friend. The book was a collection of over 5,000 theorems. This 16 year old would go on to become one of the greatest mathematicians the world has ever seen. December 22, the birth anniversary of Ramanujan, is observed as National Mathematics Day in India.