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Watch: Meet 9-year-old Sorbono Isaac Bari, the world’s youngest professor

Business Report had a chat with Soborno Isaac Bari about his life and his accomplishments. He is the youngest professor in the world. Picture: Itumeleng English, ANA.

Business Report had a chat with Soborno Isaac Bari about his life and his accomplishments. He is the youngest professor in the world. Picture: Itumeleng English, ANA.

Published Oct 19, 2021


Meet nine-year-old Sorbono Bari. He is not your typical nine-year-old. Bari is the youngest professor in the world.

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Bari was born in 2012, and he lives in New York with his parents and his brother. He is an Asian-American author and the world's youngest professor. He is also nominated for a Nobel prize.

In 2018, when Soborno was just six-years-old, Harvard University recognised him as a scientist.

The Da Vinci Institute for Technology Management bestowed on him and South African play writer John Kani the Da Vinci Laureate: Social Architecture on Monday.

Business Report had a chat with Bari about his life and his accomplishments.

According to Bari, from the age of between one and two years, he developed a passion for Maths.

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"I don't think it was an ability but a passion. My father was a Maths student, he was writing all these equations on the blackboard, and I would be wondering what do they mean?"

He said, one day, he mustered enough courage to copy all the symbols.

"My father caught my fascination, and he started teaching me Maths and science. I developed a desire to experiment to observe, to see how things worked. So I eventually learned more and more until it blossomed. Now people see it as a talent, I see it as a passion," Bari said.

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Bari said passion got him where he is now. "I believe every child was born a genius. Every child has a hidden talent. It's okay to be not good at something. I am not very good at art. There are some things I am good at and some things that I am not so good at," he said.

According to Bari, talent needs to be discovered and nurtured by teachers. "You need to find what you like doing. For me, that was Maths and Science, not other subjects.

"I think I was born as sort of a genius in terms of maths and science. That is normal. Every child is born a genius. There are probably a million more just like me. They didn't have a good teacher or good environment, and that is what is needed to enable them to get a good education to unravel their talent," he said.

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He said he feels honoured that he is the youngest professor, but he would like to remind people that age is just a number.

"People tend to think that age is dictating what your skills should be, what is your social status. Age dictates the time you were born, nothing else. I honestly have no regard for my age. Your age doesn't determine your skills. It's how well your teacher teaches," Bari said.

Bari said to harness the skills he studies and sometimes solves mathematical problems. He is currently studying in grade 8.

He said, for fun, he plays chess and basketball. "I play with my brother. I also solve maths and science problems for fun. I also bike because you always need a bit of outside," he said.

Bari said he thinks robotics and algorithms can help mankind.

"In fact, our technology has helped us so much. Technology has allowed us to solve a lot of problems in medicine and also fix poverty and so much more. I think it might continue to help us in the future, but who knows," he said.

Bari has achieved a lot in his young life. He has written books. He has given numerous lectures, and he also has a YouTube channel, the Bari Science lab, where he solves maths problems. He has more than 300 000 subscribers.

Chairperson of the Davinci Institute, Sechaba Motsieloa, said it was a privilege for the institution to award Bari the laureate.

"We do believe that among us, we have individuals who are showing us a different way of being. At his age and his achievement, professor Bari, we believe, is already contributing to a different society. A society that doesn't formally care for itself but for others and everything else that is alive and impacting society and the community and the universe.

“So we look for this type of inspiration from individuals, the next generation of critical thinkers. We are very proud that the professor will be receiving the award," he said.

Da Vinci Institute of Technology CEO Benjamin Anderson said The Da Vinci Institute has an important focus on co-creating new realities with remarkable people so as the university context.

"Professor Bari impressed on us, we believe that he is a great example of reflecting a true understanding of a role between people and technology, and thereby opening up more possibilities for people within our continent Africa among the youth," he said.

Anderson said he hoped in the future the institution would create a relationship with Bari so that he can be involved in the academic journey of its students.


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