Princess Anne Middle School seventh-grade student Philip Turner knows that after high school he wants to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Although he is not familiar with the majors offered, he does know what he wants to do once he earns his degree.
“I want to build quantum computers or invent the time machine,” he shares without hesitation. And, Turner could likely achieve these goals.
Turner and Old Donation School students Reagan Labert, fourth-grader, and seventh-grader Katherine Shi were just named by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth (CTY) amongst the brightest young students in the world. Those recognized by CTY have gone on to excel in national academic competitions, become Rhodes Scholars or achieve notable accomplishments in their fields. Two of the past recipients are the founders of Google and Facebook.
In order to be considered for the honor, students must take challenging assessments as part of the university’s annual CTY Talent Search. Seventh- and eighth-grade students take the SAT or ACT, the same tests used for college admissions. These students may also take advanced versions of the School and College Ability Test (SCAT), a math and verbal reasoning test; or the Spatial Test Battery (STB) a cognitive test that measures spatial visualization. Younger students take the SCAT, STB or PSAT 8/9.
Only approximately 25 percent of the academically advanced students who enter the CTY Talent Search earn recognition and are invited to be part of the program, which nurtures the talents of the most advanced students worldwide through summer and online programs as well as other services.
Turner scored 1400 out of a possible 1600 cumulative score on the SAT.
In addition, Turner is also being recognized by Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (TIP), which administers its own talent search program to identify America’s most gifted seventh-grade students. Only students who score in the 95th percentile or higher on standardized tests and also demonstrate exemplary scores on the ACT qualify for this program. Turner scored 34 out of 36 in the math section of the ACT.
Being good at math and physics, his favorite subjects, is essential to his eventual goal of building a time machine or quantum computer, which Turner explained is in the prototype phase and works in quantum qubits.
“Computers have little bits of binary 0 and 1,” he said. “Quantum qubits are the size of an atom and they can store many pieces of data at once. If you have eight bits they can only store one code like 0-1-1-0-1-0-1-1. Quantum qubits can store like 512 different combinations at once. A quantum computer will be much more powerful, probably a million times better, than the best computer we have right now.”
When he’s not busy with school or learning more about his future career choice, Turner has other interests. At school, he is a member of his school’s Student Advisory Council as well as the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Club. He is also an orchestra member where he plays the viola. Outside of school, he competes for Hurricane Gymnastics where he has earned several honors. In 2016, he was Virginia’s state champion on the high bar for level four, ages 11 and above. This year, he won regional and state awards on the pommel horse.
Turner was recognized by CTY last weekend and is being honored by Duke University May 22.