In week 2 of our course, I tried to suggest that one of the things that does not make genius exclusively is raw innate intelligence as measured on an IQ test nor is it exclusively hard work. Again, you too are encouraged to have your own opinion about this matter. But if it's not great innate intelligence or the capacity for fanatical hard work alone, then what is it that engenders genius? What special character traits enable it? Having studied the lives of as many as 100 of these exceptional people, geniuses, the one trait that seems to be common to all of them, the number 1 driver of exceptional human accomplishment is, in my opinion, curiosity. Mover and shaker, Eleanor Roosevelt, would seem to agree. In 1934, Roosevelt said in a newspaper interview, "I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity." Is that where we get curiosity, as Roosevelt said, as a gift at birth? Perhaps so. Now that I think about it, I've never seen a high school course called how to be curious or a college major called curiosity. Philosophy, yes. Curiosity, no. Perhaps curiosity is, as Roosevelt and psychologist Susan Engel, author of the Harvard Press book, "The Hungry Mind," have said, perhaps curiosity is indeed mostly innate. It comes with birth, and children have varying degrees of it. To quote Engel, "Some children will begin paying attention to subtler surprises and unexpected details of life. Other children do not. Between the ages of three and 11, children seem to either develop an appetite for knowledge and the habit of inquiry, or they do not." But of course, although some are more curious than others at birth, the environment offers the innately curious person an opportunity to grow. Thus with curiosity, we may have something akin to the Matthew principle at work here. In the Gospel of Saint Matthew it said, "For everyone who has will be given more." Thus perhaps with curiosity, unto those who have been given curiosity, even more would grow if placed in the right circumstances. How can we grow our innate curiosity? It's an embarrassingly hackneyed recommendation, but here it is: Be open to experience. Yes, of course. Try new restaurants and foods, take vacations to different places each year. Don't be afraid to get lost. You'll probably learn something in the process. Take Coursera courses online. There are now more than 3,000 available and all for free. Understand that the most important thing in one's personal development is to know what you don't know and then be curious and courageous enough to fill in the gaps, advice from non-genius Craig. But here's something that genius Jeff Bezos said about curiosity that I think is remarkably insightful. "I think it's probably a survival skill that we remain curious and like to explore. Our ancestors who were incurious and failed to explore probably didn't live as long as the ones who are looking over the next mountain range to see if there were more sources of food, and better climates, and so on and so on." Curiosity may be a character trait that helps humans survive, a survival skill. About the age of five, as we have seen, Albert Einstein was puzzled by the needle on a compass. No matter how much he turned the compass in his hand, that needle would remain resolute, always pointing in the same direction. "Something deeply had to be behind things," Einstein said about this puzzling phenomenon at that time. From the discomfort of not knowing arose what Einstein called a lifelong flight born of wonder." a flight that took him to the study of electromagnetic forces and, ultimately, to the limits of the universe. Let's look specifically at what Einstein said about curiosity as drawn from his brief autobiography of 1949 where he calls curiosity wondering. "This wondering occurs when an experience comes into conflict with a world of concepts already sufficiently fixed within us." When we turn that compass, it ought to move, but it doesn't. "Whenever such a conflict is experienced sharply and intensely, it reacts back upon our world of thought in a decisive way. The development of this world of thought is, in a certain sense, a continuous flight born of wonder." From the original German there, it was actually said, [inaudible] Yes, flight born of wonder or flight born of curiosity. Einstein had a lot to say about curiosity during his lifelong journey. In 1915, in a letter to mathematician David Hilbert, Einstein said, "My curiosity is interfering with my work." In 1952, in a letter to his friend Carl Seelig, he wrote, "I have no special talents. I'm only passionately curious." Again, from Einstein's autobiographical notes of 1949, "It is nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction, teaching, had not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry." In this regard, Einstein is a typical genius. Was there ever a genius who is not curious, maybe frustrated by what was going on in schools and universities? Curious people are also autodidacts, self-teachers for a lifetime. Do schools do a good job of encouraging curiosity? I've been associated now with Harvard and Yale for 55 years as a student and then a faculty member. I don't think I've ever heard anyone ask the following question. What's the one thing you'd need to learn in school? Of course, it's the one thing that college is rarely teach you. Maybe it's implicit, I don't know. But it's almost never explicitly said. Perhaps over the entrance gate to Harvard or Yale, here we see a gate at Yale. Instead of [inaudible] , it should be the Latin motto, [inaudible] "Student: learn to teach thyself," because that's really what you're going to have to do for the rest of your life. Satisfying our curiosity on our own, it seems to me, can happen in one of two ways, by reading about something or by doing something. Reading about something satisfies curiosity vicariously. On the other hand, doing something satisfies our curiosity experientially. You can read or you can do and both can be effective. But historically, geniuses have satisfied their curiosity by doing and exploring, people like Christopher Columbus, Charles Darwin, and Jane Goodall, for example. You can also explore the world close to home by means of a spectrometer in a physics lab, for example, or an electron microscope in a biology lab, as did Rosalind Franklin, again, satisfying curiosity experientially. Let's continue with the experiential approach to curiosity as exemplified by the genius who has been called the most curious person in human history, Leonardo da Vinci.