A Pair of Prodigies


Two child prodigies - not in chess, but in their chosen fields. Both made headlines as children, but aren't quite so well known today except, perhaps within their fields.

Fred Safier Jr. (age 12) is shown here, August 1956,  playing chess with his father.
Time Magazine
Oct. 01, 1956
"With other members of the class of 1960, twelve-year-old Fred Safier of Berkeley, Calif. registered for his freshman year at Harvard. He wants to be a nuclear physicist, has already taught chemistry at the Drew School in San Francisco. Other noted Harvard prodigies: William James Sidis, who entered as an eleven-year-old at the turn of the century and startled the country with his mathematical prowess; A. A. Berle Jr., later assistant secretary of state, who went to Harvard at 14."

Fred Safier went on to join the mathematics faculty at City College of San Francisco where he taught for 37.7 years before retiring in 2005. He also wrote the highly praised manual, Schaum's Outline of PreCalculus.


Lorin Maazel is shown here, in 1943, playing chess with his father.

Lorin was born with a photographic
memory and perfect pitch. At age five, he learned violin and piano and took up conducting. Two years later he conducted the N.B.C. Symphony and then the New York Philharmonic. He conducted the Interlochen Orchestra during the World's Fair in N.Y., 1939. The year the above photo was taken, Loren had made his Cleveland Orchestra debut. His awards and "firsts" throughout his long career have been many.



Lorin Maazel