8 People Who Received Their PhDs Before Age 20

Karl Witte
Illustration by Christian Sager

One way to help your kid become a prodigy is to turn them into an experiment for an extreme learning program so you can write a book about it. That's what Karl Heinrich Gottfried Witte did to his son, making sure he spoke 5 languages by the time he was 9 years old. Also named Karl, his son was 13 when he earned a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Giessen in Germany in 1814. The younger Witte eventually became a scholar on Dante Alighieri because when your father uses you as a guinea pig, life must seem like a divine comedy indeed.