Kim Ung-yong was a child prodigy in South Korea. Now a civil engineer in his 50s, he feels he was cheated of a childhood. He began speaking at six months and had mastered four languages by the age of two. He gained his first PhD aged eight, and was then headhunted to work for NASA. “I led my life like a machine,” he has said. “I woke up, solved the daily assigned equation, ate, slept…I was lonely and had no friends.” Even Albert Einstein, one of the most emblematic examples of genius, wrote in 1952: “It is strange to be known so universally and yet be so lonely.”