Meet Chicago's Sibling Geniuses

At age 18, he has a PhD. She's 13 and graduating from Roosevelt University.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Sho And Sayuri Yano are not your typical sibling teenagers. Sure they play and fight with each other but the one thing that makes them different they're really, Really smart. (Published Tuesday, May 4, 2010)

    Sho Yano was just nine when he enrolled at Loyola University. He graduated Summa Cum Laude and at the age of 13 entered medical school at the University of Chicago.

    "When I was a lot younger I did have an IQ test," he said.  "And at that time they couldn’t measure it."

    This month, his 13-year-old sister, Sayuri, graduates from Roosevelt University with a degree in biology.

    “My dream is to be a cardiac surgeon”, she said.

    To say they are remarkable -- both in the classroom and on stage where they sometimes perform together -- is an understatement. He plays piano.  She plays violin.

    Last summer, at the age of 18, Sho Yano got his a PhD. in molecular genetics and cell biology at the University of Chicago.

    How the brain works, he said, has always been interested him.

    Over the course of their young lives both have had to answer the question: how do you educate a child, with such intellectual gifts?

    "Too many people compare physical maturity with mental maturity," according to Sayuri.  "People shouldn’t be restricted."

    By the time he was two, Sho was reading.  By three, he was playing piano and by four he was composing.

    Already he was casting a large shadow for his little sister.

    “Sometimes it’s annoying when they seem to say there is only one sibling," Sayuri said in the family’s Chicago home.

    Both say they have had to overcome obstacles in the classroom, based upon their age.

    “I know it’s very hard for her,” said Sho who had to overcome struggles with some college peers at Loyola.

    “They sometimes try to exclude me from their groups,” said Sayuri. “They don’t want to talk to me or do study group with me.”

    But her organic chemistry lab partner, 28-year old Prince Manjee, said at times it is the youngest student in the class with the most maturity.

    “She’s a good lab partner probably more mature than most of the classmates I have right now,” said Manjee.

    Their father, Katsura Yano, is Japanese and mother Kyung is Korean. She home-schooled her children and says she has heard a chorus of complaints about pushing them too far, too fast.

    “Should I let them stay home and do nothing, since they are young, even though they are ready?” asked Kyung Yano, who has written seven books in Korean on homeschooling.

    Sho and Sayrui say their lives have been full. Karate and sports for Sho when he was younger.

    Sayuri performs with the Midwest Youth Orchestra and is learning to paint.

    “Prodigy’s don’t always study all the time,” she said. “They don’t just sit in their rooms reading books all the time.”

    As for Sho, he says he is living out his dream. In his second year of medical school he is learning how to be a doctor, including sessions with mock patients.

    So does he dream one day of being famous? “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t,” he said. So if it was Sho Yano instead of Albert Einstein? “Lets put it this way, it would be great.” He replied, “but I don’t ever want to make that my goal.”

    Last year Sho Yano gave a speech in Japan to a group of advanced high school students.

    He told them he believes a single individual can change the course of the world.

    “There might be some truth to the old saying a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world,” he said.

    Back home, the 19-year old with the incredible intelligence when asked about his profound intellectual gifts responded: “I never felt that having an IQ meant you will succeed or not succeed…if I had a good life, if I could have contributed something, that’s what really matters.”