CNN’s Gupta Unravels Mystery of Genius
for Prime-time Special

In the new Dr. Sanjay Gupta Primetime Special, CNN senior medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, examines the mysteries behind genius and attempts to answer the classic nature/nurture question of whether high intelligence is inborn or the product of environment. The one-hour program, “Genius: Quest for Extreme Brain Power,” premieres Sunday, Sept. 17, at 10 p.m. (ET)

A practicing neurosurgeon, Gupta starts with a look inside the brain and a discussion with scientists who are using cutting-edge brain imaging to find remarkable differences in the brains of highly intelligent people. Gupta’s quest takes him from the physiology of genius to the links and differences between intelligence and creativity. Along the way, he meets savants – people with severe mental limitations who possess breathtaking talent – and gifted students, whose educational needs are often unmet.

“As a new parent myself, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best ways to nurture intelligence and creativity, especially in children,” Gupta said.  “From that starting point, we’ve met all sorts of remarkable people: from those you might call geniuses or prodigies to the people who study the concept of genius from all sorts of perspectives. Hopefully, we’ll shed some light on the meaning of genius and the way great ideas are born.”

“Genius” will feature the following segments:

  • What Is Genius?: Gupta visits the world-renowned MIND Institute deep in the New Mexico desert, where researchers work to establish the correlation between IQ and brain activity. He also visits Chicago ’s Improv Olympic comedy club, the launching pad for comics like Tina Fey, Mike Myers and Vince Vaughn. Along the way, Gupta finds that genius does not necessarily spring from a flash of inspiration, but through a delicate, predictable process of observation, cooperation and ambition.
  • Savant: Viewers meet two savants possessing extraordinary artistic talent, including Matt Savage, a 14-year-old autistic boy and two-time winner of ASCAP’s Young Jazz Composer award, and a mentally impaired young man with the ability to draw whole cities from memory after seeing them only one time.
  • Nature vs. Nurture: Eccentric entrepreneur Robert Graham attempted to resolve this debate by creating a sperm bank with donations from Nobel Prize winners. Viewers meet one of the offspring from this unusual experiment.
  • Baby Einstein/Prodigy School: Dr. Ellen Winner, Boston College psychologist and expert on gifted children, explains the value of early stimulation products such as the Baby Einstein videos and toys. CNN also visits a new school in Reno , Nevada , that only accepts children with IQs higher than 160. Created by Jan and Bob Davidson, who made a fortune selling educational software like Math Blaster, the school offers a radically individualized curriculum.
  • Nerd Camp: Viewers get an inside look at the prestigious Johns Hopkins summer-camp for high-achieving teenagers, affectionately dubbed “nerd camp” by its students.
  • Magic: Gupta visits the remote Montana home of 20-year-old Christopher Paolini, who wrote the fantasy best-seller Eragon when he was just 15. Amid work on his third novel and awaiting the release of the movie version of Eragon, Paolini and his parents tell how he made the leap from precocious child to accomplished author.

Online, includes an article detailing the differences between geniuses and other people, a genius quiz, an interactive on boosting intelligence, streamed video segments and more.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is senior medical correspondent for the health and medical unit at CNN. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and an assistant professor of neurosurgery, plays an integral role in the network’s medical coverage, which includes daily packages, the half-hour weekend show House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and coverage of breaking medical news. Based in Atlanta, he also co-hosts Accent Health for Turner Private Networks, provides medical segments for the syndicated version of ER on TNT, contributes health news stories to and writes a column for TIME magazine.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is one of the world’s most respected and trusted sources for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; four Web sites, including, the first major news and information Web site; CNN Pipeline, an on-demand broadband video service; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and partnerships for four television networks and one Web site.


Kawain McClarin, 404.827.5095


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