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Whiz Kids, Brothers 11 and 9, Set Sights On University of Chicago

May 3, 1985 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) _ To call them prodigies might be underrating brothers Morgan and Alkes Price, ages 11 and 9.

In September, Morgan will start as a freshman at the University of Chicago, and Alkes is planning to follow a year later, the boys’ parents, David and Theodora Price, said Thursday.

Both boys are students at Naperville Central High School in the western Chicago suburb of Naperville, where the family lives.

Julian C. Stanley, a psychology professor who directs Johns Hopkins University’s International Talent Search, said Alkes is ″one of the two or three most precocious - mathematically precocious (children) - I’ve run across.

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Morgan, whose strengths are both mathematical and verbal, was proficient before the age of 1 in both English and modern Greek, Mrs. Price’s native language, she said.

″He could talk before he could run, in two languages. His father spoke only English to him. And I spoke only Greek. And he never mixed one with the other,″ she said.

By the time Morgan was 3, he was attending Japanese kindergarten while his father, David, a British physicist and senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Lemont, was doing research in Japan.

Morgan, whose name in Welsh means ″strong man,″ came home and taught Alkes Japanese, Mrs. Price said.

″Every mother thinks their children are exceptionally brilliant,″ said Mrs. Price, who has a doctorate in archeology from Oxford University and has taught in Greece, England, Australia and the United States. ″But I knew both of them were exceptionally alert from a very early age.″

She tutored the boys at home and, when Morgan was 9, had him take a Talent Search test. He scored in the top 1 percent of the nation’s high school students in algebra and the top 2 percent in trigonometry.

Alkes, whose name in Greek means ″man of the sea,″ meanwhile, broke a national record at the age of 8 by being the youngest child ever to score 760 in mathematics on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, his mother said.

″They’re very astounding youngsters,″ said Stanley in a telephone interview from Baltimore. ″The two together are about as astounding as I’ve seen.″

Morgan’s scores are higher than 700 in math and over 630 in verbal aptitude, according to Stanley. The average SAT math score for a college-bound male in 12th grade is 495, and the average SAT verbal score is 433, Stanley said.

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The boys are also precocious in music, with Morgan having won awards for his performance on violin and Alkes having captured honors on the piano. Both say they spurn rock ‘n’ roll for classical music, but they like many other activities that other youngsters like.

″I’m not athletic, but I like ping-pong and I like bike-riding,″ said Morgan, who says his favorite leisure activity is reading, especially mysteries and detective novels.

″One thing people don’t realize is just because I’m gifted, doesn’t mean I can do anything without effort,″ Morgan said. ″Like in high school, people think I spend all my time having fun. But basically, I spend the whole evening doing homework or violin, with half an hour out for dinner.″

Alkes, also a mystery buff, said he and his brother are each other’s chief companions, and ″We like to do mostly the same things for fun.″

″They demand stimulation,″ said Mrs. Price. ″Sometimes they wear me out.″