Lauren Arrington and Zach Jud
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Lionfish: Why internet is gripped by 'child prodigy' tales

In recent weeks, 12-year-old Lauren Arrington has become an internet sensation.

Her school science fair project on the invasive lionfish, in which she claimed to have discovered that it could survive in fresh water, seemed to stun scientists, who celebrated it as groundbreaking.

But not all scientists were as thrilled with her "discovery".

Former Florida International University doctoral student Zack Jud wrote on his Facebook page that amid the viral excitement over Lauren's project, his own name and research had been left out.

As accusations of plagiarism and academic hijacking reverberated across the internet, the BBC spoke with Tim Hwang, a fellow at the Data and Society Research Institute, about why we get caught up in the "child prodigy" mystique.

Video by Franz Strasser and Annie Waldman

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  • 25 Jul 2014
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