• Follow us

Australia News

Confident, cute and an IQ of 139: Meet Maximus, the five-year-old genius, in his element

While other five-year-old kids are reading picture books, Maximus Dafopoulos likes to flick through Year 11 chemistry texts for fun.

He is yet to go to an AFL game, or travel overseas, but he can recite from memory, non stop, all 118 elements of the Periodic Table.

It takes him about a minute to say it, and just over three minutes if he sings it to the tune of The Elements song penned by Tom Lehrer.

Maximus learnt the Periodic Table from reading his father Arthur’s old Year 11 chemistry textbook.


A psychologist told his mother Dee that Maximus was profoundly gifted and scored an IQ of 139, when tested at age four.

This qualifies him for Mensa, and puts him in the top 1 per cent of kids in his age group.

He can also pull apart and reassemble a plastic model of the human heart and count to 1000 in Italian.

In his element: Maximus Dafopoulos memorised the Periodic Table from his Dad's Year 11 chemistry text.

In his element: Maximus Dafopoulos memorised the Periodic Table from his Dad's Year 11 chemistry text.Credit:Jason South

He loved seeing Gunther Von Hagens' human anatomy exhibition Body Worlds, and reads Roald Dahl books usually chosen by older kids.

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

While he might have a photographic memory for the element names, he can answer questions The Age put to him including:

What is number 9 on the table? FluorineWhat is the symbol for sodium? NaAt standard temperature is neon a solid, liquid or gas? A gasIs there an element called Londinium?  No (trick question: it’s the Roman name for London)

Of the first time she heard Maximus recite the Periodic Table, his teacher Tanya Beaumont said, "my reaction was open-mouthed staring".

"I don’t even have words for that," Ms Beaumont, who has a science degree, said.

Maximus was happy to sing The Elements for 200 of his classmates at St Paul the Apostle primary school in Melbourne's north-east on Thursday.

"He’s a confident boy. He’s always said to me that he enjoys sharing his knowledge with other people, and teaching them new things," Ms Dafopoulos said.

She and her husband were guided by Maximus' interests.

"We don't push him into things."

Knowing his love for chemistry, she guessed (correctly) that Maximus would like to go to the International Year of the Periodic Table Expo which is being held in The Odd One Out function centre in Flinders Lane this Sunday.

It's run by the the century-old Royal Australian Chemical Institute. At 2pm at the expo, Maximus will do his one-minute recitation, and possibly his song, and take questions from the crowd.

Institute president Dr Vicki Gardiner said the expo is the "chemists' equivalent of a city tour (and at times a ghost tour) of the Periodic Table [where they] hear the stories behind the building blocks, the quirky individuals and their behaviours that we’ve taken advantage of to produce things like wearable materials, mobile devices and health technologies".

There will also be presentations on the chemistry of fireworks, chocolate and sherbet (though not at the same time), and a chemical element scavenger hunt.

Maximus is excited about the event.

"Because they have lots of elements they’re going to do experiments with."

"And they're going to have chocolate there. I want to make chocolate."

Carolyn Webb is a reporter for The Age.

Most Viewed in NationalRead More

Leave A Comment

More News

AAP National | News.com.au

Suncorp halts unclear marketplace strategy 2019-08-07 10:02:17Suncorp is halting its so-called marketplace strategy to refocus on banking and insurance, admitting its former chief executive's plan had confused c

‘You’re my true love, mummy’ 2019-08-07 10:02:17It was two days before Christmas, little Levi Wheeler’s favourite day of the whole year, and the eight-year-old was eagerly sharing his exciteme

NSW govt amendments ‘pervert’ the abortion bill 2019-08-07 10:02:17Australia’s peak medical body has slammed amendments being moved by NSW government ministers to a bill intended to decriminalise abortion. The

Energy regulator launches legal action over 2016 SA 2019-08-07 10:02:17The Australian Energy Regulator is taking four wind farm operators to court over the 2016 statewide blackout in South Australia. About 850,000 custom

Aged provider ‘should have gone in 2017’ 2019-08-07 10:02:17An aged care provider should have been pushed out of the industry well before its Gold Coast retirement home's unprecedented abrupt closure, a royal

Skiers Rejoice as Southeast Australia Braces for Cold 2019-08-07 10:02:17A cold front moving in over Victoria, Australia, was being welcomed as a boon for skiers on August 7, with authorities at the Hotham Alpine resort adv

Qualms with nuclear ‘deserve a relook’ 2019-08-07 10:02:17Minerals Council of Australia Chair Helen Coonan says people’s concerns about nuclear being big, expensive and coastal-based “deserve a re

Roberta Williams bailed on kidnap charge 2019-08-07 10:02:17Gangland widow Roberta Williams has won a bid for bail after being charged with kidnapping and making threats to kill in Melbourne, allegedly linked t

Most Important Meal of the Day: Suspected Drug 2019-08-07 10:02:17A suspected drug dealer did not let Queensland detectives raiding his home stop him from his enjoying his breakfast on August 2. Footage by Queensland

Whale-watching boat explosion horror 2019-08-07 01:00:33Emergency crews have rushed to a boat that appears to have exploded in flames off the Gold Coast in Queensland’s southeast.

Climate change protesters to face Brisbane magistrate 2019-08-07 01:00:33Climate change protesters due to face a Brisbane magistrate today have attracted support from the Greens. The protest did not only cause traffic chao

CBA cops $1.2bn Hayne hit, FY profit dips 2019-08-07 01:00:33Commonwealth Bank's full-year profit has fallen 4.7 per cent to $8.49 billion after the nation's largest lender took a $1.2 billion royal commission

Sydney Morning Herald RSS

All girls at Presentation College Windsor offered spot 2019-08-07 05:50:49Christian Brothers College St Kilda has informed parents it will become co-ed from next year and will offer all girls currently enrolled at PCW a plac

Police inspected Inflation nightclub 'up to 7 times 2019-08-07 05:31:00A Melbourne nightclub owner has taken her five-year feud with Victoria Police to the Supreme Court after her King Street venue was described as a "ho

Confident, cute and an IQ of 139: Meet 2019-08-07 05:30:00We put Maximus to the test with five questions about the Periodic Table. Can you answer them?

Bushfire victims claim 'corporate bullying' as Western Power 2019-08-07 05:21:48"It is simply a disgrace.”

Convicted dognapper apologises for 'stupid' dine-and-dashes at Perth 2019-08-07 05:04:07A convicted dognapper who accompanied notorious Perth "dine and dasher" Lois Loder in ripping off various restaurants has apologised for his "stupi

Artist considers striking back after controversial Bondi mural 2019-08-07 04:44:38As Luke Cornish worked in his studio, the two-time Archibald Prize finalist wondered whether he should head back to the beach and spray paint another

Australian teachers work longer hours than those in 2019-08-07 04:39:27Australian secondary school teachers work among the longest hours in the developed world, but spend more time doing non-teaching tasks than in the cla

Aspiring models strut their stuff in hope of 2019-08-07 04:10:18Nursing student Urgi Baker has always had a passion for fashion but wasn’t sure if she could ever break into the fashion industry.

'I'm the f---ing godmother': Roberta Williams bailed after 2019-08-07 03:45:22Roberta Williams allegedly yelled ‘‘I’m the f---ing godmother’’ during a brutal and sustained attack on a video producer

Mother's death prompts Queensland flu warning 2019-08-07 03:27:56The death of a mother-of-three due to flu-related illness so early in the season has prompted health officials to issue a reminder of how serious the

Commissioner 'disturbed' aged care abuse only acted on 2019-08-07 03:20:38The aged care royal commission has heard 20 reports of alleged physical and sexual abuse at one operator's facilities were not escalated by the Depar

'Loner': colleagues recall the portrait of a troubled 2019-08-07 03:14:15Eight days before he was arrested over the possible stabbing death of his elderly parents, David Reid arrived at work with a “noticeable amount

AdelaideNow | Daily

‘You’re my true love, mummy’ 2019-08-07 10:01:46It was two days before Christmas, little Levi Wheeler’s favourite day of the whole year, and the eight-year-old was eagerly sharing his exciteme

Energy regulator launches legal action over 2016 SA 2019-08-07 10:01:46The Australian Energy Regulator is taking four wind farm operators to court over the 2016 statewide blackout in South Australia. About 850,000 custome

Climate change protesters to face Brisbane magistrate 2019-08-07 00:59:42Climate change protesters due to face a Brisbane magistrate today have attracted support from the Greens. The protest did not only cause traffic chaos

Whale-watching boat explosion horror 2019-08-07 00:59:42Emergency crews have rushed to a boat that appears to have exploded in flames off the Gold Coast in Queensland’s southeast.

CBA’s $1.2b royal commission wipe-out 2019-08-07 00:59:42Commonwealth Bank has become the latest major lender to reveal massive losses as a result of the scandals exposed in the Hayne royal commission.

Voting almost closed for Tasmania’s most adorable kids 2019-08-07 00:59:42When the Mercury put the call out for photos to celebrate Tasmania’s newest and most adorable arrivals, we were overwhelmed by the response.

Albino Kangaroos on the move 2019-08-07 00:59:42This mob of rare albino kangaroos was captured at Panorama Gardens Estate in Boneo recently.

Myths around $2000 a year ‘dud’ 2019-08-07 00:59:42Many Australians are dumping their private health insurance policies after realising they are still facing huge bills for out-of-pocket costs.

Monster storm to smash Australia 2019-08-07 00:59:42Thursday and Friday will be bitterly cold and dangerously windy for millions in the path of a massive winter storm headed north from the Bass Strait.

Top spy’s warning amid press freedom battle 2019-08-07 00:59:42One of the nation’s spy chiefs has hit out at classified information leaks saying they could damage international intelligence partnerships.

Morrison govt to increase uni funding based on 2019-08-07 00:59:42University funding increases will be based on student success and employment outcomes under a scheme to be introduced by the Morrison government. The

Lucky ticket winner nabs cool $40m 2019-08-06 13:02:32Take a close look at your Oz Lotto tickets, because one lucky person has won the $40 million jackpot.

NT News and Galleries | NT

West Australian raider Ihtsahymn has won the Darwin 2019-08-06 13:01:05West Australian raider Ihtsahymn has won the Darwin Cup. The gallant grey stormed home to beat Lotion in the last 100m. Video: Sky Racing

Darwin Cup Carnival 2019-08-06 13:01:05Thousands attended the Great Northern Darwin Cup Carnival.

Launching a boat Territory style 2019-08-06 13:01:05David Bateson caught on camera the gutsy attempt of a group of five people launching a boat at low tide.

The new Palmerston Police Station 2019-08-06 13:01:05The new Palmerston Police Station will open next month Video: Glenn Campbell

Rural home shot at 2019-08-06 13:01:05The Longstaffs are frustrated that no one has been held accountable after a shot was fired and hit their home. Video: Glenn Campbell

Casino bashing 2019-08-06 13:01:05Police believe the people in the CCTV footage may be able to assist them with their inquiries.

Vote: Which bub is the Territory’s most charming 2019-08-06 13:01:05WHEN the NT News put out a call for the Territory’s cutest bub we were not prepared for the overwhelming response.

Reflecting on July 2019-08-06 13:01:05Bureau of Meteorology Senior Meteorologist Nicholas Loveday reflects on July's weather.

Live broadcast: NT News to stream 10 Strike 2019-08-06 13:01:05THE Ashes have started but that’s not the only top level cricket Northern Territory fans of the sport can watch on screen this weekend.

NSW Bloke takes dip at Shady Camp 2019-08-06 13:01:05Beau Bromley went for a dip at Shady Camp, which is a popular place for saltwater crocodiles.

ABC Radio Australia Pacific

UN votes for better cooperation with PIF but 2019-08-05 16:00:00With a week to go until the annual Pacific Islands Forum meeting, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution on enhancing the UN's cooperation

Better vigilance needed to help identify PNG and 2019-08-05 16:00:00Australian researchers are calling for greater vigilance along the border between Australia's far north and Papua New Guinea to prevent the spread of

Accusations of racial discrimination follow 'expatriates only' rental 2019-08-05 16:00:00A rental listing for an apartment in the PNG capital has sparked accusations of racial discrimination within the real estate industry in Port Moresby.

Australian shipbuilder "definitely" has Papua New Guinea on 2019-08-05 16:00:00Prime Minister Marape's invitation to Australian ship builder Austal to consider setting up a business in PNG is being given serious consideration. A

Pacific Beat: Tuesday 2019-08-05 16:00:00On the program: Why China and Indonesia are among a handful of countries to abstain in a vote at the UN General Assembly about its cooperation with th

Questions remain as Samoan nurses jailed over infant 2019-08-04 16:00:00Questions remain over the state of Samoa's health system after two senior nurses were sent to jail, found guilty of the manslaughter of two babies wh

PNG's Mt Ulawun volcano erupts for second time 2019-08-04 16:00:00The Mount Ulawun volcano in Papua New Guinea erupted again on the weekend — its second major explosion in just over a month, with reports ash wa

Pacific Beat: Monday 2019-08-04 16:00:00On the program: As PNG and Australia agree to work on a timeline for ending offshore detention, asylum seekers head back to the courts this week, and

Concerns over mental health of Fiji's private military 2019-08-01 16:00:00The UN's International Labour Organisation says more must be done to address the harmful psychological impacts that are being experienced by Fiji's

Fiji government accused of 'turning blind eye' to 2019-08-01 16:00:00Fiji's opposition leader accuses the government of "turning a blind eye" to allegations of forced labour, torture and illegal detention happening i

Pacific Beat: Friday 2019-08-01 16:00:00On the program: There are growing calls for Fiji authorities to act immediately in the case of Grace Roads, a South Korean church that many claim to b

WHO reports progress in anti-tobacco policy in 2019-08-01 16:00:00The World Health Organization has praised seven Pacific countries for making progress in strengthening anti-tobacco legislation but some countries are

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.