William Maillis is literally a “genius.” By the time he was only 7 months old, he was already speaking in full sentences. Just before his second birthday, he was adding numbers, and by age 2, he was multiplying them. Now, Maillis is 11 years old, and he enrolled in Carnegie Mellon University last fall with his sights set on becoming an astrophysicist.
Yet, Maillis is more than just a child prodigy; as the son of a Greek preacher, Peter Maillis, he’s also a person of great faith. The young scholar is on a self-determined mission rooted deeply in his belief: to use science to prove that God exists. No less.
With all of his remarkable achievements, young Maillis’s “genius” title was made official when Joanne Ruthsatz, a psychologist at Ohio State University, declared it. He graduated from high school at age 9 and more recently became the youngest graduate of St. Petersburg College in July of 2018.
Nor is the young man from Pennsylvania afraid of challenging established ideas. Maillis claims that he can prove both Einstein and Stephen Hawking wrong when it comes to the topic of the universe’s origin, saying that he disagrees with some of their discoveries. In particular, he disagrees with the idea that there is no God—scientists such as Hawking have declared themselves atheists.
To drive home the point, Hawking once wrote the following:
Before we understood science, it was natural to believe that God created the universe, but now science offers a more convincing explanation. What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is we would know everything that God would know if there was a God, but there isn’t. I’m an atheist.
Yet, according to Maillis, it is more logical to say that there is a god than not. He hopes to prove that only an “outside force” could have created the universe, and thus that “God does exist.” Using simple logic, he outlines his general idea:
Well, because there’s these atheists that try to say that there is no God, when in reality it takes more faith to believe that there’s no God than it does to believe that there is a God … Because it makes more sense that something created the universe than that the universe created itself. It takes more faith to say the universe created itself than to say something other created the universe because that is more logical.
In an interview with the Hellenic College Holy Cross, he spelled out his (more logical) conclusion in greater detail:
We know the universe has an age, right? 13.8 billion years. So, 13.8 billion years ago, the entire universe was reduced to a singularity, a particle smaller than a quark. However, if gravity is always working, i.e.: if you jumped off this building, you’re not going to fall 15 seconds later, you’re going to fall immediately, so, if gravity was always working, and the singularity was always there […] then the universe should have no age, it should be infinitely old. But it’s not, it’s 13.8 billion years old. And something can’t come from nothing, because it would have to exist in order to cause itself to exist, which is illogical. So, therefore, something other must have created the singularity, and that something other me observe as God.
While surely many of his peers are spending their school days shooting paper wads in class or waiting for the home-time bell to ring, Maillis ponders the larger questions of life and the universe. He explains during a question-and-answer period that after he “proves the existence of God” he wants to continue exploring further. “There’s so much we don’t know,” he says, adding with a smile that “there’s even more things that we don’t know we don’t know!”
Watch the enlightening interview in its entirety: