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Britain’s Top Child Genius Now Orthodox Mother of Four in Jerusalem

Ruth Lawrence, whose Oxford professor predicted she would be an English Einstein when she joined the math department aged 10, is now a happily married Orthodox Jewish mother of four in Jerusalem.

Lawrence, once the youngest person to win a place at Oxford — and now 44, teaches physicists at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, according to reports last week from Britain’s Daily Mail.

The newspaper tracked her down as a follow up to the success of “Child Genius,” a British television show trying to find the next celebrity prodigy.

Professor and Mother: The caption reads (right to left), ‘Lawrence-Neimark, Ruth.’ Image by Hebrew University

Lawrence grew up in Huddersfield with her father, Harry Lawrence. When she moved to Oxford aged 10, they went together as they did when she moved to Michigan aged 22. In America she met Israeli mathematician Ariyeh Neimark, and in 1997 she moved to Israel to be with him. The following year she married Neimark, who is only six years younger than her father.

Harry Lawrence is ethnically Jewish but does not observe the religion. In 1981, when Ruth became a celebrity as the youngest person to win entry to Oxford (she came top in the admissions examination), media coverage barely mentioned her Jewishness. Now that she is, by all accounts, a happy mother and professor who has become an observant Jew, the British media seem to view her life as a failure.

But her father is quoted as disputing that to the Daily Mail.

Girls grow up and they become women. They marry and have children. This is all natural and normal.

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