February 09, 1976 12:00 PM

Michael Freed was upset when he earned the title of Life Master in contract bridge three weeks after his 15th birthday. “I was trying so hard to get it while I was still 14,” he recalls. “For a while after I felt kind of frustrated, but it’s okay now.” Even with that fluffed bid, Freed became the youngest player ever to win the title. A bridge player since the age of 10, Michael’s potential was spotted by his dad, a Los Angeles doctor and a Life Master who didn’t earn the title until he was 42. Dr. Freed started his son on bidding lessons, and together they made the tournament rounds in California, New York and Hawaii. A sophomore at Beverly Hills High, Michael plays bridge three times a week during the school year and stretches it to five times a week during the summer. A high point of his bridge career was playing the former world champion Dallas Aces team. “We lost by a lot, but we played well,” he boasts. Noting that professional bridge is not a particularly lucrative sport, Michael is playing his future close to the chest. “I want to be a doctor—maybe. Or go into trading stocks and commodities.”

Caryn Johnson was 12 when she decided to change the spelling of her first name from “Karen.” It must have been in the stars because two years later, while working as a part-time aide at the Harvard College Observatory, she discovered an extra star next to RY Carinae in the constellation Carina. Excited about finding the star, she was “even more thrilled that the name was so close to my own.” Her discovery was presented to an astronomers’ conference last June and written up in the Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, with Caryn sharing the byline on the paper. Now 15, she has yet to see “her star” through a telescope (she worked with photographic plates) because, she explains, it is located in the Southern Hemisphere and is very dim, even on clear nights. The constellation itself, along with three others, makes up the ship Argo in the Milky Way. Caryn is currently on a seven-month world tour with her family—her father is on sabbatical from MIT, where he teaches political science. A stop she looks forward to is Egypt, which has a better view of Carina. “There’s a large telescope in Cairo. I’d like to see the thing I’ve worked on so long.”

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