Meet Ben Carson, the Gifted Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Rising Right-Wing Star

This morning, Ben Carson spoke at the CPAC conference, a day after a panel on 'the race card' failed spectacularly, with some audience members defending slavery. Carson is a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins and a conservative who gently criticized Obama's healthcare policies while speaking in front of him at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. Since then, he has become a sensation among conservative bloggers and today at CPAC, announced his intention to leave behind medicine to focus on education initiatives, and possibly a future in politics.

But who is Ben Carson? Born to a single mother in Detroit, Carson graduated from Yale before becoming the youngest-ever major division director in Johns Hopkins history, when he was just 33. A devout Seventh-Day Adventist, Carson has performed groundbreaking procedures on conjoined twins, and at his peak, participated in over 450 surgeries a year. Cuba Gooding Jr. portrayed him in a TNT film.

Carson's religious beliefs dictate a lot of his politics, including a belief in a flat tax (based on the biblical "tithe" system) and his opposition to abortion (he has favorably compared the pro-life movement to the abolitionists). He once went head to head with Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett on his belief in creationism.

This morning, he asked audience members at CPAC, "When did we reach a point where you had to have a certain philosophy because of your skin color?" He then half-joked about a possible presidential run, "What if you magically put me in the White House?," leaving the door open for a run at the 2016 Republican nomination.