While most of us struggle to mentally solve a simple math calculation, child prodigy Laurent Simons, aged 9, is choosing between prestigious universities to pursue his Ph.D.
Child prodigy Laurent Simons from Belgium is all set to earn his first undergraduate degree - at just nine years old. The young boy is currently completing a degree in electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE), which can be a tough course for just about anyone to do, even at the recommended age. He's been described by teaching staff who have taught him as "simply extraordinary" and will graduate from university in December of this year, CNN reports. Meanwhile, some of us still struggle with pushing a door that's clearly been marked "pull."
Once he has gained his undergraduate degree, Laurent hopes to pursue a Ph.D. program in electrical engineering while simultaneously completing a medicine degree, his father Alexander Simons revealed. Now, that's quite the ambition. At nine years old, most of us were just wondering when our favorite cartoon would air on television, some of us just figuring how to tell time on an analog clock. His father and mother, Lydia Simons, never expected their little boy to achieve so much at such a young age. Allegedly, when Laurent's grandparents told his parents that he had a gift, they weren't ready to believe them. However, his teachers soon said the same thing, causing the Simons to reconsider their parents' statements.
Lydia revealed in an interview with CNN, "They noticed something very special about Laurent... They told us he is like a sponge." His teachers, stunned by his capabilities, would make him repeatedly take tests to understand the extent of his not-so-hidden talents. Some believe that his intelligence comes from his genes; Laurent does, after all, come from a family of doctors. Nonetheless, his parents are yet to receive a proper explanation as to why their son is able to learn so much, so quickly. His mother joked, "I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy." Given his extraordinary skills, the TUE has given the nine-year-old permission to complete his engineering course faster than other students typically would.
Sjoerd Hulshof, the education director of the TUE bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, confirmed that it was not out of the ordinary to do so. He stated, "That is not unusual. Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport." He added that Laurent was "simply extraordinary." "Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here," he shared. "Not only is he hyper-intelligent but [he is] also a very sympathetic boy."
His father, too, was full of praise for his son. Alexander said, "The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent." He also shared details about what Laurent's future looks like. "I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things..." He said. "[But] we don't want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes. We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents." Of course, the child genius' talents have not gone unnoticed by prestigious universities around the world, some of which have already sought him out. His parents remained tight-lipped, though, choosing not to reveal which university their son is considering for his Ph.D. Meanwhile, just like anyone his age, Laurent enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and on his phone.