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Belgian boy on track to become world's youngest university graduate

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Belgian boy on track to become world's youngest university graduate

 

2019-11-21T135547Z_1_LYNXMPEFAK15U_RTROPTP_4_NETHERLANDS-PRODIGY.JPG

Nine-year-old Belgian student Laurent Simons, who studies electrical engineering and who will soon become the youngest university graduate in the world, poses at the University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 20, 2019. Picture taken November 20, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

 

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (Reuters) - As he cradles his young puppy in his arms, Laurent Simons looks much like any other 9-year-old boy. Then he starts describing his work at a university in the Netherlands, developing a computer circuit that will replicate a part of the brain.

 

"What we are doing is placing neurons and making connections to see what the reaction is to medication in a part of the brain," he says of the brain-on-chip project, which combines the biomedical and electrical engineering fields.

 

With an IQ of 145, the Belgian boy wonder is on track to become the world's youngest university graduate when he completes a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Eindhoven's University of Technology next month.

 

"I'm planning to start my PhD and study a little medicine, but before that vacation," he said of his post-graduation plans, as 9-week-old puppy Sammy dozed in his mother Lydia's arms.

 

After completing high school in roughly a year, Laurent - born in Belgium but now living in the Netherlands - started university and is set to finish the three-year bachelor's programme in just nine months.

 

"Every professor is really enthusiastic about having Laurent and for us it's a unique situation of course because he's the youngest student we've ever had," said programme director Sjoerd Hulshof.

 

"The speed of his mind - we cannot imagine what is happening in his head. He's maybe three times smarter than the smartest student we've ever had."

 

Currently the youngest person to obtain a college degree is American Michael Kearney, who achieved the feat in June 1994 at the age of 10 years 4 months, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

When he's not at the university, Laurent says he walks the dog, plays video games Minecraft and Fortnite or posts pictures on Instagram.

 

Inspired by Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, he plans to research artificial organs, and ultimately develop an entire artificial body in his own laboratory. "My grandparents are heart patients," he explained of the choice.

 

Offers are flooding in from universities around the world and Laurent's parents are helping him weigh the options, with the U.S. west coast currently a favourite destination.

 

His father, Alexander, doesn't dare predict Laurent's future because he has smashed every expectation so far - but stressed there was no hurry.

 

"What he's doing now is playing with education, just playing around," he said. "And that's fine with us."

 

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Alex Richardson)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-11-22
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15 minutes ago, Somtamnication said:

I hope his parents allow him to be a child and enjoy his youth. Amazing boy.

I had the same thought.

He is still a 9 year old boy - even if he is super smart.

Does he play with other children in the same age group? 

Does he grow up and develop social skills together with other kids?

It's hard to imagine that he will grow up without some major mental issues...

All the best!

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2 hours ago, Credo said:

There's no reason to believe he should have any more mental issues than anyone else.   Intelligence and mental illness are not closely related.   He will not have a 'normal' childhood, or adulthood for that matter, as we would define it.   

 

Hopefully you are right - I have my doubts.

I imagine when the 15 year old boy, by that time with PhD, will ask a 15 year old girl out. Maybe he will be aware that talking about rocket science wouldn't make sense. But what should he talk with her about? Or should he date a smart 30 year old PhD?

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We can  wonder what is his future , such brain at 9 years old, is it good or bad ? 

I would be interested to know what has happened to the 10 years old American guy who is now 34 years old 

it could be a good reference to know  how are these people when they are adults ; maybe just "normal " now 

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13 minutes ago, Aforek said:

We can  wonder what is his future , such brain at 9 years old, is it good or bad ? 

I would be interested to know what has happened to the 10 years old American guy who is now 34 years old 

it could be a good reference to know  how are these people when they are adults ; maybe just "normal " now 

This article indicates a mix of outcomes, but mostly positive, for those 'blessed' with high intelligence levels. 

 

https://www.teachthought.com/education/the-10-youngest-college-students-of-all-time/

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1 hour ago, OneMoreFarang said:

Hopefully you are right - I have my doubts.

I imagine when the 15 year old boy, by that time with PhD, will ask a 15 year old girl out. Maybe he will be aware that talking about rocket science wouldn't make sense. But what should he talk with her about? Or should he date a smart 30 year old PhD?

why not? at least they would have something in common.

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I recall a boy at my school in Scotland that was very gifted in Mathematics. He was fast-tracked and passed all his exams with high grades and ended up being accepted by Oxford University when he was 14 years old.

 

Never found out how he progressed thereafter but did think, at the time, that even that age was possibly too young to be able to easily cope with the non academic side of university life.  

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5 hours ago, OneMoreFarang said:

Does he grow up and develop social skills together with other kids?

 

 

Of course not.

 

He's an ordinary 9 year old, from a highly developed Western country, in 2019, who:

 

"..............plays video games Minecraft and Fortnite or posts pictures on Instagram."

 

 

1 hour ago, OneMoreFarang said:

Hopefully you are right - I have my doubts.

I imagine when the 15 year old boy, by that time with PhD, will ask a 15 year old girl out.

 

Do they still do that?

 

I thought they tended to "hang out", rather than "ask out", and maybe do a bit of "stuff" if they feel like it.

 

He'll probably meet another "whizz kid", at a convention for gifted youth, and together they will abstract/create a formula for further experimentation.

 

 

 

Edited by Enoon
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4 hours ago, dabhand said:

This article indicates a mix of outcomes, but mostly positive, for those 'blessed' with high intelligence levels. 

 

https://www.teachthought.com/education/the-10-youngest-college-students-of-all-time/

Thanks for the link, I just read the article.

It's full of stories about their success in their studies and knowledge.

But it does not contain a single line about their private lives. Maybe they just didn't mention that and all is wonderful - but maybe not...

 

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22 hours ago, OneMoreFarang said:

Thanks for the link, I just read the article.

It's full of stories about their success in their studies and knowledge.

But it does not contain a single line about their private lives. Maybe they just didn't mention that and all is wonderful - but maybe not...

 

Like for us dummies all is wonderful.

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On 11/21/2019 at 8:12 PM, OneMoreFarang said:

Hopefully you are right - I have my doubts.

I imagine when the 15 year old boy, by that time with PhD, will ask a 15 year old girl out. Maybe he will be aware that talking about rocket science wouldn't make sense. But what should he talk with her about? Or should he date a smart 30 year old PhD?

If he is anything like most 15 year old boys physically, he will not be interested in talking to her at all!   

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