Outside of school, Laurent Simons is your typical 9-year-old child. The Belgian boy plays video games like Fortnite and Minecraft, spends time on social media, and loves to travel. But when it comes to studying, he puts students a decade his seniors to shame, graduating from university at age nine.
If all goes well and Laurent Simons completes his final project at Eindhoven University of Technology, in the Netherlands, he will graduate with a degree in electrical engineering in December. Most people take three years to graduate from the very same program, but Laurent entered just last year, and he is set to complete in just 10 months. That’s thanks to his superior intellect and his remarkable capacity to take in lots of information in very little time, which allows professors to go through the curriculum at a much faster pace.
“It’s been quite special and enjoyable,” Peter Baltus, a professor of integrated electronics, said about working with his youngest ever student. “Laurent’s absorption capacity is very high, which means that everything goes much faster, and we can cover a lot more material in a short span of time.”
Laurent’s parents recall his grandparents telling them that he was special from a very young age, but they didn’t pay much attention to their observations at first. But then he started primary school when he was four, and at six-year-old he was already in high-school. Then he started university and professors there couldn’t stop talking about how impressive their son was. So yes, now they realize that their son is pretty special.
The 9-year-old “child genius” says he wants to study medicine after he graduates in December, and start working on artificial organs. That’s definitely a field that many experts claim has the potential to change medicine as we know it today, but Laurent Simons’ reasons are personal. The grandparents he grew up with suffer from heart conditions, and he wants to help people like them.
Although his parents claim that outside of his studies, Laurent is a regular child, with regular hobbies (video games, watching Netflix and travelling), they have been accused of turning him into a mini-celebrity by making him available for interviews and news specials. They also manage his social media profiles, which some have argued is very adult-oriented. There are those who claim that by rushing the boy’s education, his parents have robbed him of his childhood. However, the boy’s father has hit back at critics, saying that everything his son has achieved hasn’t been imposed on him, but rather it’s “who he is”.