The title was previously held by Michael Kearney, who completed his degree from the University of Alabama at the age of 10.
A 9-year-old boy from Belgium is about to obtain a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, which is often regarded as a difficult course even for an average adult.
Laurent Simons, who has an IQ of at least 145, is currently studying the said course at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE). This has sparked competition among the world’s top universities to get the genius boy to do his post-graduate.
"I really want to go to California, the weather is nice there," said Laurent, a resident of Amsterdam. Described as "simply extraordinary" by the staff, the wonder boy is on his way to complete his degree in December.
Parents Lydia and Alexander Simons thought Laurent's grandparents were simply exaggerating about his exceptional gifts until his teachers were of the same opinion. "They noticed something very special about Laurent," said Lydia.
Attempting to test the child's intelligence, his teachers gave him test after test and when the results arrived they were astounded. "They told us he is like a sponge," recalled Alexander. Gifted with a photogenic memory, his parents still can't explain how their son is capable of grasping everything so quickly. However, Lydia had a theory of her own. "I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy," she joked.
9 year old boy from Belgium, Laurent Simons to graduate with an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering next month. pic.twitter.com/L5fM46mNzK— SKY 106.1 FM (@SKY1061FM1) 15 November 2019
Speaking to CNN, Alexander said that Laurent plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, while simultaneously studying for a degree in medicine. Coming from a family of doctors, the child prodigy was allowed to complete his course faster than other students by TUE.
The education director of the TUE bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, Sjoerd Hulshof 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."
Describing Laurent as "simply extraordinary," Hulshof said, "Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here. Not only is he hyper-intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy."
During an interview with the outlet, Laurent expressed that electrical engineering was his favorite subject, however, he is "going to study a bit of medicine." Furthermore, his father said, "The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent. I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things."
9-year-old Laurent Simons graduating from universityhttps://t.co/OagpS4bacN— Gadea (@Gadea) 15 November 2019
Laurent Simons 9, from Amsterdam,
has been offered Masters and PhDs
Although Laurent's ability to learn everything swiftly is amazing, his parents are careful to provide him enough time to have fun and not be strained by the burden of studies. "We don't want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes," said his father, Alexander.
"We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents." Laurent, who finished his secondary school at the age of eight, is on his way to becoming the world's youngest graduate by taking the title previously held by Michael Kearney, who completed his degree from the University of Alabama at the age of 10, reports Daily Mail.
“Laurent Simons started high school at age six and got his diploma at seven. Now, only nine months after starting school at Eindhoven University, Simons is set to receive his degree in electrical engineering”— 🦀Eagle🦅 (@Deesive_Baby) 14 November 2019
9 years old about to earn a bachelors pic.twitter.com/Or6Uq21fPR
Laurent shared his hopes of traveling to California to continue his studies as per The Telegraph. Although Alexander, a dentist by profession is keen on moving to the UK to consider other options. "Oxford and Cambridge are also in the major league and it would be very much more convenient for us," said the 37-year-old.
"Laurent's aim is to do a Ph.D. into life extension, by carrying out research into artificial organs and robotics. It would be great if he could study in the UK." John Wilkes, a Dean of Academics at the American University in Switzerland, who was Laurent's teacher during the summer courses advised the child to study at Oxford University.
"I taught him when he was six and we studied at the level of a 16-year-old. I really would recommend Oxford for him. He would develop somewhere the environment is about learning rather than being taught. For someone like Laurent that is ideal."