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Nine-Year-Old Child Prodigy Leaves Bachelor Degree Program, Plans To Earn Ph.D. in United States

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A child genius from Belgium by the name of Laurent Simons recently made headlines after it was revealed he would receive a bachelor’s degree at only nine years old. After some disputes with his university over his graduation date, the young boy has his eyes on something bigger: a doctorate at university in the United States.

Making Headlines

Laurent impressed the world with his smarts as he studied at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) in the Netherlands. The nine-year-old was studying electrical engineering and his intelligence was described by staff as “simply extraordinary.” Laurent quickly soaked up the challenging material.

Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, said in a statement: “Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said to CNN. “Not only is he hyper-intelligent but [he is] also a very sympathetic boy.” The boy’s incredible intelligence and progress on his degree has caught the attention of universities around the globe, who have been steadily trying to recruit him as he and his family plan his academic pursuits for a Ph.D. “The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father, Alexander Simons. “I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

University Disputes

Unfortunately, due to disputes between the Simons family and TUE, Laurent has ended his studies at the university. From the beginning of Laurent’s time at TUE, the family was adamant that Laurent completed his bachelor’s degree at the age of 9. That meant completing the degree within ten months, though studies for a degree at the university typically last three years. However, TUE recently recommended that Laurent finish his studies by mid-2020 rather than the end of December as planned. The decision was due to the number of exams the young boy still needed to complete.

The Simons family rejected the university’s idea and will move Laurent to another university. His father suggested that the university’s idea to delay Laurent’s graduation date is because of the family’s decision to go to another university for Laurent’s Ph.D. However, the university disagreed. “We never try to keep our students to ourselves. It would never be a motivation to frustrate somebody,” Ivo Jongsma, a spokesman for TUE, told CNN. “His supervisors enjoyed working with him, not only because of his enormous talent but also because he is a very kindhearted and inquisitive boy. The door is therefore still open for him to resume the study as long as the conditions remain realistic.”

A New Challenge

The Simons family ultimately decided Laurent would leave TUE because he has a new opportunity ahead. The boy has received an offer to study for a doctorate at a university in the United States. He simply wouldn’t be able to split time between TUE and this new institution. “Sometimes you have to make choices,” Alexander said about the decision. “If he lets it go, you never know if he will get that opportunity again.”
The family has not revealed where Laurent will be studying in the United States or when he will officially start. However, the child prodigy will work on his doctorate in electrical engineering and plans to dive into a little bit of study on medicine as well. Ultimately, Laurent would like to develop artificial organs. However, his parents still want the boy to have a normal life. “We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.” In addition to his studies, Laurent enjoys having fun with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like a normal kid.

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