A 9-year-old child prodigy is well on his way to becoming the world’s youngest university graduate.
Laurent Simons intends to graduate from the electrical engineering program at Eindhoven University of Technology in December. The Belgian boy has been described as “simply extraordinary” by staff.
The program is said to be hard even for average-aged students, making Simons’ feat all the more impressive. He has an IQ of around 145, according to the New Straits Times.
His father, Alexander Simons, told CNN his son plans to go after a PhD in the same field of study while also working toward a degree in medicine.
Laurent finished high school by age eight, completing it in its entirety in only 18 months.
It was the child’s grandparents and teachers who first took note of his intellectual ability. He began school at the typical age of four, but progressed through five years of study in just 12 months.
“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” mom Lydia Simons told CNN.
“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” Alexander added.
Despite his parents not being the first to notice his genius, Lydia still takes some credit for it.
“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.
According to the director of the university’s bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Laurent has quickly become their fastest-progressing student ever.
“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,” Sjoerd Hulshok said in a statement to the publication.
“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he added. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”
It’s almost crunch time to make a decision about where Laurent will be off to next. He has hopes, he told The Telegraph, of becoming an astronaut or heart surgeon.
His parents want to relocate to the U.K. so he can study at one of its top universities.
“Oxford and Cambridge are also in the major league and it would be very much more convenient for us,” his dad, 37, said. “Laurent’s aim is to do a PhD into life extension by carrying out research into artificial organs and robotics. It would be great if he could study in the U.K.”
While Laurent clearly has his own ambition, his motivations for a move are a little different.
“I really want to go to California,” he said. “The weather is nice there.”
Laurent’s Instagram account boasts 13,000 followers and counting, and shows followers a glimpse into his life as a kid. He’s shared photos of playing with his dog, Joe, swimming and travelling with his grandparents.
Michael Kearney currently holds the title for youngest graduate after receiving a degree from the University of Alabama at the age of 10.