Sun, 09 Aug 2020

9-Year-Old Belgium Boy to Join PhD Program in US

Voice of America
11 Dec 2019, 16:05 GMT+10

A child prodigy from Belgium will enroll in a doctoral program in a U.S. university after his parents pulled him out of his Dutch college.

Laurent Simons, 9, will attend an unnamed U.S. college and study for a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, his parents told CNN Tuesday.

Simons was studying at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE). His parents wanted him to finish the three-year engineering program in 10 months, before his birthday on Dec. 26, so he could be the world's first 9-year-old university graduate.

His parents rejected a TUE offer to let him graduate in mid-2020.

TUE said in a statement that it would not be feasible for Simons to complete the course before turning 10, while also developing "insight, creativity and critical analysis."

It also warned against placing "excessive pressure on this 9-year-old student" who, it said, had "unprecedented talent."

Alexander Simons, Laurent's father, told CNN he and his wife withdrew their son from TUE because he had received an offer from an American school, and it would be impossible for him to split his time between the two schools.

"Sometimes, you have to make choices," Alexander Simons told CNN. "If he lets it go, you never know if he will get that opportunity again."

Had Laurent Simons graduated before his birthday, he would have unseated Michael Kearney, who graduated from the University of Alabama in 1984 at the age of 10.

Kearney became the world's youngest college graduate, a mark recognized by the Guinness World Records.

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