At the age of 11, a little boy graduated from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, making him the world’s second-youngest university graduate.
Laurent Simons, a Belgian from Ostend, earned his Physics degree in just one year, when most Belgian degrees take at least three years to complete. He miraculously received an 85 percent, placing him at the top of his class.
Laurent might have earned a bachelor’s degree and credits at the University of Eindhoven had the school not prevented him from graduating. His father said that Eindhoven University had denied his kid the opportunity to complete the course because they believed it would reflect poorly on the university if a 10-year-old could complete it.
Laurent outlined his future plans in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, saying:
“I want to be able to replace as many bodily parts as possible with mechanical components, and I’ve laid out a road to get there, which you can think of as a large jigsaw, with quantum physics—the study of the tiniest particles—as the initial piece.”
He said: “In such a research, two things are crucial: obtaining information and applying that knowledge. To attain the second, I want to collaborate with the world’s greatest professors, peer inside their heads, and learn how they think.”
Laurent’s family has always been quite supportive of him, and his activities have been chronicled on Instagram and other social media platforms. Laurent has received much acclaim as a result of this, as well as criticism that his parents are subjecting him to too much pressure and notoriety at such a young age.
Michael Kearney, who graduated from the University of South Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology in 1994 at the age of ten, was the world’s youngest university graduate.
Laurent will begin his Master’s program the following year.