NETHERLANDS: As he cradles his young puppy in his arms, Laurent Simons looks much like any other 9-year-old boy. Then he starts describing his work at a university in the Netherlands, developing a computer circuit that will replicate a part of the brain.
âWhat we are doing is placing neurons and making connections to see what the reaction is to medication in a part of the brain,â he says of the brain-on-chip project, which combines the biomedical and electrical engineering fields.
With an IQ of 145, the Belgian boy wonder is on track to become the worldâs youngest university graduate when he completes a bachelorâs degree in electrical engineering at Eindhovenâs University of Technology next month.
|Nine-year-old Belgian student Laurent Simons while studying in a laboratory at the University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday (11/20/2019).Â After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, Laurent plans to continue his studies to a higher level.Â Laurent will study to get a PhD while studying medicine
âIâm planning to start my PhD and study a little medicine, but before that vacation,â he said of his post-graduation plans, as 9-week-old puppy Sammy dozed in his mother Lydiaâs arms.
After completing high school in roughly a year, Laurent – born in Belgium but now living in the Netherlands – started university and is set to finish the three-year bachelorâs program in just nine months.
âEvery professor is really enthusiastic about having Laurent and for us itâs a unique situation of course because heâs the youngest student weâve ever had,â said program director Sjoerd Hulshof.
âThe speed of his mind – we cannot imagine what is happening in his head. Heâs maybe three times smarter than the smartest student weâve ever had.â
Currently the youngest person to obtain a college degree is American Michael Kearney, who achieved the feat in June 1994 at the age of 10 years 4 months, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
When heâs not at the university, Laurent says he walks the dog, plays video games Minecraft and Fortnite or posts pictures on Instagram.
Inspired by Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, he plans to research artificial organs, and ultimately develop an entire artificial body in his own laboratory. âMy grandparents are heart patients,â he explained of the choice.
Offers are flooding in from universities around the world and Laurentâs parents are helping him weigh the options, with the U.S. west coast currently a favorite destination.
His father, Alexander, doesnât dare predict Laurentâs future because he has smashed every expectation so far – but stressed there was no hurry.
âWhat heâs doing now is playing with education, just playing around,â he said. âAnd thatâs fine with us.â