Having high-achieving siblings can be tough. Every family gathering turns into a fight for which the child is more successful or smarter than whom and before you know it you are boxing your sister in the kitchen about whether Mahla was more influential than Pythagoras. Okay, glad you didn’t have to invite Laurent Simons to Thanksgiving this year. This Dutch-Belgian Wonderkind has not only completed a bachelor’s degree in physics, but he has usually done so within half a period of taking it and is still able to achieve the highest grade in his class.
“I find it flattering that people compare me to Einstein,” Simons told The Telegraph. “But I think everyone is unique. Einstein is only Einstein and I, Laurent, only Laurent. As if that wasn’t insulting enough, it wasn’t even Simon’s first attempt at college. After finishing high school at the age of eight, he was originally admitted to the University of Idahoven in 2018 but resigned when college officials denied his schedule. He then took some courses at Ghent University before eventually transferring to the University of Antwerp, where he graduated this month.
Although it was the youngest college graduate to miss out on this distinction – the difference remains with the 94 student Michael Carney’s University of South Alabama class who earned a degree in anthropology at the age of ten – Simons is not really. “I don’t really care if I’m really young,” he told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraph. It is a matter of gaining knowledge for me.”
With the diploma in hand, Simon’s next step is to formally start and complete his undergraduate degree, a spokesman for the University of Interwerp told The Brussels Times. Then the goal is Ph.D. “In addition to his home country of Belgium, he will study in the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom,” said Alexander, Simmons’ father. “The best universities in the world are located [in the UK] so [it] should be on the list.” And, at an age where most of us hope to get rid of adolescents, Simons has big plans.