11-year-old boy earns physics degree at Antwerp University

11-year-old boy earns physics degree at Antwerp University
Credit: Alexander Simons

An 11-year-old boy has obtained a bachelor's degree in physics at the University of Antwerp, after successfully completing a three-year course in one year, whilst also taking master's courses on the side.

The young graduate, Laurent Simons, from Oostende on the Flemish coast, outperformed other students by getting the highest distinction possible.

"Simons has been studying for his bachelor's degree in physics since March 2020, and he now graduated with 85%, which is the highest distinction," said an Antwerp University spokesperson.

"This year, he also took some courses from the master's programme. After the summer, he will officially start his master's degree," the spokesperson said.

Simons said he put all other work on hold to take courses on classical mechanics and quantum physics, as he "wanted to know everything about these subjects right away."

"Immortality, that is my goal. I want to be able to replace as many body parts as possible with mechanical parts. I have mapped out a path to get there. Quantum physics - the study of the smallest particles - is the first piece of the puzzle," he said.

"Two things are important in such a study: acquiring knowledge and applying that knowledge. To achieve the second, I want to work with the best professors in the world, look inside their brains and find out how they think," Simons added.

The "child prodigy" previously studied at UGent and TU Eindhoven, where he already obtained credits, meaning he could obtain his bachelor's degree with a shorter programme at Antwerp University.

Simons first studied at TU Eindhoven when he was nine years old, and would have been the youngest person ever to obtain a diploma in higher education, however, he left due to disagreements with the Dutch university before graduating.

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