A 9-year-old Belgian boy is about to receive a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Laurent Simons is gearing up to graduate from the Eindhoven University of Technology in December and already has his eyes set on a Ph.D.
In an interview with CNN, Laurent's parents credited the boy's grandparents with noting that the child could process and retain information very quickly.
"They noticed something very special about Laurent," Lydia Simons said.
Laurent tested his way out of school and into an undergraduate program, where he quickly did as well at collegiate level.
Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. "They told us he is like a sponge," father Alexander Simons said.
The education director of the Eindhoven University of Technology's electrical engineering program said it's not unusual for a student to accelerate their courses, but noted Laurent was no typical college student.
"That is not unusual.... Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport," Sjoerd Hulshof said. "Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here.... Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy."
The Simons family said they try to stress to Laurent that he doesn't need to rush or strain himself.
"We don't want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes," said Alexander. "We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents."
Laurent hopes to get his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and study for a degree in medicine, according to his father. Laurent said he hopes to combine the two pursuits into working on artificial organs.