Laurent Simons took a year to complete his undergraduate degree in Quantum Physics after he dropped out from Eindhoven University in 2019. Simons, who’s only 11, says he wants to use his extraordinary abilities to make humans immortal.
Simons, who hails from the Belgian city of Ostend, entered school at the age of 4, and finished elementary school at the age of six, before most kids even start. He enrolled at a private high school in Amsterdam, but it wasn’t smooth sailing — he complained that other students were learning too slowly, while the other students complained that Simons was a know-it-all. So he then moved to a grammar school in the Belgian city of Brugge, which organized one-on-one lessons for him.
From a young age, Simons appeared to have the ability to instantly memorize everything he read. After attending several special courses for gifted people, he enrolled in Eindhoven University, in a course in electrical engineering. However, much to his parents’ disappointment, who were hoping he would become the first university graduate under 10, Eindhoven University rejected this possibility. The university argued there were too many exams he couldn’t take, so he dropped out of that university and enrolled in the University of Antwerp, in a quantum physics course.
Now, Simons, 11, is already a graduate with distinction — and he has big plans for the future.
“I don’t really care if I’m the youngest […] it’s all about getting knowledge for me,” said Simons in a report from the Dutch newspaper De Telegraf. “This is the first puzzle piece in my goal of replacing body parts with mechanical parts. Immortality is my goal. I want to be able to replace as many body parts as possible with mechanical parts. I’ve mapped out a path to get there. You can see it as a big puzzle. Quantum physics — the study of the smallest particles — is the first piece of the puzzle.”
Until that happens, Simons needs to learn a few more things — and he’s already started. He took a few courses from a master’s degree already and is enrolling in a special, international, tailor-made master’s course in Antwerp, in cooperation with universities from Israel, Great Britain, and the USA.
It’s still early days for Simons, and child prodigies don’t always enjoy adult success, but so far, the young man shows incredible talent and appears to have lofty goals. It remains to be seen whether he actually delivers on his promise, but he’s clearly well on his way.
This article originally appeared in December 2021.