If you chose to go to post-secondary school, how old were you when you graduated with your bachelor’s degree? Well, Laurent Simons from Belgium was just 11 years old when he earned his. He is the second-youngest person ever to obtain their bachelor’s and is now completing a master’s degree in quantum physics. His goal? To make humans immortal.
Laurent Simons: Child Genius
I don’t know about you, but when I was 11 I was more concerned about what I was going to be for Halloween and who I was assigned to sit next to in class than quantum physics. Laurent Simons, rather, is beginning his master’s degree and is trying to figure out how to achieve human immortality. His life started out relatively normal, though his family very quickly realized how intelligent he was.
“My parents worked a lot, because they had three dental practices in The Netherlands, so I lived with my grandparents in Belgium until I was 9 years old. But I saw my parents during weekends and holidays,” Simons wrote. “My grandma would always tell my mom and dad that I was very advanced for my age, but they just thought she was bragging, because all grandparents think their grandchildren are special!”
He began primary school at the age of four but quickly breezed his way through. He graduated two years later at the age of six. He also eventually took an IQ test where he received the highest score possible.
At age six, Laurent Simons began high school. He first started in the regular classroom, however, the school staff quickly recognized that he would be better off in a private education setting. The students in his classes didn’t enjoy having a six-year-old who knew all the answers in their classes, and Simons didn’t enjoy the experience either. He graduated high school when he was eight.
“I actually preferred high school because I was able to take classes in physics, maths and chemistry. I liked those subjects much more than others, like languages,” he explained. “But I was a bit relieved when I was finished and I could go to university. At university you can choose for yourself the subject you like and want to focus on. I chose physics.”
Bachelor’s In Physics
He began university in 2019, however, in 2020 he switched schools and began studying at the University of Antwerp. Of course, he began his studies during the pandemic, so he never actually had much experience being in a real university classroom with other students. He graduated with his undergraduate degree in June 2021 with an 85% average at just 11 years old.
“For me, it was never important to obtain the qualifications themselves, even though I am aware that I am the second youngest person in the world to complete a bachelor’s degree. Acquiring the actual knowledge is much more important. Furthermore, obtaining the bachelor’s degree was a condition for actually starting a master’s degree.”
His Master’s Degree
Laurent Simons has now begun his master’s degree, also at the University of Antwerp, in quantum physics. He wants to study this subject because his ultimate goal is to achieve immortality. His inspiration for this is his grandparents.
“I am interested in immortality because my grandparents suffer from heart disease. I want to help them and I want to help other kids so they don’t have to lose their grandparents.”
Simons says that this project of immortality is like a puzzle. We already have the pieces, so his goal is to figure out where the gaps are and how all the pieces fit together.
“Something I am interested in is artificial organs; I would like to be able to replace as many parts of the body as possible with artificial organs. I plan to do a lot of studying, gather a lot of knowledge and then all the pieces will hopefully fit in together and the puzzle of immortality may be solved.”
He Is Still A Normal Kids – Sort Of
When he’s not traveling to other universities (outside of pandemic times), study quantum physics, and giving lectures, he is still a regular kid who likes some pretty normal kid stuff. He enjoys sleeping in except for the mornings that his two favorite shows, Loki and The Blacklist are on. He does all his studying early in the day so he still has time to play with his friends when they get out of school in the afternoon.
“We play video games or watch movies together. I don’t really talk to them about studying, we just hang out as kids.”
In the future, he wants to do his Ph.D. and then have his own lab where he can do his researchers.
“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” his father said. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”
You can follow along with Laurent Simons’ life and future career on his Instagram page.