A 9-Year-Old Is About to Get a University Degree And Wants to Make Artificial Hearts
LONDRES (Entrepreneur) — ‘Pequeño Einstein’ lo llama su madre. Su nombre es Laurent Simons y es de origen belga, tiene nueves años, su coeficiente intelectual es de 145 y en diciembre de este año se va a graduar como ingeniero eléctrico en la Universidad Técnica de Eindhoven, ubicada en Holanda.
En esa escuela ha recibido clases particulares con un programa un tanto diferente a los demás niños de su edad. Los lunes le presentan los cursos que dará esa semana, los martes tiene prácticas, los miércoles estudia, los jueves recibe tutorías con profesores y los viernes realiza exámenes.
Además de ser un niño inteligente y aplicado, a su corta edad también es un personaje que ha inspirado a miles de usuarios en Instagram, pues cuenta con 46 mil 200 seguidores. Pese a que los reflectores mediáticos han estado dirigidos hacia el pequeño y lleva una vida académica acelerada, su madre dice que eso no le roba su infancia, pues su vida personal y universitaria están muy separadas.
Fuera de la escuela, Laurent se divierte como cualquier otro niño, pues visita a sus amigos del colegio y juega con ellos Minecraft. El niño tiene claro los logros que quiere cumplir, y uno de ellos es crear órganos artificiales para extender la vida. Pero mientras eso pasa, sigue trabajando en un chip electrónico conectado al cerebro como parte de su proyecto final.
LONDON (The New York Times) — He doesn’t play chess or any musical instruments. But he loves Fortnite and Minecraft and watches Netflix.
Soon, Laurent Simons, 9, of Belgium will become one of the youngest people in the world to graduate from a university. For this, his teachers and others have called him a genius.
He simply says, “I’m quite lazy.” That’s because he’s not into sports.
“A lot of people have stereotypes about young geniuses,” his father, Alexander, a dentist, said in a phone interview on Friday.
That’s because the world has long been fascinated by prodigies celebrated for their ability to master an instrument, graduate at a young age or achieve outstanding sports performances. Mozart composed music at age 5. Picasso was 9 years old when he made his first painting.
But in an era when social media carries a certain cachet and influencers make gobs of money posing with products, Laurent is not your typical child prodigy. He’s into Instagram, for one. And as of Friday, he had more than 13,000 followers.
Laurent, who was born in Ostende, Belgium, studies electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. He entered when he was 8 and is set to complete a three-year program in 10 months.
If all goes well and he completes his final project — about a brain-connected electrical chip — he will walk out a graduate in December.
“Then, I want to study medicine, and do a Ph.D. and make artificial organs,” he said.
Laurent grew up in Belgium with his grandparents while his parents worked in the Netherlands. He started primary school when he was 4, and went to high school at 6, according to his father. He now lives with his parents in Amsterdam.
“His grandparents always taught us he’s very special,” Alexander Simons said about his son. “We thought they were taking him too seriously.”
Now, he and his wife do, too. And Laurent’s teachers at the university say they were blown away.
“Laurent’s absorption capacity is very high, which means that everything goes much faster and we can cover a lot more material in a short span of time,” said Peter Baltus, a professor of integrated electronics at the university who is the boy’s mentor. “It’s been quite special and enjoyable.”
Mr. Baltus confirmed that Laurent was on track to graduate before the end of the year.
Outside of school, Mr. Simons argued, Laurent was like any child of his age: playing video games on his smartphone and sometimes taking a swim. On the other hand, he watches TV series like “The Blacklist,” and his I.Q. is 145, his father said.
It’s fair to say that his parents have helped turn their son into a mini-celebrity, making him available for scores of interviews and organizing news conferences.
In the age of instant fame, young bright minds on social media platforms do not go unnoticed for too long. On Laurent’s Instagram account, a photo shows him sitting in front of a television crew.