Child prodigy leaves TU/e, will now study in the US

TU/e, biofuel, EU, grant
The TU/e is to lead a renewable marine fuel project. Photo credit: Eindhoven News Media Library

Laurent Simons has recently made headlines across the world. This nine-year-old Belgian boy’s hopes of obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) this month were dashed.

However, according to media reports, Laurent will now do his doctorate at an American university. He will enrol in an unnamed college in the United States, writes Voice of America. The child prodigy will study toward a PhD in Electrical Engineering. This is according to what his parents told CNN on Tuesday.

In a press release issued by TU/e on Monday, the University says Laurent’s father, Alexander, wanted his son to finish his degree before his tenth birthday. This would have made him the youngest person ever to have graduated from university. Laurent turns 10 on 26 December.

Not feasible

This would have meant the boy would have completed a three-year course in just ten months. In view of the number of exams Laurent would have to pass before 26 December, the university did, however, not consider this targeted end date feasible.

The TU/e, therefore, proposed a timetable for Laurent which would have allowed him to complete his course by mid-2020. “In our view, this timeline would offer Laurent the opportunity to sufficiently develop the skills associated with the final phase of the study programme,” writes the University.

Laurents parents refused this offer and immediately removed him from the course. “We regret that,” reads the University’s statement. “We believe Laurent would benefit from continuity in order to develop his very special talent.”

Offer received

However, Alexander, Laurent’s father, reportedly told CNN that he and his wife withdrew their son from TU/E because Laurent had received an offer from an American school. According to reports, they said Laurent would not have been able to divide his time between the two universities.

A BBC article says Alexander also reportedly told the Dutch media that the University had criticised him for his frequent courting of media coverage for his son.

Primary source: TU/e

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