Highly intelligent “child prodigy” Laurent begins third degree – at the age of 12

“Wonder child”
Abitur at the age of eight: Laurent begins his third degree in Munich

Laurent Simon looks at a laser system during his internship at the Max Planck Society

© dpa

The Belgian-Dutch “child prodigy” Laurent graduated from high school at the age of eight and then studied electrical engineering and physics. Now he has chosen Munich as the next place to study.

The Belgian-Dutch “boy wonder” Laurent completed a trial course in Munich and now wants to continue his physics studies there. The 12-year-old has just completed a two-month internship. “That was really great,” said the highly intelligent boy from the German Press Agency in Amsterdam.

“Suddenly an eleven-year-old stands in front of you”

Laurent was a guest at the physics faculty of the Ludwig Maximilian University and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in the Garching research center near Munich. Many scientists were surprised by the unusual visit, a spokesman said. “Suddenly an eleven-year-old stands in front of you and wants to know everything about your work.”

But Laurent, who is now twelve years old, is not just any boy. He is highly talented and graduated from high school at the age of eight. He first studied electrical engineering at a fast pace in Eindhoven. And last summer he did his bachelor’s degree in physics “with distinction”.

“I want to save life”

Together with the international research team of the Attoworld Group at the Munich University, Laurent worked on one of the most powerful lasers in the world in a groundbreaking project. There, the smallest traces should be found that tissue tumors leave in the bloodstream. “The point is that the machine can detect colon cancer in blood samples at the earliest stage,” says Laurent patiently explaining the very complicated procedure to laypeople. And that comes very close to his goal: “I want to save lives”.

"wonder child": Abitur at the age of eight: Laurent begins his third degree in Munich

The contact wasn’t a problem at all, because English is spoken at the university. “Everyone was super friendly,” says Laurent. There is only one thing he needs to learn better. “I had German at school, but that’s not enough.”


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