Sometimes, humanity outdoes itself.
A child prodigy, age 11, has risen in status to become one of the youngest-ever college graduates after earning a bachelor's degree in physics from Belgium's University of Antwerp, according to an initial Newsweek report.
And the prodigy completed his course of study in just one year, two years early.
Laurent Simons completed college in one year with the highest distinction
Hailing from the Belgium city of Ostend, Laurent Simons earned greater distinction than other students after graduating with an astonishing 85%, in addition to completing the course in just one year, as opposed to the conventional three. Simons might have finished at an even younger age, but in 2019 he dropped out of the Netherlands' Eindhoven University at age nine. But this was because officials refused to allow his graduation until he reached age 10 on December 26.
"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."
Simons went on to say that acquiring and applying knowledge are his main objectives in life, the second of which will require that he work with the best professors the modern world has to offer. But, bizarrely, he also wants to "look inside their brains and find out how they think." The University of Antwerp confirmed his graduations and distinctions, saying: "Simons has been studying for his bachelor's degree in physics since March 2020, and he now graduated with 85%, which is the highest distinction," according to a spokesperson for Antwerp University, reports The Brussels Times.
Boy genius has a bright future in physics
"This year, he also took some courses from the master's program," continued the spokesperson. "After the summer, he will officially start his master's degree." Following Simons' drop-out from Eindhoven, his dad, Alexander Simons, alleged that the college criticized him for receiving too much media attention, which may have appeared to fawn over the classic "boy wonder" stereotype. "If a child can play football well, we all think the media attention is great," said Simons' father, Alexander Simons, in a report from De Volkskrant, a Dutch newspaper. "My son has a different talent. Why should he not be proud of that?"
As of writing, an Instagram account that the Simons family uses to showcase the activities of the prodigy son has more than 51,000 followers, which means the family likely won't have problems growing the boy's brand, networking him with like-minded professors, and guaranteeing that he has every possible opportunity an aspiring physicist could possibly want in a post-coronavirus world. Here's hoping Laurent Simons becomes the next Einstein or Stephen Hawking, and one uniquely talented enough to bring a revolution to our understanding of the universe, and deepen our grasp of the world we live in.