LONDON – He does not play chess or musical instruments. But he loves Fortnite and Minecraft and looks at Netflix.
The Belgian Laurent Simons (9) will soon be one of the youngest graduates in the world. That's why his teachers and others have called him genius.
He simply says, "I'm pretty lazy." That's because he's not an athlete.
"Many people have stereotypes about young geniuses," said his father Alexander, a dentist, in a telephone interview.
This is because the world has long been fascinated by prodigies who graduate at an early age or perform outstanding sports for their ability to command an instrument. Mozart composed music at the age of five. Picasso was 9 years old when he painted his first painting.
Laurent, born in Ostend, Belgium, is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. He entered the age of 8 and will complete a three-year program in 10 months.
If all goes well and he completes his last project – via a brain-connected electrical chip – he will graduate in December.
"Then I would like to study medicine and do my doctorate. and make artificial organs, "he said.
Laurent grew up in Belgium with his grandparents while his parents worked in the Netherlands. He started elementary school when he was 4 and went to high school at 6, his father said. Today he lives with his parents in Amsterdam.
"His grandparents have always taught us that he is special," Alexander Simons said of his son. "We thought they take him too seriously."
Now he and his wife do it too. And Laurent's teachers at the university say they've been knocked out.
"The absorbency of Laurent is very high, which means that everything goes much faster and we can cover a lot more material in a short time," said Peter Baltus, Professor of Integrated Electronics at the University is the mentor of the Boys. "It was very special and fun."
A university spokeswoman confirmed that Laurent was on track to graduate before the end of the year.
Out of school, Mr. Simons argued, Laurent was like any child of his age: playing video games on his smartphone and sometimes swimming. On the other hand, he sees television series like "The Blacklist" and his I.Q. is 145, said his father.
It is fair to say that his parents helped to make their son a little celebrity by providing him with numerous interviews and organizing press conferences.
In the age of instant fame, young, bright minds on social media platforms are not going unnoticed for too long. On Laurent's Instagram account, a photo shows him sitting in front of a TV crew. It was followed by the headline "Busy Week With Interviews !!" with the hashtags #laurentsimons and #giganticplans.
Other photos show him at a pool next to women wearing bikinis grandparents. Asked about the adult issues displayed on the account created under his son's name, Mr. Simons said the parents had managed the account. (A video posted this week by the parents of a 9-year-old British drummer playing Nirvana has been viewed more than seven million times.)
Far from electronic chips or scientific laboratories away, even Laurent's contributions Show him in swimming pools or with friends.
For his next chapter, he said he would like to study in the United States. When asked which university he would like to visit, his father interrupted him and said that she was "confidential."
"We would like to study half in Europe and half in the US," said Simons. "Laurent is not too far away."
During the interview, Laurent was a typical nine-year-old who gave short or monosyllabic answers. But he explained why he wanted to create artificial hearts in the future – in his teenage years.
The grandparents with whom he grew up suffer from heart problems. "I want to help people like them," he said.
Alain Delaquérière contributed research.