"I just love learning"

One of the youngest university graduates in the world has been a guest of the attoworld team. Here, the highly gifted boy from Antwerp tells us what particularly excited him.

January 13, 2022

After completing his Bachelor's degree, eleven-year-old Laurent Simons completed an internship at the Faculty of Physics at Ludwig Maximilian University and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics. It is a rather unusual situation for the scientists of the attoworld team: suddenly an eleven-year-old stands in front of them and wants to know everything about their work. That alone would not even be very unusual. But Laurent Simons is not interested in just dropping by and learning a little more. He has just completed his bachelor's degree in physics and has now joined the attoworld team at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ) for an internship. In the next few months, the young Belgian wants to have his Master's degree in the bag and will start his doctoral thesis. 

Laurent is a minor celebrity and well known at Europe's universities. He is one of the youngest university graduates in the world. Scientists have certified the boy as having an IQ of at least 145. A highly gifted person is someone who has a score of over 130.

But that doesn't seem to impress Laurent much at all. "I just like to learn," he says. In fact, he reads books and soaks up knowledge like a sponge. That explains why he has completed such a learning workload in such a short time. The boy was given relevant reading material to read. Shortly after, he passed the required exams. In the last three months alone, Laurent took around 10 exams for his Master’s degree at his Belgian university in Antwerp.

For the last six weeks, Laurent has mainly been involved in research with our BIRD team. "It was exciting to learn how to prepare samples for analysis, how FTIR measurements of molecular compositions in blood work and how laser technology for medical applications is developed here," Laurent sums up his time in the attoworld team. You can tell that it is hard for him to have to end his internship so soon. "I would have liked to stay longer," says Laurent. "Now I can take the opportunity to thank everyone with whom I was able to work and learn. It was an unforgettable time," he says.

The fact that Laurent was particularly interested in the medicine-oriented research of infrared laser spectroscopy at LMU is no coincidence. Biotechnology, medicine and bioprocess engineering are among his hobbies, along with quantum optics. "My dream is to be able to grow artificial organs one day," Laurent explains. "I've had this dream for a long time," he says with an expression on his face that leaves his counterpart in no doubt.

MPQ and the attoworld team wishes Laurent all the best and much success on his fascinating journey through life.

Thorsten Naeser

Article originally published on attoworld.de

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