Laurent Simons will not only find legos or comics at the foot of the tree this year: this little gifted Dutch-Belgian, just nine years old, is preparing to obtain his degree in electrical engineering from the University of Paris. Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
With his lock of hair falling in front of his eyes, his turtleneck sweater, his jeans and his sneakers, Laurent has the appearance of all the boys of his age, immersed with the same passion in the adventures of Donald Duck.
But his most faithful companions are his laptop and a thick book on electronic chips and other integrated circuits, "gibberish" for his parents, who admit "do not understand anything about it".
Laurent is in the process of obtaining his Bachelor's degree at the end of December, after only nine months of study, instead of the usual three years. For the boy, who loves karting, playing with his dog and watching TV shows, graduating at his age is quite "normal". And "nice," he adds.
His dream: "prolong the life" of the sick
The little gifted dream of becoming a "researcher". His goal, he explains, is to "make artificial organs to prolong life," and help cardiac patients, such as his grandparents. "I still have to see how to do it. I have already started a little bit.
When Laurent paces the corridors of the university and designs electrical circuits in a white coat in his laboratory, his best friends play trap trap in the playground in Ostend, Belgium, where he was raised by his grandparents until the beginning of this year, his parents being "taken by work" in the Netherlands.
"I do not miss primary school," admits Laurent, whose father, Alexander, a 37-year-old Belgian dentist, is already in contact with universities in the United States, with his eyes on the son's next diploma. now wants to study medicine.
"Hyperintelligent, but also very friendly"
"Laurent's qualities are simply extraordinary," says Sjoerd Hulshof, Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology, a course "generally considered difficult". The boy is "the fastest student we have ever had. He is not only hyperintelligent, but also very friendly, "adds Sjoerd Hulshof.
Laurent swallowed his years of schooling at an extraordinary speed: after entering primary school at just four years of age, he made his CP year as his peers, before completing the rest of the primary school in a year and a half. It will take him as long to sweep the years of college and high school, all without stalemate.
"The school has often suggested that it jumps classes, but any matter has its importance," explain the parents of Lawrence, who live in Amsterdam.
Parent of a gifted: a full-time job
"His grandfather and grandma told us that he was very intelligent, more than the others," says Lydia Simons, a 29-year-old Dutch woman who works as a dental assistant in her husband's office in Rotterdam. It will soon be sold, so that the couple can "devote themselves entirely" to Laurent, he must bring to the university every day because of his young age.
"He can not take the train alone," says the young man's father, who regularly conducts interviews with his son. Aware of the media attention that Laurent is subjected to, Alexander assures that the boy evolves in a healthy environment, unlike the young "singers and pop stars".
"It's about finding balance, enjoying life, being a child, being carefree, this whole process," says his father. "If, at a given moment, you realize that he has a big head, that he becomes pretentious or arrogant, he will be put back on the ground," he says.