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Nine-year-old child genius to graduate university
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A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor's degree at the tender age of 9. Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) -- a tough course even for students of an average graduate age. Described by staff as "simply extraordinary," Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December. He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent's grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred. "They noticed something very special about Laurent," said Lydia. Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. "They told us he is like a sponge," said Alexander. While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly. But Lydia has her own theory. "I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy," she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students. "That is not unusual," said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, in a statement. "Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport." Hulshof said Laurent is "simply extraordinary" and praised the youngster. "Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here," he said. "Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy." Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he's also "going to study a bit of medicine."

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