Nine-year-old child to graduate university (electrical engineering)

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.

And two more:

The [10-year-old] maths-whizz loves her college education. She says: “It’s so interesting. It has the type of maths I love. It’s real maths – theories, complex numbers, all that type of stuff.”

The child prodigy began playing piano aged three, was performing at London’s prestigious Royal Festival Hall at six, and now barely into double-figures, has been named by celebrity pianist Lang Lang as a future star.


I always used to believe that the parents had a lot of influence on the child but since I’ve read a few articles and watched a few videos, I see that some kids are either born with it or just had a huge interest in their subjects to become that good. I wonder if all the kids in the world are able to do it if they had enough passions as they did and perhaps lived in a country where it was made possible for them.


I often wonder that also and I I have many doubts about what is generally believed as being innate.

I actually read this article yesterday and I wish there was more info about his journey, and I’m not talking about a memory Journey🙄


Throughout human history every generation has thrown up a few ‘weird’ kids, Mozart started composing at age 4 or 5, Jesus managed to blow away the top theologians of his day while still a boy (to put that in a modern context it would be as if a 12 year old would discuss the works of the collected Church Fathers with Vatican theologians in Latin).
Not knowing enough about brain-science and stuff, I assume their brains are actually no different to any other child’s but they work better-maybe the 2 halves ‘talk’ to each other more efficiently, maybe its also a ‘sensory’ thing- ie the senses transmit more data. Maybe also their brains automatically, subconciously, store new information in the back of the brain in a structure we would recognise as a memory palace…like the Russian S.


If they let you take exams to start your bachelor/Masters/PhD at any time, you would see a lot more people starting rather young. I remember skipping grades in one country and being normalised to my age group in another, working for years without really learning anything new or interesting in school so I feel it largely is a matter of the environment you are put in. I even remember someone rather intelligent being dropped down a grade/year because they were doing their own things rather than listening to the teacher obediently, so I guess it goes both ways.


Not to mention that learning is the easy part. These kids get their learning material on a silver platter, meaning that a lot of things are set up for them to succeed. Teachers help them, their parents help them, school programs help them, trainers/coaches help them. There is a documentary of this young teenage boy who wants to go to university on youtube and during the experience, he cries because of the pressure. His father was a math teacher and he got a lot of help from the people around him. Imagine if he had to do everything by himself, going to schools, schedule homework, go to exams, make learning schedule, find the material he needs to learn etc, he would fall apart and so would most of these kids. You almost never hear of a child prodigy who developed himself completely, without outside help. There are always very supportive parents in the picture, teachers etc.


I agree 100%

The UK have a poor reputation in this regard. Schools are OK, but the universities - specifically O&C - have been criticised . I think they are now veering towards “positve discrimination”:


An interesting feature of the BBC article is that they use the word “disadvantaged”. Somehow that word seems less offensive to me than other frequently-used words: poor, underprivileged, poverty-stricken, second-class, deprived, etc - all of which would have applied to me when I was a kid.



With all due respect, there is wayyy more “genius” in China, where every parent believe having the child exceeding in something the earlier the better. But in the end the kids are forced to do it, but hey at least they are good at it, with a lack of creativity in the general mass.

Western culture on the other hand have less “geniuses” but then there is, they are more creative as they are doing it willingly.

This is just drawing from personal experience from both culture, a hypothesis yet to be proven.

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I think the kids are pretty normal like other kids, they were only being taught all that things at an early age what other kids are not expected to.

I think a kid at a young age if given proper training can learn anything, whether by force or driven by extreme interest.

This is something I have experienced myself.

When I was in First grade/class my parents enrolled me in a tuition nearby.

The teacher used to teach us higher level maths (She explained so well) and as a result I was flipping factorisation, HCF and LCM, fraction calculation and some basic forms of algebra at that time when other kids of my grade were just learning the numbers with simple addition and subtraction.

Later I moved from that place and had to leave that tuition.

But the maths I learned helped me upto 6th to 7th grade.

So as you can tell, something similar is happening with these kids but they are doing it continuously.


Please, its obviously that this kid has 130+ iQ
Its not about parents when they are this bright


You’re right that these children are obviously highly gifted academically and have high intrinsic motivation.

I used to be jealous of child prodigies as a kid because they made me feel stupid. It helps me to know that they don’t have significant advantages once they reach adulthood.


It actually still is. An IQ of 130+ is a factor but not everything. Somebody still has to buy these kids some books, somebody has to tell them what to learn, somebody has to go and talk to schools and schoolprograms, someone has to keep these kids on track if they seem to be failing or slowing down, someone has to help them when they get stuck somewhere, etc. When you are older you have to do all of these things for yourself which can be very difficult. All of these kids also don’t have to worry about money for everything. If I want to take the exams needed to study math on a university then I have to save at least 500 euro’s for the cost of everything and if I fail one test, I have to pay for that test again if I want to do it again. That is months I have to work for. I have to buy everything myself, find everything myself, schedule everything myself. I am autistic with a fear of failure, unless I get someone’s help with all of this, I won’t make it and I need to make it because if I don’t then I don’t know how to continue my life.


Yes and for you and the rest of us mortals too
It just help not losing time with all that stuff the important is 130iQ can make your life better

This is more nurture than nature. I’m confident that there are many young people with 130+ IQs around the world. Most are never discovered as they don’t all live in western cultures where IQs are of interest. And all gifted children are not the same. Some are gifted with language acquisition as opposed to maths as an example. Some know how to read by the time they learn to speak. As others have pointed out some are musical prodigies. I’ve often wondered how many Einstein’s or Mozart’s we’ve never discovered because the society into which they were born had no mechanism to find them or nurture them. As to this young person I’d guess that their IQ is well above 160. I hope I live long enough to see what becomes of him.


I’ll skip the all too obvious statistics joke about confidence intervals here.

I’m not sure what your definition of “many” or “young people” is, but since you’re talking about \color{blue}\mu+2\sigma you’re looking at ~2.3% with an IQ higher than 130. Even if young people are only about half of that, 1% of 7.7 billion (world population) is still 77 million.

77 million in turn is more than the population of the UK or France and slightly less than the population of Germany. Also about half the population of Russia or a quarter of the US population.

Well, just plug in the numbers from above.

160 = \color{blue}\mu+4\sigma

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I agree with this post in its entirety.


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Honestly, I dont not even understand what IQ is. Adaptation to new things? Drawing from experience to solve new challenges? Memory based? Okay these three example are pretty close, though how is IQ even calculated based on little test results?? I cant be bother searching this up, never a fan of IQ scores, a discourager to potentials.

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Relax apply the mnemonic technique - turn everything into usefulness that your brain can remember easily, even attitudes. Always look on the bright side when it is a stress. A change of mindset makes all the difference between a happy life and not enjoyable life. People dont change to a better view unconsciously until they are over 50 years old. As seen in the book “The Happiness Book” where it explores the times when we are the most happiest (there is 2 maximum curve - spoiler :p)and the time of the saddest moments in the general mass. Ironically, the statistic graph look much like a smile :slight_smile:

What Does the WAIS-IV Test Measure?

The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale returns scores on four separate indexes of adult intelligence, each with its own subsets:

1. The Perceptual Reasoning Index (PRI)

The PRI contains several subsets. Block design tests an adult’s visual motor construction, visual spatial processing, and visual problem solving. Matrix reasoning measures inductive reasoning and one’s ability to solve problems in nonverbal, abstract ways. Visual puzzles reveal the subject’s visual spatial reasoning. Through picture completion, psychologists measure how quickly the subject can perceive visual details. And quantitative reasoning is tested using figure weights.

2. The Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI)

For the VCI, test takers must describe how various concepts and words are similar. They also define vocabulary words and answer general knowledge questions. These tests are used to evaluate semantic knowledge, verbal comprehension, abstract verbal reasoning, and verbal expression.

3. The Working Memory Index (WMI)

WMI essentially evaluates how well you can remember things. To measure WMI, participants will be asked to recall a list of numbers in the order that they were given (digit span) and a series of numbers and letters in order (letter-number sequencing). These tests evaluate attention, mental control, auditory processing, and working memory. The WMI also uses arithmetic to measure concentration, quantitative reasoning, and mental manipulation.

4. The Processing Speed Index (PSI)

PSI is essentially a measure of how fast your brain works. Through symbol search, cancellation, and coding, the test evaluates graphomoter speed, associative memory, and processing speed. Graphomoter skills combine perceptual, cognitive, and motor skills and enable a person to write.

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You are basically given a test based on a lot of ideally general components that are believed you don’t have to train for, to answer. Using memory techniques is cheating because it changes the conditions of the IQ test and inflates your memory scores. Taking similar tests is cheating because you get better at taking those kind of tests.

Their general approach : working memory is a capacity 5±7, lets give them numbers and see how many numbers they keep in their head. Numbers they surely must not have practised as much as strings of words, so this will be accurate. Other tests will attempt to find your ability to spot patterns, reason,abstract. Essentially the idea is to test your capacity to do something by exposing you to something you haven’t done before, forcing you to use your general ability which establishes a cap before you learn something.

Kind of like how some people still believe the earth is flat, there are many different camps of IQ testing: Those that believe it is genetic because: studied twins have somewhat invariant scores in different environments, rats from parents who traverse mazes faster generally also traverse mazes faster.

Those that believe you can grow your IQ because: It’s well established education increases IQ albeit small amounts per year,brain scans of high IQ people indicate more efficiency (less activity) only for medium difficult problems and otherwise no differences (IQ tests indicate medium difficulty) which implies it is related to them having the right circuit which is plastic, the understanding of the brain isn’t complete yet IQ somehow is, there are many people taken as outliers who have increased their IQ scores, simply because IQ should not change, some identical twins have scores that differ by as much as 30 points when living apart.

Those that believe IQ scores test your ability to take IQ tests: People with high IQ don’t generally instantly become ‘prominent’ yet those who are called prodigies are assigned IQ scores without having taken one, Feynman is respected but apparently had an IQ score of 125 which 1st camp argue must surely have been the verbal component or him not trying because he is an impressive physicist and that is impossible with that IQ score. Being able to increase IQ with taking IQ tests implies that it is highly likely those who have scored high are some derivative of this rather than having high capacities. Intelligence and IQ are not really the same from a perspective because there is no test of creativity and no overcoming of obstacles with your brain as much as there is having an ease -> which implies people would be at the same boat at some point, some things supersede IQ components e.g mathematical/philosophical logic is going to do more for your logic than having logic to solve IQ tests is unless you can’t generalise this well which can easily be trained, the things you are using your supposed IQ score for be it science or otherwise are more important than your ability to do other things in most cases.

I for one, don’t really believe in IQ tests or even that true intelligence is static because otherwise absolutely everyone would forever be stupid. If intelligence were genetic and you modified your genetics using your knowledge either badly or successfully you would have proven that it can’t be constant, even if someone else, however intelligent, did this for you.

Though the puzzles can be amusing they are very simple puzzles. Some tests have simple patterns like, count the amount on each side and it should add up, while you could find much more complex and original patterns. Technically reasoning through a question is kind of cheating, if you are measured on your ‘visuo-spatial’ capability and you are verbally reasoning through the question, there isn’t anything you can really say. Taking the same test you can do at least 1000 different things that affect your IQ score, but you can only take 1-3 tests, in life you can however test any of those 1000 different things.

Imagine someone had a very bad memory, they would be able to quickly forget unimportant bits when overloaded with masses of information and as a result learn more effectively, because only the similarities would really remain being reinforced continuously, improving the ability of that person to abstract. The thing with my last point is, if someone had a very bad memory and presumably could abstract more efficiently because of that, while it is a strength it doesn’t really stand true. The person with a better memory who could abstract less effectively could do things that someone without this memory could not like use the similarities memorised overlaps to actually abstract something more effectively. Similarly the person with a worse memory may benefit from speeding up drastically, or using mnemonics, simply said -> If you have different abilities, using them effectively in the way that only you can is going to give better results, with a bit of creativity no one is going to define your cap, it’s not as simple as spot pattern and have high ability. People should really stop forsaking or simplifying intelligence when it is one of the most complicated things that exist.

I am happy so I must be doing something right