Boy, 9, to move to U.S. university after conflict with TU Eindhoven, father says

Nine-year-old Laurent Simons is almost certainly exchanging Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) for a top university in the United States, his father Alexander Simons said on Pauw on Tuesday. The boy and his parents planned for him to graduate as an Electrical Engineer in December, but clashed with TU/e when the university called this unattainable. 

Due to the dispute, Laurent dropped out of TU/e on Monday. His parents wanted him to graduate before his 10th birthday, on December 26th. But the university did not consider this feasible, due to the number of exams Laurent still has to pass. TU/e suggested another timetable, in which the boy would graduate his studies in mid-2020. But his parents would not accept this. 

"If we had followed the advice of the university, Laurent would have had to study for eight months longer. While he does one subject a week and the entire study in nine months", his mother, said. The boy himself also did not want to shift his plans, his father said. "If a course lasts longer than a week, he will get bored. Laurent needs to be challenged because he is so smart. Moreover, the university's timetable would run counter to his plans. He already had a whole follow-up scenario in mind."

The family is therefore turning to the United States, Alexander said, though he would not say which university is involved. "That is confidential. Agreements have been made about this with specific people. It is already in a quite advanced state, but talking about it is not done." According to the father, this was an opportunity too good to pass. "If you get an offer in your lap to work with the best university in the world, it would not be smart to not use it. You are then among the top of the top."

The U.S. is also better at guiding and helping prodigies, Alexander said. "In America they really do a lot to send such children to university. Even a child who is much less clever than Laurent."

According to his father, Laurent already knows exactly what he wants to do with his life. "Laurent has no particular profession in mind but wants to become a scientist. His dream is that he can make artificial organs. Robotics, cyber-like bodies, almost towards immortality. Then you need some electrical engineering, some medicine. So it is not that he wants to complete this study and then, for example, make televisions at Philips."

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