Complex Made Simple

Child prodigies changing the world as we know it

Recently, a child prodigy aged 11 earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Belgium's University of Antwerp. Is he the only one? No. Other modern-day young geniuses were trailblazers in their own rights

Simon’s goal is to reach immortality using technology At seven years old, Akrit Jaswal added “surgeon” to his resume Genius kids often have an exceptionally keen sense of the comical, the bizarre, or the absurd

I recently read a story about a child prodigy, age 11, who became one of the youngest-ever college graduates after earning a bachelor’s degree in physics from Belgium’s University of Antwerp.

In just one year, Laurent Simons from Belgium completed college with the highest distinction, two years early.

Image source: BBC

Simons might have finished at an even younger age, but in 2019 he wasn’t allowed to graduate until he reached age 10.

Simon’s goal is to reach immortality using technology. 

In a report by Dutch newspaper De Telegraf, he said: “I want to be able to replace as many body parts as possible with mechanical parts. Quantum physics is the first piece of the puzzle.”

Simons wants to work with the best professors the modern world has to offer and “look inside their brains and find out how they think.”  


Let’s look at other kid geniuses making an impact on humanity.  

Other child geniuses

We looked at modern age child prodigies and here are four who deserve strong mentioning.   

1- Akrit Jaswal- The seven-year-old surgeon 

At seven years old, Akrit Jaswal added “surgeon” to his resume.

Born in 1993, the child surgeon became India’s youngest physician and university student.

Jaswal has an estimated IQ of 146.

2- Jacob Barnett- The next Nobel Peace Prize winner

At the age of eight, Jacob Barnett began attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

With an IQ of 170, higher than Albert Einstein’s, Barnett could be in line for a future Nobel Peace Prize, according to one of the world’s leading scientists and the 13-year-old’s professor at college.

Image source:

Since enrollment, Barnett has been taking advanced astrophysics classes and is working on expanding Einstein’s theory of relativity. He is also working on challenging the Big Bang theory. He delivered a TEDxTeen talk in 2012, “Forget What You Know.”

3- Colin Carlson- The environmentalist boy genius

Colin Carlson graduated from Stanford University Online High School by age 11. 

Colin Carlson taught himself how to read as a toddler.

At nine years old, he began taking college credit courses at the University of Connecticut and enrolled in the university full-time as a sophomore by the age of 12.

In 2011, Carlson held a 3.9 GPA as a dual-degree honors student in ecology & evolutionary biology and environmental studies.

4- Kim Ung-Yong- A guest physics student at age 3

At the age of three, Kim Ung-Yong began taking courses as a guest physics student at Hanyang University in South Korea. By the age of eight, he was invited by NASA to study in the US.

Born in 1962, Kim Ung-Yong is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the highest IQ at 210.

The young prodigy began speaking at six months old and was able to read in Japanese, Korean, German, and English by his third birthday.

Is your child a genius?

Having an unusually large vocabulary or ability to learn things very quickly are signs of child prodigies, but there are also several less recognizable characteristics that child prodigies share. High IQ Society Mensa has shared a checklist of qualities that could mean your child is a genius  

  • An unusual memory: An exceptional working memory is the one consistent factor that all child prodigies display.  
  • Passing intellectual milestones early: Many studies show that gifted children tend to start talking early, although walking early does not seem to be linked to higher intelligence. According to the Davidson Institute, a gifted child begins to speak some two months earlier than the average of 12 months and starts linking words as early as 12 months.
  • Reading early: Gifted children may learn to read by the age of 3 or 4, and read for pleasure by the age of 5, whereas the average child will usually not be reading until around 5. Not all geniuses read early though – famously dyslexic geniuses like Stephen Hawking and Einstein apparently didn’t read until the age of 8 and 9 respectively!

  • Unusual hobbies or interests or in-depth knowledge of certain subjects: Is your little one a world-class expert in dinosaurs, or passionate about outer space? He or she could be gifted.
  • Intolerance of other children: There’s a dark side to being a child genius, which can include not being able to relate to other kids your own age, and child prodigies have been shown to be more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. 
  • Set themselves impossibly high standards: Once they stand out, child prodigies set a precedent they always feel bound to achieve. 
  • Asks questions all the time: Being asked questions all the time may be annoying, but it’s important to encourage that enquiring mind.    
  • Developed sense of humor: Genius kids often have an exceptionally keen sense of the comical, the bizarre, or the absurd.     
  • Makes up additional rules for games: Gifted children often love complex rules for games, and their ability to see connections between ideas may lead to them making up additional, more complex rules for fun.
  • Prefers to spend time with adults or in solitary pursuits: Gifted children are operating at a level well above that of their peers, so they may prefer to spend time with others who are older than them, or on their own.