14-year-old graduates with degree in physics

Carson Huey-You with his mother Claretta Kimp and younger brother Cannan. Carson is the youngest graduate in Texas Christian University's history.
Carson Huey-You with his mother Claretta Kimp and younger brother Cannan. Carson is the youngest graduate in Texas Christian University's history.PHOTO: COURTESY OF CLARETTA KIMP

WASHINGTON • Carson Huey-You, 14, yesterday left Texas Christian University (TCU) with a degree in physics and minors in Chinese and mathematics, becoming the youngest graduate in the university's history.

His younger brother, Cannan, 11, will head to the same university later this year to study astrophysics and engineering. Cannan graduated from high school last Friday.

Carson was just 11 when he began studying at TCU - the youngest student to enrol in the university.

"It didn't come easily. It really didn't," Carson was quoted as saying.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

"I knew I wanted to do physics when I was in high school, but then quantum physics was the one that stood out to me, because it was abstract.

"You can't actually see what's going on, so you have to sort of rely on the mathematics to work everything out."

Carson first showed an interest in mathematics at the age of three, according to his mother.

"He asked me if he could learn calculus and I thought, 'hmm, OK'," his mother, Ms Claretta Kimp, recalled.

She took him to a public school and learnt that he had an eighth-grade comprehension of mathematics, "too advanced" for his age group.

He ended up skipping several grades and graduated from high school at 10.

Carson now wants to get a PhD while Cannan wants to be an astronaut.

"Yes, they're smart," Ms Kimp told the Washington Post, "but that's just a small part of who they are."

The brothers, she said, are also best friends, study partners and big fans of their puppy, Klaus.

They wrestle and laugh and hold the door open for women, just like their mother taught them.

At home, Carson and Cannan do not fight, not even during their epic Star Wars lightsaber battles that make Ms Kimp cringe.

And Ms Kimp says their social lives are perfectly adequate. Their childhoods have not suffered.

"My boys have more social skills than most adults," she told the Washington Post. "They are just normal little boys who do normal little boy things."

It was their brilliance, though, that landed them in the spotlight.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 14, 2017, with the headline '14-year-old graduates with degree in physics'. Print Edition | Subscribe