13-year-old boy to graduate from University of Minnesota with degree in physics

·3-min read
13 year old to graduate from University of Minnesota with degree in physics  (KSTP)
13 year old to graduate from University of Minnesota with degree in physics (KSTP)

A 13-year-old boy will soon graduate from university with a bachelor’s degree in physics.

Elliott Tanner, from Minnesota, is in his fourth year of school at the University of Minnesota, where he is pursuing a major in physics and a minor in math, according to Fox9.

Despite being one of the youngest students at the school, Elliott, who has maintained a 3.78 grade point average, also tutors fellow classmates and participates in undergraduate research, the Associated Press reported.

When the 13 year old graduates in May, he told the AP that he plans to pursue a career as a high-energy theoretical physicist and a professor of physics at his alma mater, as he has an “incredible passion for physics”.

“It’s been one of my favourite things to do,” he said.

According to the university student’s mother Michelle Tanner, he began taking college classes when he was just nine, after completing a high school curriculum in just two years. The 13 year old’s interest in math began much earlier, however, as she told Fox9 that he was reading and doing math by age three.

As for what it’s been like to be enrolled in university classes so young, especially when considering most of his classmates are in their late teens or early 20s, Elliott told Fox9 that his presence occasionally sparks a “‘wow’ period” but that it usually ends after a week or two.

“Sometimes there is sort of a ‘wow’ period for a week or two and then everyone just kinda gets used to seeing me in class, and it becomes a normal occurrence,” he said.

Elliott’s schedule also sounds similar to that of a typical college student, with the 13 year old telling KSTP that his daily schedule consists of “waking up, getting dressed and having breakfast,” as well as playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends.

His mother also disputes concerns that Elliott didn’t “get to be a kid,” as she told Fox9 he “still very much is a kid”.

“People who hear Elliott’s story say he doesn’t get to be a kid, or he grew up too fast,” Michelle told the outlet. “He still very much is a kid and the only difference is he goes to school in a different building.”

As for Elliott’s plans after graduation, Michelle told the outlet that he has been accepted into the University of Minnesota’s Physics PhD program, but that the family is in the process of figuring out how to pay for his additional schooling.

“We’re just trying to explore all our options, and coming up with dead ends,” Michelle said, adding that the family has applied “for any scholarships, fellowships, grants” but has “not been successful”.

While speaking to KSTP, she noted that it’s been difficult for the family to keep up with Elliott’s education because “you don’t think you’re going to have to pay for college for a nine year old, let alone grad school for a 13 year old”.

“So we weren’t prepared for that part,” she said.

The Independent has contacted Michelle Tanner for comment.

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