15-Year-Old Genius Becomes the Youngest Person in UK to Hold a PhD
Wang Pok Lo, a 15-year-old student from Queensferry Community High School in South Queensferry, Scotland is on his way to becoming the youngest person in the United Kingdom to hold a doctorate.
The student, known by his friends as Pok, received a first-class honors degree in mathematics from Open University at the age of 13, according to the BBC.
According to Politics.co.uk, has examinations called Standard, Higher and Advanced Higher grades, which are taken at different ages.
Pok also passed Standard Grade in maths at 9 years old, and his Higher a year later.
He was recently offered a spot on a doctorate course in population health sciences at the University of Edinburgh once he finishes his Advanced Highers in physics, biology and chemistry, and right after he celebrates his 16th birthday.
However, before he can be accepted, Pok would have to take part in an interview and prepare slides. He would also have to compete with other candidates who are much older than him with more experience.
“I still can’t believe that I have been accepted on that program because I would have thought other candidates would have been more competent,” Pok told the BBC. “I’m really looking forward to going to uni full-time.”
“It might be a bit awkward at first but I’ve started to grow used to [talking to adults] because in my part-time courses I’ve interacted with adults through discussion forums and when I’ve gone to campus to do exams I talk to them, so it’s started to become more normal.”
Apart from the offer from the University of Edinburgh, Pok was also awarded a master’s degree in statistics with medical applications from the University of Sheffield last month.
Pok and his family moved to Scotland from Hong Kong in 2006. He received a normal state education, but his parents encouraged him to study mathematics at home. He started reciting Cantonese poetry at just 11 months old.
“It’s been the school’s plan, in conjunction with his parents, that Pok should have as ordinary an experience at secondary school as possible,” headteacher John Wood said, adding that Pok had grown into a “rounded and grounded young lad.”
But despite all of his achievements in academics, Pok is still just like any other teenager.
“In ways, he is just the same as many 15-year-olds attending school and enjoying working together on their subjects,” Wood said.
He studies math five to six hours every weekend, and sometimes the whole day, but other than that, he goes out with his friends and spends time with them by playing games like chess and enjoying music.
Wood continued to note that they are proud of Pok’s achievements.
“The whole school community are extremely proud of Pok and his tremendous achievements,” he said via Daily Mail. “In 35 years of teaching I’ve taught many very able young people but I must say that Pok is quite unique. His flair and aptitude for mathematics are extraordinary.”
Pok plans to take up medicine and become a doctor who specializes in either cardiology or neurology, he has expressed that he feels “relaxed” about his future in academics.
“I don’t think there should be anything I should be worried about right now,” he said.