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Maths whizz, 12, enters university

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Stock picture: Matrics in South Africa face a crisis of admission into university, as a fraction of spots are available to the tens of thousands of applications received.

London -

Aged just 12, maths genius Xavier Gordon-Brown is almost certainly the youngest university student in Britain.

Although he is still too young for Facebook and is only allowed a cellphone for emergencies, he’s just embarked on a maths degree with the Open University.

He is already studying weighty and complex concepts such as abstract structures, vector calculus and Newtonian mechanics in his spare time – when he’s not either at school, practising his musical instruments or playing football.

Xavier, who celebrated his 12th birthday last month, knew his times tables before he was four and could do double-digit mental arithmetic before starting school.

He achieved an A* in his maths GCSE when he was eight.

By the age of 10 he had his A-level and could recite and memorise the first 2,000 digits of the mathematical ratio Pi.

He manages to fit his degree into the free hours between practising for grade eight on the clarinet, piano and violin, learning three languages and playing football with his friends every Sunday.

Despite his intellect, Xavier has to be accompanied to his lectures on Monday evenings by his mother because of his age.

But even in a room full of students twice his age he is still top of the class.

His mother Erica, of Haywards Heath, West Sussex said: “He absolutely loves it. It’s one of those things we thought about for a while, but seeing how much he enjoys it has made it all worthwhile.

“People make a lot out of keeping children in their age group, but it is good for him to be among his intellectual equals too. When he’s with kids his own age he’s fine, but when it comes to maths he needs to be with people on his intellectual level.”

Mrs Gordon-Brown added: “He’s at school full time and then goes to Open University lectures in East Grinstead two to three times a month. When he goes to his lectures he has to have an adult with him because of his age.

“When I go I absolutely don’t understand a word of what’s going on.

“But he’s not falling behind. If anything he’s top of the class. And everyone gets on with him really well.” - Daily Mail


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