London - It is quite an achievement at any age. But gaining a first-class degree in maths at 15 is nothing short of remarkable.
That’s just what Yasha Asley has done – collecting his diploma just a month after his 15th birthday, making him one of the country’s youngest ever graduates.
And this young Einstein – aptly nicknamed the ‘human calculator’ – did it in style, achieving 92 per cent. The University of Leicester graduate was awarded his BSc on Tuesday, accompanied by his father, Moussa, a 54-year-old Iranian who quit his job as an accountant to look after his only child.
Yasha, who took his A-levels aged eight, now plans to start a PhD in mathematics at Leicester in September, and aspires to become a research mathematician.
But his father insisted his life wasn’t only about maths.
Mr Asley, from Leicester, said: "He didn’t study all the time – that would be awful. Yasha was top of the class with grades higher than anyone else."
"As well as his grades he’s always been sociable, friendly and very popular. I am so proud of him – I have waited years for this day." The teenager, who said he never felt nervous before exams, said: "Right from my primary school days I wanted to start my university education early."
"At 15 years’ old, I finished my degree course when children of my age are doing their GCSEs, and I am grateful for the opportunity that was created for me."
Yasha, whose parents separated when he was one, started reading at a very early age and can speak French, Arabic and Persian.
When he was ten, he achieved an A* in A-level statistics, having secured an A* in maths and an A in pure maths aged eight.
He is believed to be the youngest person in the world to have achieved a grade A or A* in maths – scoring 100 per cent and 99 per cent in two of the six papers.
The prodigy was privately enrolled on to A-level examinations by his father without telling the boy’s headmaster at Folville Junior School in Leicester, and took them at a local college.
Although his achievement is spectacular, Yasha is not quite the youngest to be awarded a first-class degree.
In 1985, aged 13, Ruth Lawrence collected her first-class maths diploma at Oxford.
The teenager, from Huddersfield, was tutored by her father Harry. He attended all of her lectures and they even went to see her results posted on a board together – arriving on a tandem bicycle.
Now 45, she lives with her family in Jerusalem and teaches maths at the Hebrew University.
She is an expert in the field of mathematical knots, an extremely complex branch of algebra.
Ten under-17s have graduated in the UK since 2012, although their precise ages were not recorded.