Essex boy aces the astrophysics course at MIT aged just 13
A pint-sized British whizzkid has made his name as a top astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after he aced a rocket science test reserved for undergrads.
Genius Connall Cairns, 13, scored some of the highest marks on the fiendish Aerospace Engineering: Astronautics and Human Spaceflight course with 81 per cent – and he hasn’t even started his GCSEs.
The astonishing teen from Essex juggled his Year 8 studies at Gosford School near Halstead with advanced classes at MIT.
Boy wonder Connall is yet to start science GCSEs and still managed to power through the online orbital mechanics, microgravity and space physiology course.
He said: “Rocket science has fascinated me since I was about seven years old.
“The course was very mathematical so I had to teach myself how to understand the equations.
“It was fun.”
Now Connall has mastered Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation and Newton’s law of universal gravitation.
His teachers realised Connall might get bored at school if he didn’t have extra challenges, so at one parents’ evening they suggested he should enrol on a uni course.
Teacher Joanne Lambert said: “I recommended the course at MIT. He has an inquisitive mind and I knew he would enjoy the challenge.”
Mum and surrealist artist Chirsty Cairns explained her son rejected art, drama, singing and sport from an early age — but shown an interest in science.
She said: “He was different from his peers — he preferred reading to football or playing chase games.
“But the school and other children have been very supportive.”
Gifted Connall has now enrolled for a new course studying stellar physics at the Australian National Uni.
And in the future he plans to abandon astronomy for his preferred discipline of nuclear physics.
He added: “I’ve been fascinated by atoms and how they work since I was seven.”