List of Top 10 Youngest PhD Holders In History

youngest people to earn a phd
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Have you been contemplating at what age is best to bag a PhD Degree? Then this post on the Youngest PhD Holders in History will encourage and guide you.

Often times, most graduates who consider going for a post graduate degree contemplate on whether to go or not go. This can come as a result of extra years of schooling, rigorous research, and also the amount of time to be spent in becoming a specialist in their field.

Nevertheless, we have compiled names of these outstanding individuals who are currently the youngest PhD holders in history to inspire and encourage you.

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List of Top 10 Youngest PhD Holders In History

Erik Demaine – Earned PhD at Age 20

Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, Erik Demaine did not require a traditional road for his education. As a child prodigy, he spent time traveling across North America with his father, an artist-sculptor who also home-schooled him. While at home, Demaine developed an interest in computer and mathematics.

At age 12, he started studying at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and completed his bachelor’s degree at 14. He then proceeded to the University of Waterloo where he got his PhD by the time he was 20 years old. This achievement became one of the youngest PhD in history.

Akshay Venkatesh – Earned PhD at age 20

Akshay Venkatesh, an Australian of Indian descent is one of those who can be described as born great. At the age of 11, he competed at the 24th International Physics Olympiad, an International Physics Competition for kids in grades 6-12, in Williamsburg, Virginia and won a bronze medal.

Akshay matriculated at the University of Western Australia where he graduated three years later at age 16 as the youngest student ever to earn a First Class Honours in Pure Mathematics from the school. He also received the J.A.Woods Memorial Prize as the best graduand of the year from the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Dentistry, and Medicine.

As his desire for knowledge continued, he proceeded to Princeton University where he earned his PhD in 2002 at a young age of 20. This made him one of the youngest PhD holders in the world.

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Charles Homer Haskins – Earned PhD at Age 19

Charles Homer Haskins born in Meadville, Pennsylvania was a prodigy and was fluent in both Latin and Greek as a young boy.

He graduated from Johns Hopkins University at the age of 16. Later on, he became the youngest person to receive a PhD in history at the age of 19 from the same university.

In 1890, he procured a teaching position at Johns Hopkins after which, he functioned as a professor at Wisconsin University. He then moved to work at Harvard where he generated a graduate studies program that is still being utilized now.

He is referred to as the first medieval historian in the US and is well respected for his 1927 book The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century and his academic work on the Norman institutions.

Juliet Beni – Earned PhD at Age 19


At age 15, Juliet Beni was already a high school senior.  In 2012, she graduated from the University of California, River Side with her doctorate in psychology. She also graduated as the youngest Ph.D. ever in the University of California’s history.

Her lifelong goal is to be a medical doctor and has enrolled as a student in  Irvine’s Haider program in Biomedical Science, University of California. She hopes to pursue her passion for medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Sho Yano – Earned PhD at Age 18

Sho Timothy Yano was a child prodigy with an estimated IQ of 200. At age two, he was reported to have started reading, writing at three, playing classical music on the piano at four and was already composing at five.

By the time he got to 8, he scored 1500 out of 1600 on the SAT which was seen as a stress test. He graduated from the American School of Correspondence at 9 and then entered Loyola University Chicago where he graduated at 12.

Yano proceeded to the University of Chicago and became the youngest person with a PhD in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology at 18.

Norbert Wiener – Earned PhD at Age 17


Norbert Wiener, a German-born in  Columbia was also a child prodigy. Norbert was homeschooled by his father as a young boy in mathematics. At 11, he graduated from Ayer High school and then entered Tufts College(now called Tufts University). In 1909, he was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at the age of 14.

Norbert did not immediately pursue the other advanced level education within the field. He started studying zoology and philosophy before turning his focus back to mathematics. In 1912, at 17, he earned his PhD as the youngest PhD in the history of Havard University.

As someone who has always loved learning and challenges, he worked briefly as a journalist and also helped to automate the anti-aircraft weaponry that was used during World War II.

Finally, he originated cybernetics and also did pioneering work which paved the way to what the field has developed into now.

Ruth Lawrence – Earned PhD at Age 17


Ruth Lawrence, an England born gained an O’level in mathematics and also a Grade A at A-level pure mathematics at 9. In 1985, At 13, she became the youngest British person to gain a first-class degree and also graduate from the University of Oxford in modern times. She also got another bachelor’s degree in Physics the following year.

At 17, she was the youngest person with a PhD in Mathematics from Oxford University before becoming a junior fellow at Harvard University at 19. she later became an associate professor at the University of Michigan.

Ruth later moved to Israel where she accepted the post of an associate professor of mathematics at the Einstein Institute of Mathematics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

She is known today for her work in the fields of Algebraic Topology and Knot theory.

Balamurali Ambati – Earned PhD at Age 17


Balamurali Ambati, an Indian American Ophthalmologist was an exceptional kid as a young boy. According to his parents, he was already solving calculus which most teenagers found difficult at 4. At 11, he co-authored a research publication on the issue of AIDS.

He graduated from New York University at the age of 13 and then continued his study at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. In 1995, he graduated at 17 and became the world’s youngest doctor, as seen in the Guinness Book of Record.

Balamural later moved on to finish most of his necessary medical training. At the age of 24, he became the youngest practicing doctor up to now.

As a result of his expertise, he can utilize his abilities to help a number of people today. He is associated with research studies and works globally and international performing complex surgeries and medical procedures.

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Kim Ung-Yong – Earned PhD at Age 15


Kim Ung Yong is a South Korean child prodigy and held a Guinness Book for World Record for the highest IQ at a score of 210. He was said to have learned both Korean Alphabets and 1,000 Chinese characters when he was one. At 3, he could solve calculus problems and also published a best-selling book.

By the time he got to 5, Ung Yong got enrolled at Grant High School, Los Angeles after he caught the attention of the school. He also appeared on Fuji TV in Japan and solved differential equations.

At 8, he went to study nuclear physics at the University of Colorado where he graduated with a master’s degree and later on, took a job at NASA. He became one of the youngest PhD holders at the age of 15.

Despite this achievement, Ung-Young was not always joyful in those early years. He, therefore, warns that academic success does not necessarily equal success and achievement.

Presently, he’s a professor at Chungbuk National University, where he can help develop the potential in others.

Karl Witte – Earned PhD at Age 13

Karl Witte was the youngest person to ever receive a PhD, born in 1800 and died in 1883. As a child, he was used as a subject for a book written by his father: “The Training of the Child”.

At the age of 9, Witte could speak various languages like German, French, Italian, Latin, and Greek.

When Karl got to 13, he earned a PhD at the University of Giessen, Germany. This made him a Guinness Book of World Record as the youngest PhD holder in the world; a record yet to be beaten.

In 1818, it was said that he travelled to Italy to further his education and eventually become a lawyer. Later on, he developed a love for literature and became an established scholar of this Italian poet, Dante.

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