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TCU鈥檚 youngest undergraduate is about to be its youngest Ph.D.

Carson Huey-You first came to TCU as a 10-year-old aspiring physics student. He began an incredible journey when he started classes at age 11, and this Commencement will bring a third and final chapter in his remarkable academic story.鈥 

In spring 2017, Carson became the university鈥檚 youngest undergrad when he earned a bachelor鈥檚 in physics at the age of 14.鈥 

He walked the stage once again in December 2019, wearing the academic hood that comes with a master鈥檚 degree.鈥 

On May 11, 2024, Carson will become the youngest Ph.D. in TCU history when he accepts his doctorate diploma in physics at age 21.鈥 

The Horned Frog has spent more than half his lifetime at TCU.鈥 

鈥淚 effectively grew up on campus, and I鈥檓 thankful for how safe and accommodating everyone made it,鈥 said Carson. 鈥淒r. Rittby has been there as an advisor, mentor and even father figure from the very beginning.鈥濃 

Magnus Rittby, professor of physics in TCU鈥檚 College of Science & Engineering, is a big part of the reason Carson pursued his three degrees at TCU.鈥 

Rittby and other faculty gave Carson鈥檚 mother, Claretta Kimp, confidence that her gifted youngster (who could read chapter books and do calculus by the age of three) would be challenged, inspired and safe at TCU. Carson minored in Mandarin Chinese and mathematics while studying and doing physics research with Rittby.鈥 

What鈥檚 next for the soon-to-be Dr. Huey-You?鈥 

Carson explains his work as simply as possible (for the rest of us):鈥 

鈥淢y research is in theoretical quantum physics. Rather than running experiments in a lab, I work through equations and write computer code in order to solve problems or describe certain behavior,鈥 he said. 鈥淨uantum physics is a wide-reaching field, covering most interactions at the molecular level or smaller (atomic, subatomic, etc.). One thing we run into is that most problems in quantum physics don鈥檛 have 鈥榚xact鈥 solutions 鈥 we rely on using certain methods to accurately 鈥榓pproximate鈥 the solutions instead.鈥 

He鈥檚 ready to get to work. 

鈥淣ow that I鈥檓 finally graduating, I鈥檒l be taking a quick rest to catch up on other things,鈥 Carson said. 鈥淎fter that it鈥檒l be right back to work in search of a research job!鈥濃 

His mother looks back fondly on the past 11 years, calling TCU 鈥渉er God-sent village鈥 and crediting the university for creating a supportive environment for her sons (younger brother Cannan also attended TCU as an advanced young undergraduate).鈥 

Rittby and other faculty members spent hours riding along with Carson back when he pursued his driver鈥檚 license as a 16-year-old grad student.鈥疞ike her son, Kimp feels indebted to Rittby.鈥 

鈥淚 knew Carson was in his element 鈥 which was to absorb knowledge. TCU made his dreams come true,鈥 Kimp said. 鈥淗owever, none of this would have been possible without Magnus鈥檚 love and support. Carson is actually a mini-Magnus on so many levels. Magnus taught Carson everything he knew about theoretical quantum mechanics and mathematics.鈥濃

Carson, brother and Magnus
Carson, right, with brother Cannan and Magnus Rittby

The 鈥渇ather figure鈥 is proud and delighted with how things turned out for his mentee, humbly giving credit to faculty support and TCU鈥檚 culture for creating a welcoming academic journey for the exceptional Huey-You brothers, as he stated during a TCU advancement campaign:鈥

鈥淐arson had several offers from other schools for graduate school but chose to remain at TCU. I think that speaks volumes about who we are as an institution, but even more so about the quality, passion and empathy of our faculty who embraced Carson and his family from Day One.鈥濃 

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