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TCU’s 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.  

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

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

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.   

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

“I effectively grew up on campus, and I’m thankful for how safe and accommodating everyone made it,” said Carson. “Dr. Rittby has been there as an advisor, mentor and even father figure from the very beginning.”  

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

Rittby and other faculty gave Carson’s 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.  

What’s next for the soon-to-be Dr. Huey-You?  

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

“My 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,” he said. “Quantum 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’t have ‘exact’ solutions — we rely on using certain methods to accurately ‘approximate’ the solutions instead.” 

He’s ready to get to work. 

“Now that I’m finally graduating, I’ll be taking a quick rest to catch up on other things,” Carson said. “After that it’ll be right back to work in search of a research job!”  

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

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

“I knew Carson was in his element — which was to absorb knowledge. TCU made his dreams come true,” Kimp said. “However, none of this would have been possible without Magnus’s 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.”  

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

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

“Carson 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.”  

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