HUDDERSFIELD, England -- A 10-year-old girl has won a mathematics scholarship to Oxford University -- at the top of the class of 530 entrants and beating the best brains in Britain's high schools.
Ruth Lawrence has never been to school and has been coached at home by her father who gave up his job as a computer consultant to teach his daughter.
'She is clearly absolutely brilliant,' said Rachel Trickett, principal of St.Hugh's College where Ruth will study.
The entrance examination to Oxford University is the toughest pre-university test in Britain and attracts the cleverest children from the country's best schools. A total of 530 pupils, aged 18 and 19, took the mathematics tests.
Ruth beat them all.
'I am so excited,' she said. 'I can't see any problems developing.'
She will go up to Oxford in 1983 when she is 12 to become the university's youngest scholar. Her parents will move house from Yorkshire to be with her.
Ruth has not mixed a great deal with other children because she has been taught at home 'but she plays the piano and has quite a wide range of interests,' her father, Harry lawrence said. She didn't work any harder than other children of her age but concentrated on what she enjoyed - mathematics.
'She watches television a little, but not as a habit.'
Lawrence gave up his job to teach Ruth when she was five.
'We did not start off with the thought that she should not go to school,' he told the Sunday Times 'but we enjoyed teaching her so much and we seemed to be making quite a good job of it.'
At the age of nine, Ruth passed exams most children tackle when they are 15. Last September she enrolled at technical college and her ambition is to become a math professor in her teens.
'I have not come across anyone like Ruth in 15 years of teaching and nor have my colleagues,' said Oxford lecturer Mary Lunn. 'She is clearly outstanding and well deserves the description of genius.'