Alia Sabur: World’s Youngest Professor

4 minute read
Alia Sabur: World’s Youngest Professor

Being a professor at the age of 18 might sound absolutely unattainable but wait till you hear the story of Alia Sabur! The world’s youngest professor, Alia Sabur made the Guinness World Record for being a lecturer in the Department of Advanced Technology Fusion at Seoul’s Konkuk University at the age of 18. Stories like this are quite uncommon and amusing. In this article, we will gain insight into the phenomenal journey of Alia Sabur, the world’s youngest professor.

About Alia Sabur

Source: Financial Times
Age32 years old
BirthdayFebruary 22, 1989 
Birth PlaceNew York City
FieldMaterial Science
EmploymentKonkuk University, Seoul

Life of Alia Sabur

The news of Alia Sabur being the youngest professor left the entire world awestruck, wondering about her intellectual giftedness.


Early Life and Family

Born on February 22, 1989, Alia showed signs of being a child prodigy since her early years. She was born in a simple household in New York City and started reading when she was only eight months old! Her father, Mohammed Sabur, a Pakistan native, was an electrical engineer. Her mother, Julia Sabur worked as a reporter for News12 Long Island until 1995 when she left her job to manage Alia’s education. 

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Extraordinary Educational Journey

At first, Alia was admitted to a public school to get adequate socialisation and education like other kids. She became an accomplished clarinettist and earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do at the age of 9.  According to an educator who tested her in the first grade, her IQ was tested “off the scale.” These extraordinary learning abilities made her unfit for the ordinary school curriculum which she completed at the age of five. At 10 years old, she came to Stony Brook University to earn a science degree in Applied Mathematics.

Higher Studies

Alia Sabur attended Drexel University where she achieved her M.Sc in 2006 and later, her PhD in material science and engineering. Alia was the recipient of the 2007 Dean fellowship from Drexel University. In 2007 she took a temporary position at Southern University in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

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Professional Life of Alia Sabur

Despite having achieved the unexpected, the exceptional professional career path of Alia was not free of obstacles. 

Youtube: Alia Sabur


In 2008, she had to file a civil suit against Drexel University, claiming that the university engaged in fraud and defamation regarding Sabur’s pursuit of a doctoral degree. Alia charged her former PhD advisor, Yury Gogotsi, for improperly using her research to apply for grants and patents, taking over her credits, and deliberately obstructing her degree. He, in turn, accused her of stealing the work. Trial proceedings began on August 9, 2010. During this time, Sabur took a professorship teaching advanced technology fusion in South Korea. The lawsuit went into private arbitration, and, although the results are confidential, Sabur says she was cleared of any accusations.

Worldwide Recognition

Source: Guinness World Record

On 19 February 2008, three days before her 19th birthday, she was appointed to the position of International Professor as Research Liaison with Stony Brook University by the Dept. of Advanced Technology Fusion at Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. It was a temporary one-year contract. This distinction made Alia Sabur the youngest professor ever and entitled her to the World Guinness Record Certificate. The position was earlier held by Colin Maclaurin who held a mathematics professorship at the University of Aberdeen at the age of 19. 

She started working at the Department of Advanced Technology Fusion at the Konkuk University in June 2008. After one year, she returned to New York City without renewing her contract.

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Source: Globally Young Voices

Her contribution not only as a professor but a researcher at such a young age has been groundbreaking and praiseworthy. She worked towards developing nanotube-based cellular probes for use in medical research to cure diseases like cancer. She also showed interest in developing non-invasive optical blood glucose meters for diabetic patients. Her idea to alleviate the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been instrumental and even considered by British Petroleum.

Whether it be her early academic excellence or later, research work, her dedication and hard work towards her ambition are equally to be praised over labelling it just as some ‘god giftedness.’ Miracles don’t happen in isolation. 

Her success story gives inspiration and aspiration to many especially young girls looking out to make their career despite the discriminatory nature of the academic fields. If you are looking forward to excelling in your academics and need any advice or guidance, connect with Leverage Edu experts today!  

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