76-year-old Ph.D. Student Finally Graduates After Starting His Research Five Decades Ago

Like most other Ph.D. students, Dr. Nick Axten said that it took him a really long time to get his doctoral thesis in order. Unlike most other Ph.D. students, this newly-graduated doctor is 76 years old! And it took him a good five decades to finally graduate with his Ph.D. at the University of Bristol in mathematical sociology.

The Long Journey

Dr. Nick Axten started his research journey way back in 1970, receiving the prestigious Fulbright Research Scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh. But he returned to the UK after five years, leaving his research unfinished. As Dr. Axten explained, he was trying to do something “exceptionally difficult” at that time, during the early ’70s. According to him, some problems were too complex to grasp within a limited period, and it could take the better part of a lifetime to get the hang of them. Seven years ago, he restarted his education at Bristol, intending to finish an M.A. before starting over with a Ph.D. in Philosophy. Last year, aged 75, he finally finished his doctoral dissertation. And this year, he officially became a graduate and received his degree in front of Claire and Freya, his wife and 11-year-old granddaughter, respectively.

The Doctoral Research

After graduating, Dr. Axten now hopes to publish his Ph.D. research thesis, which builds on the ideas he was working on in the USA five decades ago. In his research, the visionary scholar proposes a new theory of understanding general human behavior based on the personal value each of us holds. According to him, this new theory has enough potential to change the traditional view of behavioral psychology by shedding new light on it. During his long and diverse career, Dr. Axten lived almost all over the UK and worked as the principal author and creator of Oxford Primary Science, a school teaching program with a new approach.