• Nick Axten, now 76 years old, commenced his research on mathematical sociology for his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in the US back in 1970
  • Recently, the University of Bristol awarded him a Doctor of Philosophy degree in a ceremony witnessed by his wife and his 11-year-old granddaughter
  • Axten had been the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright scholarship, but he stated that his research had been complicated

After over 50 years since starting his PhD in 1970, Nick Axten has finally graduated. The now 76-year-old had to engage in “a long hard think” over the intervening decades.


Complicated Research

In 1970, Axten was awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship for a PhD in mathematical sociology at the University of Pittsburgh in the US.

However, after five years, he returned to the UK without completing his PhD. The University of Bristol has since awarded him a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Axten’s wife, Claire Axten, and 11-year-old granddaughter, Freya, were in attendance for the ceremony, as reported by the BBC.

Axten remarked that the task he attempted to achieve in the early 1970s was exceptionally challenging.

“Some problems are so great it takes the best part of a lifetime to get your head around them. They need a long hard think. This one has taken me 50 years.”

His latest research, which he intends to publish, is an extension of the ideas he developed in the US five decades ago.

His new theory aims to comprehend human behaviour by examining the values held by each individual.


Going Back To School

Axten believes that this new theory can potentially transform the understanding of behavioural psychology.

He further revealed that he loved being a student again at Bristol University and that back in the 1970s, all other graduate students were around 23, but they accepted him as one of their own.

Axten returned to the University of Bristol in 2016 to pursue an MA in Philosophy at 69.

He subsequently embarked on a PhD programme in Philosophy at the same university, completing it in 2022 at 75.

According to Axten’s supervisor at the University of Bristol, Samir Okasha, Axten was an extremely dedicated, dynamic, and enthusiastic student during his time at the institution.

Axten had a diverse professional career, living in different parts of the UK. He created and served as the principal author of the Oxford Primary Science teaching program.

He currently resides in Wells, Somerset, with his wife and has two children and four grandchildren.

Grandfather Earns Doctorate

In a similar story, at age 70, Joseph Grant walked across the stage to receive his doctoral degree in Political Science from Howard University, HU, making himself proud in 2021.

He is proof that a person is never too old to follow their dreams and achieve them.

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