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AP profile makes an unlikely hero of 89-year-old Ph.D

Manfred Steiner, who earned his Ph.D. in physics from Brown University at the age of 89, displays his doctorate thesis on his laptop at his home in East Providence, R.I., Nov. 10, 2021. After retiring from his career in medicine in 2000, Steiner pursued his dream of earning a doctorate in physics. (AP Photo / Stew Milne)

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Rhode Island reporter Jennifer McDermott spins the charming story of an 89-year-old man who has earned his Ph.D. in physics from Brown University. The all-formats package gave us a hero we didn’t know we needed and became an instant hit.

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Manfred Steiner, in his home office in East Providence, R.I., Nov. 10, 2021. – AP Photo / Stew Milne

McDermott and freelance photographer Stew Milne caught up with Manfred Steiner at his home in East Providence. McDermott used her smartphone to shoot key video elements that AP Boston video journalist Rodrique Ngowi skillfully edited into an engaging video piece.

Steiner, who’d emigrated from Austria decades earlier, excitedly explained how he’d always wanted to earn a doctorate in a discipline he had admired throughout his life. “It was something like a wish that was never fulfilled, that always stuck in the back of my head,” he said.

The package was one of the week’s bestsellers,drawing impressive use by AP customers,with high reader engagement and strong social media reach.

Steiner’s advice resonated: Do what you love to do. “Do pursue it because later in life you maybe regret it,that you didn’t do that,” he said. “You wish you could’ve followed this dream.”

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