One is never too old to learn as the love of knowledge knows no boundaries. That is the message this 89-year-old retired professor wants to convey to young people. Manfred Steiner just earned his PhD in Physics only a few weeks away from his 90th birthday. This is actually his third doctorate and the distinguished professor isn’t showing any signs of stopping as he continues to thrive to gain more knowledge in his chosen field.
Steiner worked as a professor of medicine at Brown University’s medical school before his retirement. However, he admitted that medicine wasn’t actually his first love – it was physics. He grew up in Vienna, Austria and spent his early years in tribulation brought by the mayhem of World War II. As a child, he had always been fascinated by physics and dreamed of studying it when he grows up. But his family convinced him to study medicine because it is the more profitable course. Forced to cope up with the post-war crashing economy, young Steiner decided to take up the better path and study medicine instead.
Manfred Steiner Earned His PhD in Physics At Age 89
In 1955, he earned his M.D. from the University of Vienna. Soon after, he immigrated to the US where he pursued hematology at Tufts University and biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He obtained his PhD in biochemistry, his second doctorate, from MIT in 1967. A year later, he was hired as an assistant professor at a medical school in Brown University, which is now known as the Warren Alpert Medical School. For 26 years, he trained elite doctors and researchers at Brown. And in 1994, he decided to quit academic profession for a stint of research in North Carolina.
In 2000, he decided to retire from medicine and return to Rhode Island to spend his retirement years. However, his lifelong dream of pursuing physics kept haunting him. With plenty of time to spare and nothing to lose, he finally decided to follow his true passion and realize his dream of obtaining his third PhD. At age 70, he took up physics at MIT and took a few classes per semester. With his health in consideration, he transferred to Brown to avoid the commute to Boston.
The road to earn a PhD in Physics wasn’t easy considering his age. But his dedication led him to triumph all challenges. After 21 years of studying, Steiner finally made his dream come true when he earned his third doctorate. He takes pride on his dissertation entitled, “Corrections to the Geometrical Interpretation of Bosonization” which he plans to rework for publication. When asked if he regrets not following his personal choice back then, Steiner says he doesn’t regret it at all. He said had a good life and enjoyed working in academic medicine. And he also wanted the younger generations to never stop learning and keep chasing their dreams regardless of age.