NPR logo

Centenarian Among The Oldest Ever To Earn A Ph.D.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/407447328/407447329" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Centenarian Among The Oldest Ever To Earn A Ph.D.

Education

Centenarian Among The Oldest Ever To Earn A Ph.D.

Centenarian Among The Oldest Ever To Earn A Ph.D.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/407447328/407447329" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

At age 102, Ingeborg Rapoport finally got to defend her doctoral thesis, 77 years after she was prevented from doing so by the Nazis. NPR's Rachel Martin takes note of the milestone.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Last week, a woman named Ingeborg Rapoport finally got a chance to defend her doctoral dissertation 77 years after writing it. Did I mention she's 102 years old? Ms. Rapoport was a 25-year-old PhD student at the University of Hamburg in 1938 when the Nazis derailed her studies because although she was raised Protestant, her mother was Jewish. She made it to the U.S. where she eventually graduated from medical school. After the war when her leftist politics got her into trouble in this in this country, she returned to Germany with her family. There, she founded the country's first neonatology clinic. According to The Wall Street Journal, a few months back, Ms. Rapoport got the notion to try to earn the doctorate the Nazis denied her. Her original thesis was long gone. But with research help from the Internet and friends with better eyesight, last week, she wowed her committee. On June 9, Ingeborg Rapoport will be awarded her degree, likely the oldest person ever to receive a doctorate.

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.