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Maths genius secures postgraduate degree at 18

12 July 2013

Two years ago he secured a first class undergraduate degree aged 15; now maths genius Alex Thorne has done it again, completing his postgraduate research degree at the ripe old age of 18.

Alex, who will graduate from Cardiff University on Monday 15th July, has completed his course, becoming a Master of Philosophy (MPhil), at the same time as preparing for his A-levels. He now plans to do a quantum theory PhD at St John's College, Oxford.

Alex secured a first class degree in maths three years ago and only months later returned a clean-sweep of A* grades in his GCSEs. He took his first GCSEs, in mathematics, during the last year of primary school and his A-levels in the first year of secondary school, six years ahead of time.

Speaking about his achievements Alex said: "Attending university for first an undergraduate degree and then a masters alongside my GCSEs and A Levels has certainly not been easy. But my time at Cardiff University has allowed me to challenge myself and to pursue my interests in a way I could not have done had I stayed at school alone. By staying at Howells School in Llandaff, I was able to keep in contact with my peer group and study a range of subjects besides maths.

"Doing a research course, I needed to be onsite at the School of Maths less often, but the workload was very high and at times managing it alongside school work was challenging. Coming home from a full day at school and having to work on maths in the evening was sometimes stressful."

Alex’s research is themed around Einstein’s theory of relativity and he has been looking specifically at trying to prove positive mass theorem in higher dimensions.

He added: "Although I haven't been able to make full use of the postgraduate facilities at Cardiff, I am grateful that the University was able to accommodate my needs, and I'm also very grateful to the School of Maths for everything they've done for me over the last six years."


For more information or to arrange an interview with Alex contact:

Amy Stackhouse
Public Relations
Cardiff University
E: or T: 02920 870997

Notes to editors:

About Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans FRS. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff's three flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places.

About the School of Mathematics

The School of Mathematics is recognised for its international research excellence in Analysis and Differential Equations, Applied Mathematics, Mathematical Physics, Operational Research and Statistics. Each field has its own highly active research group, which collaborates with leading academic researchers throughout the world.

Research interests encompass a number of exciting contemporary topics including spectral theory of differential operators, quantum field theory, non-commutative geometry, numerical analysis, fluid mechanics, materials modelling, imaging science, optimization, probability and statistics. Many topics offer opportunities in professional and industrial engagement. Novel application areas include computational rheology, inverse problems, and the mathematics of healthcare.

In the recent independent assessment of research quality in British universities, the School was submitted under Pure Mathematics and was ranked 8th in the UK for research power.

The School offers a lively postgraduate environment, with a significant number of postgraduate students working in its specialist areas. Undergraduate students are offered a wide choice of degree programmes, covering an extensive and exciting range of mathematics and its applications.