LOOKING into the future of the universe may be an ambitious project for retirement years, but not for 68-years-old Edward Reeves who has just been awarded a PhD in cosmology from the University of Manchester. On the other hand, this is a man well used to study, because for 24 years, Mr Reeves of Field Terrace, Worcester was head of mathematics at the city's King's School, the school's assistant master for four years and examined at A-level for both Oxford and Cambridge.

Even so, he found studying for his PhD a challenge. "I did virtually all the work at home," he explained. "I'd shut myself away and it was five hours a day of very intense study."

After retiring from King's in 2006, he enrolled as a postgraduate student with the particle physics group and the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. "I've always been fascinated by gravity, probably because no-one can really explain it," said Mr Reeves and his cosmology PhD was awarded in the field of "aspects of modified gravity".

A well known figure in Worcester, he is both a former president and secretary of Worcester South Rotary Club, involved with the city's twinning activities with Kleve and Le Vesinet, editor of his parish magazine, and both Mr Reeves and his wife Ruth are members of Worcester Festival Choral Society. Looking ahead, he will need to sort out gown and hood hire for his graduation day in Manchester in July.