Scientists are doing their most creative work later in life

Dec 07, 2011

In another illustration of the contributions older people make to society, an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) describes how older scientists are winning Nobel prizes more often these days than in the past. C&EN is the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

C&EN Senior Editor Bethany Halford describes new research showing that the average age at which Nobel laureates in chemistry, physics and physiology or medicine do their prize-winning work is increasing. It shows that since 1960 most Nobel prizes in chemistry have been awarded for work done after the laureate's 40th birthday, while between 1901 and 1960 work done before age 40 predominated.

The research suggests several explanations, including the fact that younger now are spending more time getting advanced doctoral degrees and in temporary research positions afterwards. The study also describes a transition from awarding prizes for theoretical research (which favors younger scientists) to that based on extensive experiments (which favors older scientists).

Explore further: UC Santa Barbara receives $65M from Munger

More information: Scientists Are Doing Their Most Creative Work Later In Life, cen.acs.org/articles/89/i49/Sc… tive-Work-Later.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Keeping acrylic paintings clean poses big challenges

Oct 19, 2011

the medium made famous by artists like Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Robert Motherwell, and David Hockney —pushing 60 years of age, scientists specializing in art conservation are seeking ways to rejuvenate these paintings ...

Israeli woman potential Nobel chemistry winner

Oct 07, 2009

(AP) -- If Nobel judges are looking to improve the balance of women winning the chemistry prize, Israeli scientist Ada Yonath could be a strong candidate when the award is announced Wednesday.

'Narrow' Nobel Prize categories stir debate

Oct 01, 2010

The Nobel Prize categories have basically remained unchanged for more than a hundred years and some critics are calling for them to be expanded to better reflect the modern world.

Recommended for you

UC Santa Barbara receives $65M from Munger

40 minutes ago

A physics institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has received a $65 million donation—the largest single gift in the university's history.

Prophet's ancient seal provides insights from antiquity

6 hours ago

When a personal artifact of a religious leader is discovered nearly 1,700 years after its use, the object provides invaluable historical insights. Zsuzsanna Gulacsi, professor of Comparative Cultural Studies, ...

Billionaires' $10m gift to Yale stirs debate in China

10 hours ago

A Chinese billionaire couple's $10 million gift to Yale University sparked controversy among the country's Internet users Thursday, with some arguing that the money would be better spent on schools in China.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nanobanano
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2011
Probably because it takes so damn long to learn everything involved in the collective knowledge of humanity.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.