Middle-Aged Scientists are Most Potent

Is science a young person's game?

K Brad Wray
Nov 21, 2004
<p>Percent of Scientists in Each Age Group</p>

Is science a young person's game? Many think so; Einstein, Bohr, and Kelvin come to mind as confirming instances. Indeed, youthfulness is alleged to provide many advantages in scientific research. First, some claim that young scientists have more time and energy than their older colleagues. Thus, while older scientists are occupied with gate-keeping and administrative duties, their younger colleagues devote their time to research. As a result, young scientists are thought to be more productive than their older colleagues.

Second, some suggest that young scientists are more creative. Things that older colleagues consider to be beyond question are more apt to be challenged by young scientists. As a result, young scientists are alleged to be responsible for the more radical innovations in science.

Third, some suggest that young scientists are quicker than their older colleagues with respect to accepting innovations. Old scientists, we...

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