When It Comes to Success, Age Really Is Just a Number

Nov 4, 2016

By Benedict Carey

The question hangs over the career of every ambitious soul: Is there still time to make a mark?

Charles Darwin was 29 when he came up with his theory of natural selection. Einstein had his annus mirabilis at age 26; Marie Curie made big discoveries about radiation in her late 20s. Mozart’s Symphony No. 1 in E flat: 8 years old.

For years, scientists who study achievement have noted that in many fields the most electrifying work comes earlier in life rather than later. After all, younger people can devote their life to a project in a way that more senior people cannot, and young stars attract support, mentors and prestigious appointments.

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2 comments on “When It Comes to Success, Age Really Is Just a Number

  • I once went to a lecture by a Nobel prize winner. He said that it was almost impossible to win more than one Nobel prize because once you win, you are besieged with speaking engagement requests, administrative appointments and people who want to talk to you.

    From what I read about Einstein, in youth he was willing to abandon his intuition if the math did not support it, but in later life he was not.

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  • My comments on the Cognitive Benefits thread really belong here. I am as strong believer in “still time”.
    The mind has the ability to expand without limits throughout all the stages of one’s life. A strong desire to have that happen (along with natural ability) is a pre-requisite, however.

    Ah, there he is: my cousin Albert. (Truth. Blood related. Grandfather born in Ulm. I am not clear on the details. But don’t you see the resemblance?)

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