Why No Einsteins Anymore?

Is Einstein the Last Great Genius?

Major breakthroughs in science have historically been the province of individuals, not institutes. Galileo and Copernicus, Edison and Einstein, toiling away in lonely labs or pondering the cosmos in private studies.

But in recent decades – especially since the Soviet success in launching the Sputnik satellite in 1957 – the trend has been to create massive institutions that foster more collaboration and garner big chunks of funding.

And it is harder now to achieve scientific greatness. A study of Nobel Prize winners in 2005 found that the accumulation of knowledge over time has forced great minds to toil longer before they can make breakthroughs. The age at which thinkers produce significant innovations increased about six years during the 20th century.

The age at which significant innovations are produced increased by six years? Sounds like it was extended the length of our extending the teen years. The years of privilege without responsibility.


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