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Understanding Why Nobel Prize Winners in Science Tend to Be Over 65

By Jonathan Wells, 9:00 am on

These days it is almost unheard of for people involved in physics, chemistry, or medicine to get a Nobel Prize before the age of 65. To better understand this recent phenomenon, researchers have looked into statistics, history, and recent developments in the hard sciences. Douglas County senior care experts discuss a few theories as to why so many great scientific minds have to wait so long to get the recognition they deserve.

More People Working in Scientific Fields

One reason why many Nobel Prize-winning scientists have to wait until their golden years to receive their recognition is because there is so much more competition. For example, 100 years ago there were roughly 1,000 physicists in the world. However, today there are approximately one million physicists on the globe. One way the Nobel Committee tries to keep things fair is to take each scientist’s seniority into account.

A Larger Body of Work to Study

The world has seen so many revolutions in the world of science that it simply takes scientists more time to absorb the centuries of information. Scientists are now tasked with learning many theories and experiments that came before them, and it can often take a lifetime to make a truly novel contribution to any scientific field. 

20th Century Revolutions

The 20th century saw many scientific revolutions in the fields of physics, medicine, and chemistry. One of these major breakthroughs was quantum mechanics. The sheer novelty of quantum mechanics drove the Nobel Committee to recognize younger physicists like Paul Dirac to support the growth of the field. Perhaps the older Nobel laureates of today are but a reflection of the established nature of fields like quantum mechanics. 

Increased Regulations

Over the years, the Nobel Committee has added regulations and different qualifications for what constitutes a real scientific breakthrough. With these added and complex regulations, it can be more difficult for scientists just starting out in their respective fields to conform to all the protocols of the Nobel Committee. Even if these younger scientists make breakthroughs earlier in life, their results are put under higher scrutiny from the Nobel Committee than in years past.

The achievements these winners have made prove it is possible to maintain cognitive health well into the senior years. If your elderly loved one needs more mental stimulation in his or her life, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of Alzheimer’s and dementia care Douglas County, CO, and we also offer comprehensive stroke and Parkinson’s care. For more information on our elder care services, please call 720-287-1685 to speak with one of our qualified Care Managers.