Age and scientific genius

Benjamin F. Jones, E. J. Reedy, Bruce A. Weinberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

29 Scopus citations


Great scientific output typically peaks in middle age. A classic literature has emphasized comparisons across fields in the age of peak performance. More recent work highlights a large underlying variation in age and creativity patterns, where the average age of great scientific contributions has risen substantially since the early 20th century, and some scientists make pioneering contributions much earlier or later in their life cycle than others. We review these literatures and show how the nexus between age and great scientific insight can inform the nature of creativity, the mechanisms of scientific progress, and the design of institutions that support scientists, while providing further insights about the implications of aging populations, education policies, and economic growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Handbook of Genius
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781118367353
ISBN (Print)9781118367407
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Aging
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Life cycle
  • Science
  • Scientific revolutions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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