Age dynamics in scientific creativity

Benjamin F. Jones*, Bruce A. Weinberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Data on Nobel Laureates show that the age-creativity relationship varies substantially more over time than across fields. The age dynamics within fields closely mirror field-specific shifts in (i) training patterns and (ii) the prevalence of theoretical contributions. These dynamics are especially pronounced in physics and coincide with the emergence of quantum mechanics. Taken together, these findings show fundamental shifts in the life cycle of research productivity, inform theories of the age-creativity relationship, and provide observable predictors for the age at which great achievements are made.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18910-18914
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 22 2011


  • History of science
  • Innovation
  • Scientific revolutions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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