Age doesn’t matter in a physics lab. Credit: The New York Public Library Digital Collections
In science, youth is not the Holy Grail - despite what you might have heard about young geniuses.
, a professor of network science at Northeastern University, says scientists may produce meaningful work earlier in their careers not because they’re smarter, but because they face more pressure to succeed.
- Scientists don’t get better in their field after making a big discovery, according to Barabasi. “You don’t see success coming,” he says, “nor do we learn from it.”
- Scientists are more likely to make a breakthrough earlier in their careers because they publish more often, says Barabasi. He compares it to gambling: “Think of scientific discoveries as playing the lottery or throwing a dice; so as long as you keep buying tickets, you have a chance of winning the lottery.”
- In science, Barabasi explains, content trumps fame. “Fame brings you visibility,” he says, adding, “It’s the value of what you put in front of me that really matters.”
- You can read Laszlo Barabasi’s original analysis on scientific careers .
- Nature talked with Barabasi about .
- Check out that Barabasi made to go with his paper.