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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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« Way Too Much Hydrofluoric Acid | Main | The 2012 Nobel In Chemistry. Yes, Chemistry. »

October 9, 2012

The Age of Nobel Chemistry Laureates

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Posted by Derek

In anticipation of tomorrow's Nobel Prize, here's a graph of the average age of Nobel chemistry laureates. (Link via Stuart Cantrill). It runs about like you'd figure - lots of people in their 50s, which should make some of us feel good, I suppose (!) I'd like to see this charted over time to see if there are any trends that way. Update - I should scroll down more! They have that data at the link above. Note also that chemistry is still one of the "younger" disciplines by average age. . . We already know a bit about changes in the ages of grantees and highly-cited papers; it would be interesting to see if that shows up in the Nobel data as well. . .

Comments (10) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Who Discovers and Why


COMMENTS

1. My 0.02 on October 9, 2012 10:20 AM writes...

Derek,

So you are not going to run a predication for this year's prize?

Permalink to Comment

2. Morten G on October 9, 2012 10:35 AM writes...

"I'd like to see this charted over time to see if there are any trends that way. We already know a bit about changes in the ages of grantees and highly-cited papers; it would be interesting to see if that shows up in the Nobel data as well. . ."

You do realise that you linked to that graph in your own blog post, yeah?

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/lists/laureates_ages/chemistry_ages.html
"Average age of Nobel Laureates during the past century"

Permalink to Comment

3. Morten G on October 9, 2012 10:40 AM writes...

The interesting trend in my eyes in the increase in number of people award the chemistry prize each year. 8-13 per decade from 1901 to 1960 and then an almost even increase by two per decade from 1951 to 2010.

Permalink to Comment

4. patentgeek on October 9, 2012 10:46 AM writes...

It'd be interesting to compare age trends between chemist and physicist Nobel laureates, regarding when their top work was done. Physics, especially theoretical and high energy physics, is famously a young person's game, while chemists are known (at least anecdotally) for frequently improving their game well into later years. Another consoling thought for those of us past the half-century mark, perhaps.

Permalink to Comment

5. My 0.02 on October 9, 2012 11:12 AM writes...

@patentgeek,

50 is the new 30.

Permalink to Comment

6. Curious Wavefunction on October 9, 2012 11:52 AM writes...

I think it's best to be an economist if you really want to stand a chance of winning a Nobel Prize even in your later years. Of course in the case of the economics Nobel, "later years" might translate to "dead".

Permalink to Comment

7. Sucker on October 9, 2012 2:31 PM writes...

High energy physics is now (thankfully) quite dead as demonstrated by the winner of this years nobel prize for physics.

Permalink to Comment

8. Petros on October 9, 2012 4:11 PM writes...

Physics might be younger person's chance but the youngest physics laureate, Lawrence Bragg, won the prize in 1915 (at 25). I think Brian Josephson at 33 in 1973 was the next youngest.

Contrast 79 year old John Gurdon's share of the Medicine Prize yesterday for work done in 1962!

Permalink to Comment

9. ddddddd on October 9, 2012 5:19 PM writes...

Am I crazy or is the youngest Nobel laureate not William L Bragg at the age of 25?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Lawrence_Bragg

Permalink to Comment

10. Mad Scientist on October 10, 2012 3:58 PM writes...

Rats, I'm not on the Nobel list for this year.
I'll have to try again upon my next reincarnation.

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