December 09, 2015
On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 07:12:06 UTC, Tony wrote:
> One thing that comes to mind to refute the contention that senescence would be insignificant at the age of 50 is notable technical achievement.
>
> If we were to list the mathematical and scientific discoveries of the past - like calculus and theory of relativity, etc. - how many would have been done by someone at the age of 50 or older? How many milestones in computing history were achieved by someone 50 or older? How many were done by someone over 40? And I think most of the aging process isn't even quality (what would most impact notable discovery) - it's quantity (that is, slower clock cycle). And companies probably have more concerns about quantity of thought than quality.

There has been a significant prime number discovery made by a 50+ guy on prime number recently (on the spacing pattern between them). I can't recall his name.

Alleged inventor of bitcoin is 44 years old. It is not 50+ but it is much closer than 25.

Ivan Godard, behind the Mill is more than 60.

I thin what you are looking at here is that youngster are more willing to take risk. When Einstein say that time is relative and ether doesn't exists, that mass and energy is that same thing and that energy exchange is quantized, he takes the risk of looking like a fool big time. But he has no reputation to loose, and he has no involvement in existing theories.

Later in life, either you were not talented and most likely not made it, or you were talented and busy capitalizing and what you made younger.

Later in his life, he is going to deny quatum physics, not because he has gone mad, but because the more you invest into something (relativity in his case) the harder it is to let go. That's due to cognitive dissonance.
December 09, 2015
On Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 11:27 AM, deadalnix via Digitalmars-d-announce < digitalmars-d-announce@puremagic.com> wrote:

> On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 07:12:06 UTC, Tony wrote:
>
>> One thing that comes to mind to refute the contention that senescence would be insignificant at the age of 50 is notable technical achievement.
>>
>> If we were to list the mathematical and scientific discoveries of the past - like calculus and theory of relativity, etc. - how many would have been done by someone at the age of 50 or older? How many milestones in computing history were achieved by someone 50 or older? How many were done by someone over 40? And I think most of the aging process isn't even quality (what would most impact notable discovery) - it's quantity (that is, slower clock cycle). And companies probably have more concerns about quantity of thought than quality.
>>
>
> There has been a significant prime number discovery made by a 50+ guy on prime number recently (on the spacing pattern between them). I can't recall his name.
>
> Alleged inventor of bitcoin is 44 years old. It is not 50+ but it is much closer than 25.
>
> Ivan Godard, behind the Mill is more than 60.
>
> I thin what you are looking at here is that youngster are more willing to take risk. When Einstein say that time is relative and ether doesn't exists, that mass and energy is that same thing and that energy exchange is quantized, he takes the risk of looking like a fool big time. But he has no reputation to loose, and he has no involvement in existing theories.
>
> Later in life, either you were not talented and most likely not made it, or you were talented and busy capitalizing and what you made younger.
>
> Later in his life, he is going to deny quatum physics, not because he has gone mad, but because the more you invest into something (relativity in his case) the harder it is to let go. That's due to cognitive dissonance.
>

Yeah, its so frustrating that our emotions and concept of self drives our thoughts on any concept we contemplate. If we could blank slate our minds we would have nothing to process the concepts with either so that is no solution, best way is to contemplate many different concepts hoping to be able to process in a way that lacks prejudice. I often say to my wife that idealism and fanaticism are viruses of the mind because of this.


December 09, 2015
On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 07:49:58 UTC, Rory McGuire wrote:
> The number of scarily intelligent people aged over 60 is most likely a lot
> higher than the number of 25 year olds that are so. Its just the way our
> brains work, your brain optimises its thought processes continually, and
> experience is where you get that.

Indeed a very complex matter. In late teens we are probably quicker and learn more easily than later in life. After 25 I don't know how much slow down there has been, but as you get older you also can narrow down which trains of thought that are promising so you use your labour more efficiently. A 20 years old is going all over the place, a 50 years old will ask more questions of what is necessary to get the job done. Which is why the army only want youngsters (<25), older people would just ask too many legitimate questions about how the army is organized...

In research the lack of direction of younger people can be an advantage in terms of finding new fields (e.g. looking in the not so promising areas) at the cost of higher failure rate. The Norwegian mathematician Abel probably did his findings due to not having an advisor to guide him all the way, so he was looking at math from his own angle. But finding new fields is just a very very small part of research, although it makes people famous. So yes, there are more famous young researchers, not because they are smarter, but because they are ignorant enough to walk into new terrain and probably also because they have something to prove before they get tenure. Besides, a lot of discoveries are the result of mistakes or misunderstandings. Young people make mistakes at a higher frequency. Often a bad thing, sometimes a good thing.

Although very young people learn more efficiently, we also have to remember that learning is a skill too, so I think it matters more that one learns continuously and find better ways of learning as one gets older. People who keep their brain active can learn new languages at the age of 80, and in comparison even most teens have trouble learning a new language, yet 2 year olds learn languages like crazy!

So, yeah, 2 year olds are much much better at learning than any other age group. Much better. Are they smarter, than the rest of us? On some metrics they probably are. They consider everything from a fresh angle. But older people can do that too, by training and techniques.

Did I learn faster at the age of 18, than at the age of 40? Yes. Did I learn new technology faster at the age of 25 than at the age of 40? No, I think I learn faster now. Not because the brain is faster, but because I don't need to learn the basics as frequently. But I notice that it is more important to stay active (keep programming) as one gets older.

December 09, 2015
On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 07:49:58 UTC, Rory McGuire wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 9:12 AM, Tony via Digitalmars-d-announce < digitalmars-d-announce@puremagic.com> wrote:
>
>> [snip]
>> One thing that comes to mind to refute the contention that senescence
>> would be insignificant at the age of 50 is notable technical achievement.
>>
>> If we were to list the mathematical and scientific discoveries of the past - like calculus and theory of relativity, etc. - how many would have been done by someone at the age of 50 or older? How many milestones in computing history were achieved by someone 50 or older? How many were done by someone over 40? And I think most of the aging process isn't even quality (what would most impact notable discovery) - it's quantity (that is, slower clock cycle). And companies probably have more concerns about quantity of thought than quality.
>>
>>
>  Lol not sure where you getting all this, but the average 25 year old is a
> dumb ass compared to the average 50 year old. However that being said the
> average 50 year old is a lot less likely to get excited about their work
> and to do something super creative / learning new things. These things are
> not based on their brain activity though, it has a lot more to do with
> social conditioning and disillusionment.
> There are a lot less 50 year olds
> that are motivated to something disruptive in their fields of experience.

I'd be swayed if you could link to interviews with older scientists, mathematicians or computer scientists who said their work declined with age because they became disillusioned or they ran into social conditioning issues.


> The number of scarily intelligent people aged over 60 is most likely a lot
> higher than the number of 25 year olds that are so. Its just the way our
> brains work, your brain optimises its thought processes continually, and
> experience is where you get that.

Rather than the two of us expressing opposing opinions and you loling, we should probably look at research on the matter. Unfortunately, there is some disagreement with regard to cognitive decline. Some see it as a gradual decline from early adulthood and others seeing the decline postponed until later in life.

This paper titled "The myth of cognitive decline"

https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2013/papers/0230/paper0230.pdf

actually appears to acknowledge and accept that speed of reasoning declines with age:

"Findings from a range of psychometric tests suggest that the rates at which the mind  processes information increase from infancy to young adulthood, and decline steadily thereafter  (Salthouse, 2011). Increasing reaction times are a primary  marker  for  age related  cognitive decline  (Deary et al,  2010), and are even considered its  cause  (Salthouse, 1996), yet they are puzzling."

but then attributes it to the brain having to deal with more information rather than having a slower processing speed - a bloated registry, if you will.

"However, age increases the rage of knowledge and skills individuals possess, which increase the overall amount of information processed in their cognitive systems. This extra processing has a cost."

But an employer wouldn't care if an older worker was thinking slower because of physical decline or because they had to sift through more information.
December 09, 2015
On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 09:27:55 UTC, deadalnix wrote:


>
> I thin what you are looking at here is that youngster are more willing to take risk. When Einstein say that time is relative and ether doesn't exists, that mass and energy is that same thing and that energy exchange is quantized, he takes the risk of looking like a fool big time. But he has no reputation to loose, and he has no involvement in existing theories.

Maybe in the field of physics, but is it possible to release things in mathematics or computer science that aren't proven at the time of their announcement?

>
> Later in life, either you were not talented and most likely not made it, or you were talented and busy capitalizing and what you made younger.
>

That's a very good point. Capitalizing or lacking equivalent motivation.
December 09, 2015
On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 10:33:33 UTC, Tony wrote:
> On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 09:27:55 UTC, deadalnix wrote:
>> Later in life, either you were not talented and most likely not made it, or you were talented and busy capitalizing and what you made younger.
>>
>
> That's a very good point. Capitalizing or lacking equivalent motivation.

Actually it isn't. Capitalizing is to a large extent related to superficial aspects such as connections, appearance and playing by the rules. Although some people get famous for being different, they are in the small minority. But it makes better stories and headlines.

December 09, 2015
On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 10:26:03 UTC, Tony wrote:
> I'd be swayed if you could link to interviews with older scientists, mathematicians or computer scientists who said their work declined with age because they became disillusioned or they ran into social conditioning issues.

They are bogged down with teaching and administration and are at that time specialized in an established field and follow the money (research grants which generally focus on what "society needs", i.e. what is established). Academia also focus on having a tally on publishing, which unfortunately does not breed depth, but breadth.

When you do a master you can basically pick up any topic and give in to your own curiosity, most people follow the same area as their master when they move towards a ph.d. So you have a source of "curious noise" at the entry level, but after that there is gravity towards the established. In order to do something new you have to both be really really curious about something and also have the time to go all the way. As you master a field the curiosity probably drops. That said, most ph.d. reports are boring. Media propagates the fairy tales which are the result of that stochastic entry level. You never hear about the 99.9% boring results.

December 09, 2015
On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 10:44:35 UTC, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:
> On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 10:33:33 UTC, Tony wrote:
>> On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 09:27:55 UTC, deadalnix wrote:
>>> Later in life, either you were not talented and most likely not made it, or you were talented and busy capitalizing and what you made younger.
>>>
>>
>> That's a very good point. Capitalizing or lacking equivalent motivation.
>
> Actually it isn't. Capitalizing is to a large extent related to superficial aspects such as connections, appearance and playing by the rules. Although some people get famous for being different, they are in the small minority. But it makes better stories and headlines.

How are you defining "capitalizing"?

December 09, 2015
On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 11:04:46 UTC, Tony wrote:
> How are you defining "capitalizing"?

Climbing the ladder.

Many researchers don't want to climb the ladder (e.g. become head of department or even group leader) because it means that they spend 100% of their time on administration and none on research. So you'll see effects like having the leadership being passed around or being the result of peer pressure. Many already have 50% teaching, then a lot of overhead for administration/supervision, so maybe the time left over for actual research is 40% + spare time. Take any kind of leadership role and the research time may be swallowed by "urgent issues". Some researchers are also very conscious and probably spend more than they should on teaching which further erode available time. Another issue is that on the entry level research is more individualistic, but higher up it pays off to be in the same area as you colleges and being part of a community. So there are many reasons for people with tenure to stick to a smaller research area that they know well, but the bottomline is that if you only have 3 months to produce a quality paper then you have to stay specialized.

IMO, the most interesting papers are still published by experienced researchers, only in the rare cases are their early papers the most interesting.

December 09, 2015
On Wed, 09 Dec 2015 07:12:06 +0000, Tony wrote:

> If we were to list the mathematical and scientific discoveries of the past - like calculus and theory of relativity, etc. - how many would have been done by someone at the age of 50 or older? How many milestones in computing history were achieved by someone 50 or older? How many were done by someone over 40? And I think most of the aging process isn't even quality (what would most impact notable discovery) - it's quantity (that is, slower clock cycle). And companies probably have more concerns about quantity of thought than quality.

Cole 1976 showed that there was scant difference in productivity for natural scientists at the age of 30 and at the age of 50 (measured in terms of the rate of citations of published papers). It looks like the younger ones produced more work and the older ones produced better work.

Specifically for mathematics, Stern 1978 observes that the number of papers produced peaks before the age of 40, but citations per paper grow significantly, so that a mathematician at the age of 55 is likely to be cited as much as one at the age of 40 and significantly more than one below 35.

So unless aging suddenly got much scarier in the past four decades -- but no, you're talking about people in history, which goes back a lot more than four decades.

The availability heuristic is unreliable, but JPass is available for just $20 per month. http://www.jstor.org/stable/284859?seq=1

Of course, this does reinforce the decision to hire younger software engineers. The metrics are about lines of code per day or time to implement something with not a care about software defects, which favors younger developers over older ones.
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