Marriage And Great Science Dont’ Mix

Posted on May 31, 2006 

Marriage And Great Science Dont’ Mix

Several years ago, Satoshi Kanazawa, then a psychologist at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, analyzed a biographical database of 280 great scientists–mathematicians, physicists, chemists, and biologists. When he calculated the age of each scientist at the peak of his career–the sample was predominantly male–Kanazawa noted an interesting trend. After a crest during the third decade of life, scientific productivity–as evidenced by major discoveries and publications–fell off dramatically with age. When he looked at the marital history of the sample, he found that the decline in productivity was less severe among men who had never been married. As a group, unmarried scientists continued to achieve well into their late 50s, and their rates of decline were slower.

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