A hundred years ago, most scientists completed their best work before age forty.
Einstein, who identified his theory of relativity at age twenty-six, claimed that if a scientist had not made his greatest contribution by that age, he would never do so.
Of course, it’s all relative.
Life expectancy was dramatically lower. There was fraction of the information available. And the population of the world was under a billion.
Still, the relationship between youth and innovation never went away. History notwithstanding, young people have always landed on the forefront of invention.
Edison cranked out inventions at age eight. Jobs built personal computers at age sixteen. Zuckerberg developed software at age thirteen.
Not just because they were geniuses, but because they were kids.
And the fruits of their labor changed everything.
Because the young mind; the fertile, beautiful, innocent landscape that it is; has an inherent ability to question, play, wonder and explore all that it encounters.
And our challenge in the next hundred years will be nurturing and preserving that landscape before adulthood bulldozes it into a shopping mall.
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