Postcards From the Edge

The public face of scientific genius tends to be old and graying. We think of Albert Einstein's disheveled mop, Charles Darwin's majestic beard, Isaac Newton's wrinkled visage--not to mention the balding luminaries who accept their Nobel Prizes in Stockholm each December. Yet the truth is that the breakthroughs that fire our imagination and change our lives are usually made by men and women who are still in their 30s or 40s--and that includes Einstein, Newton and Darwin. It's no surprise, really; younger scientists are less invested than their elders in the intellectual dogma of the day. They question authority instinctively. They...

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