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    Eric-Wubbo Lameijer said:

    Nice post! The ten-year rule, especially the weak version, is usually quite reliable. The only ‘problem’ is that it can be hard to define when someone really started training. For example, Paul Dirac was already zealously devoted to maths and physics while still in highschool, according to Cropper’s book on great physicists. Likewise, Einstein’s ‘miracle year’ may have come when he was 25 – but he had been working on Euclid’s elements since age 10-11, and more advanced texts later, while still not yet an ‘official’ student. So, can we claim that his physics training only started in university? Perhaps, perhaps not, but often the start of one’s apprenticeship in a field is not clear-cut.

    And, to be a ‘good’ scientist, I should point out that the 10-year rule has some exceptions; much depends on competition in the field, and how young or mature a field is. Painters, for example, used to take only six years before they created their first masterpiece (Sternberg, Handbook of Creativity, chapter 12). In contrast, musicians, especially those playing classical music, seem to creep towards 15 years or more of training, given the relatively well-developed training methods and the fierce competition in their field.

    Great post though! That genius is based on sweat may be depressing news for some, but overall, I would consider it a hopeful message to all students of science.


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    Laura Wheeler said:

    GrrlScientist has reviewed Andrew’s book “Genius: A Very Short Introduction.” You can read her excellent Review here 

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