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age of significance

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  • Bob Muckle
    At least for one major academic funding agency the trend over the years to give more research money to an increasingly older subset of researchers. The
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2010
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      At least for one major academic funding agency the trend over the years to give more research money to an increasingly older subset of researchers. The potential implications are that the young scholars, who tend to be less bound by assumptions and such, and also tend to be more creative, perhaps due to their ignorance or naievity, get less money and freedom, and are thus less likely to make important contributions.

      It is in a blog post, complete with graph, here http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/01/funding_innovation.php

      Historically, in some disciplines the most significant discoveries and periods of creativity of many scholars occurs at a relatively young age. In particular, many physicists and poets tend to make their most important contributions at a very young age. The implication is that this creativity may be lost if granting agencies continue to increasingly favor older researchers.

      The post doesn't mention anthropology, but it has got me wondering about the age of the scholars making the highly signficant contributions in the field of anthropology.

      Are anthropologists like the rock stars of the 60s and 70s who were most creative in songwriting when they were young? As the rock stars of that era continue to work the small venues living mainly on reputation, are anthropologists doing the same. Are the colleges and universities to us aging anthropologists like the casinos are to the Lovin' Spoonful? Or are we more like an act that gets better with time, maybe like U2?

      Also who is the anthropological equivalent of Lady Gaga? Who is the star anthropologist these days? I know Barbara Miller, in her blog, proclaimed that Paul Farmer as the anthropologist of the decade, but that was a totally biased vote.

      Just wondering, when I should be working. My institution started classes this week.

      Bob



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