Einstein's best work was not till after he was 30 years old. Is it possible for some people to mentally develop later in life obtaining the ability to learn Math and other subjects easier than when they were younger? I heard that younger minds learn easier but is that always?

A side question: I understand school is much harder now than then? So what is a D now would be an A++ then?

  • 1
    Not sure we can give you any real answer...seems like a psychology/human development question rather than an academic one...of course there are example of both old and young people making big contributions, so the answer to the "always" question is probably no...but the Einstein example seems a bit of a stretch, he mastered calculus when he was 14 and published some of his most influential papers at 26. Anyway, not sure where you are going with this, one shouldn't make career decisions based on the likelihood of being the next Einstein.
    – cag51
    Mar 7, 2019 at 20:08
  • Do you have any evidence to suggest that people who achieve excellence in a field later in life could have done so if they hadn't already spent much of their life getting to that point? Or that people who do spontaneously achieve greatness late in life couldn't have done so earlier if they tried? Mar 7, 2019 at 20:25

1 Answer 1


There is a Chinese saying about learning: The best time to plant an oak is 40 years ago. The second best time is right now.

Your question has little practical meaning, unless you think it might be good to wait to learn. It won't be. Newton "invented" parts of the calculus while barely out of his teen years. He didn't publish it. Leibniz reinvented it when about 30 years old (and about 15 years later). I've worked with mathematicians in their 50s who had marvelous insight and many many publications. I've worked with even older computer scientists.

Go to school when you have the opportunity.

  • @Muze - you might try reddit or somewhere....I too was initially off-put by how many interesting questions get closed...but we really look for specific, objectively-answerable questions, whereas Reddit is better suited for discussion questions like this one.
    – cag51
    Mar 7, 2019 at 20:31

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .