Granted, it’s a subjective collection of greatest works/greatest minds, but notice the wide spread of ages in all categories.
This is important to me mainly because I’ve always heard (from various people/sources) that math, in particular, is “for the young” and that once you’re past a certain age (30 is commonly mentioned), learning math—let alone understanding it on an intuitive level—just doesn’t happen. And good luck trying to contribute something to the field if you’re 30+, right?
That idea’s just always bothered me. What does age have anything to do with your math ability (apart from, of course, possibly having more learning time in general if you start at an earlier age versus an older age)? I guess it may be true that the older you get, the harder it is to learn in general, but there’s no reason why that should translate to “you’re 30, so now suddenly the math part of your brain will never understand anything new and you will be of no use to the field, so get out and go study Brit lit or something!”
Hell, based on personal experience, I feel like I’m getting more from my “older” degrees (like math, which I got at age 26) than I did with my “younger” degrees (like psych and philosophy, ages 20 and 21 respectively). That of course may just be due to the fact that since I’ve been in school for SO LONG that my brain’s just kind of morphed into some super-efficient book-learning machine, but I think it’s more likely that seeing the processes and connections and “inner workings” of a lot of subjects and topics is just easier for me now that I’m a little older. I’m not sure if that’s the case for other people who seem unable to leave academia like myself (I keep trying, but it KEEPS DRAWING ME BACK IN), but it’s certainly true for me.