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Keep on Waiting for It

The average age of a Nobel laureate has been sneaking upwards, the Economist reports. And LiveScience adds that few winners have been women.

Between 2000 and 2015, the Economist calculates that only 8 percent of Nobel Prize winners in physics, chemistry, or medicine have been under the age of 50. By contrast, it notes that in the 20th century, 36 percent of such winners were less than 50 years old.

Meanwhile, LiveScience notes that since the establishment of the awards, 203 people have received the physics prize, but only two of those researchers have been women, Marie Curie and Maria Goeppert-Mayer. In addition, only four of the 171 chemistry winners have been women.

At his blog Galileo's Pendulum, Matthew Francis adds that the prizes are biased toward European and American researchers, especially men, and don't reflect the collaborative nature of science, as only three people may share a prize.

And this has led some like Francis to argue that the Nobels need to adapt or more. "They're fundamentally about something that's not an adequate reflection of real science, and they reinforce the worst aspects of the culture of science," he tells LiveScience. "Maybe we should dump 'em and start over."

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