On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 at 10:26:03 UTC, Tony wrote:
I'd be swayed if you could link to interviews with older scientists, mathematicians or computer scientists who said their work declined with age because they became disillusioned or they ran into social conditioning issues.
They are bogged down with teaching and administration and are at that time specialized in an established field and follow the money (research grants which generally focus on what "society needs", i.e. what is established). Academia also focus on having a tally on publishing, which unfortunately does not breed depth, but breadth.
When you do a master you can basically pick up any topic and give in to your own curiosity, most people follow the same area as their master when they move towards a ph.d. So you have a source of "curious noise" at the entry level, but after that there is gravity towards the established. In order to do something new you have to both be really really curious about something and also have the time to go all the way. As you master a field the curiosity probably drops. That said, most ph.d. reports are boring. Media propagates the fairy tales which are the result of that stochastic entry level. You never hear about the 99.9% boring results.