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Noble Laureates Getting Older

Update Date: Apr 11, 2014 05:54 PM EDT

How long does it take to win a Noble Prize? 20 years. New research reveals that candidates need to wait on average more than 20 years before they receive the science award.

Finnish researchers from Aalto University found that the waiting time for winning the Noble Prize has become so long that aspiring laureates may die waiting for their Noble Prize medal.

Researchers noted that Nobel Prizes were awarded more than 20 years after the original discovery for only about 11 percent, 15 percent and 24 percent of physics, chemistry and physiology or medicine Prizes, respectively, before 1940. However, 60 percent of physics awards, 52 percent of chemistry awards and 45 percent of physiology or medicine awards are awarded two decades after the original discovery in 1985.

Furthermore, the latest findings reveal that the average waiting times are continuing to increase exponentially. Therefore, laureates are becoming increasing older as time goes on.

In terms of waiting for recognition, scientists are starting to become artists, according to researchers.

Researchers predict that by the average age among Prizewinners for receiving the Noble Prize award could even exceed his or her life expectancy by the end of the century.

Researchers said this is worrying because the lag threatens to undermine science's most venerable institution, as the Nobel Prize cannot be awarded posthumously.

The findings are published in the journal Nature

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