Do you think Einstein is famous because his discoveries gave way for the atomic bomb, or because he had such crazy hair? I think an eccentric genius is a better sell than just a regular genius. I mean, imagine if he’d just looked like another guy and not like Krusty the Clown… I bet he wouldn’t be as well known. Everyone knows Einstein, even dumb people and it’s all because of his look.

According to a new column over at Yahoo though, we may not even be capable of producing Einsteins anymore:

Major breakthroughs in science have historically been the province of individuals, not institutes. Galileo and Copernicus, Edison and Einstein, toiling away in lonely labs or pondering the cosmos in private studies.

But in recent decades – especially since the Soviet success in launching the Sputnik satellite in 1957 – the trend has been to create massive institutions that foster more collaboration and garner big chunks of funding.

And it is harder now to achieve scientific greatness. A study of Nobel Prize winners in 2005 found that the accumulation of knowledge over time has forced great minds to toil longer before they can make breakthroughs. The age at which thinkers produce significant innovations increased about six years during the 20th century.

Six years? Really? You’d think with all the technological advancements we’d produce geniuses at a faster rate. But apparently once you open up a genius bar, one genius pisses all the other geniuses off and they hold him down. I guess it’s sort of like the Breakfast Club of high IQ.

But alas, don’t worry about our society in peril. We may not be able to produce geniuses as quickly as we used to, but we can still produce people with crazy hairstyles faster than ever!

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