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Leonardo Da Vinci was 51 when he painted Mona Lisa; 58 when he designed a machine for grinding convex lenses.
Einstein was 51 when he patented the adsorption refrigerator together with Leo Szilard. He continued writing his papers until past 70.
Issac Newton was 62 when he published his “Opticks”.
Stephen Hawking was 51 when he co-edited a book on Euclidean quantum gravity with Gary Gibbons, and published a collected edition of his own articles on black holes and the Big Bang. He continued publishing his works until way past 60. After 71, he showed no sign of slowing down.
Galileo Galilei was more than 70 when he produced one of his finest works, Two New Sciences, where he summarised work he had done some forty years earlier, on the two sciences now called Kinematics and Strength of Materials.
These are not peculiarities of ancient scientists but the examples should inspire you. In more recent times, look at this inspiring case:
In May of 2012, a contest, dubbed the Desktop Factory Competition, debuted on iStart.org, a Kauffman-owned platform for entrepreneurial competitions. Sponsored by Inventables, Kauffman and the Maker Education Initiative, it offered $40,000 from Kauffman and hardware prizes such as a 3D printer from Inventables to the first person or team who submitted plans for an open-source device capable of turning plastic pellets into filament. The rules also mandated that the parts involved could cost no more than $250, priced at a 400-unit quantity.
The goal “required some ingenuity,” says Kaplan. “The folks who took a look at it thought it might be easier than it was to meet all the requirements. But when the rubber hit the road it took 10 months to find someone who met them all.”
It’s not startling that someone successfully met the challenge posed by the contest; 3D printing enthusiasts are, almost by definition, enterprising and inventive. And the $40,000 bounty was certainly alluring. But it’s unlikely that anyone involved in the competition would have guessed that its winner would be an enterprising inventor who happened to have been born during the Hoover administration.That inventor is 83-year-old Hugh Lyman…
Or how about this…
70-year-old inventor Zhou Miaorong tries out an evacuation slide he built himself in a building in Shanghai, on March 21, 2013. Zhou took over two years to design and build the mechanical slide which uses no electricity to implement in a domino effect, while also triggering a sprinkler system to fight a fire. Zhou built it after a serious fire in Shanghai in 2010 led to loss of life because of the lack of escape routes, as well as another 2010 incident when the 37th floor of his building caught fire — two incidents which made him think about the need for a high-rise fire escape device.
These all go to show that it’s not too late; you’re not too old to learn anything that you care to put your mind to it.
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