Yesterday the Nobel committee at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden named 71-year-old Yoshinori Ohsumi the recipient of this year’s Nobel prize in medicine. No one under the age of 50 has ever been awarded the economics prize. A mere nine of the 112 literature winners have been younger than 50. For middle-aged scientists, the chances are relatively rosier, but have still been declining over time, partly because they begin their research careers later than they did in the 20th century. Since 2000, only 8% of the award-winners in chemistry, physics and medicine were under 50, compared with 36% of those who won the prizes in the last century. The peace prize is the exception. Unlike their scientific peers, prize-winning peace advocates do not require advanced university degrees. Its recipient in 2014, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, is the youngest person to ever win a Nobel. The oldest, economist Leonid Hurwicz, was 90.