I come from mathematics where there is an enormous amount of anecdotal
evidence. Of the great mathematicians and physicists I know of only a few
examples of people doing revolutionary work later in life. There was
certainly Mobius, and Gauss produced right up to the end, and Wiles was 40
(I think) when he finished his proof, but my understanding is that these
examples are extraordinary. Most mathematicians (sorry, most that I know,
or read) seem to believe that the best work (most revolutionary) comes
before 25. Writing seems to offer a more general counter example, but I'm
not so sure that that is more a function the publishing industry than of
actual ability. I couldn't say.
I am sorry that I said that it was a "fact". That was clearly my mistake.
But, if you know of counter examples I would like to hear about them. Who
were the greatest developers in your field, and how old were they when they
either, had the initial ideas for their points of view or produced the work?
i.e. Do you find a large percentage of truly creative/revolutionary ideas in
your particular field emerging from older practitioners? Or, more directly,
who would you generally put your money on for coming up with really new
ideas, graduate students or long tenured faculty? I understand that this is
all anecdotal, but that is all I can offer right now.