Albert-László Barabási: The real relationship between your age and your chance of success
A pioneer in network science, Albert-László Barabási uncovers the hidden order behind complex systems. Full bio
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a very special day for me,
for joining the party.
there's someone there to spoil it. Right?
another physicist along to do so.
also Albert -- and he's the one who said
his great contributions to science
he is telling me, and us,
of luck within my career.
very interested in networks,
to publish a few key papers
of scale-free networks
that we call network science today.
you can get a PhD now in network science
first as a sabbatical,
in another type of network:
and the metabolites link to each other
to a major explosion within medicine,
Division at Harvard,
who are using this perspective
this idea of networks
by the networks we're part of --
they can pull us back.
the knowledge and big data and expertise
how these things happen.
of galleries in museums
that we mapped out last year,
the success of an artist
that he or she had in their career.
is not only about networks;
other dimensions to that.
we need for success, obviously,
between performance and success.
what kind of paintings you paint,
notices from what you did,
and how does it reward you for it?
but your success is about all of us.
important shift for us,
as being a collective measure
there are multiple data points about that.
we exercise, we practice,
that performance leads to success.
started to explore,
are very, very different animals
the mathematics of the problem.
the fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt.
the competitions that he enters.
because we have a chronometer
is that when he wins,
outrunning his competition.
than the one who loses the race.
one percent faster than the second one,
10 times faster than I do --
trust me on that.
to measure performance,
no huge variations in human performance.
to measure the differences.
see the good from the best ones,
are very hard to distinguish.
is that most of us work in areas
to gauge our performance.
when it comes to our performance.
a different topic, like books.
how many people read your work.
came out in 2009,
Who is the competition?
there's hardly any difference
works a little harder,
who ended up at the top.
I'm a data person, right?
the sales for Nicholas Sparks.
that opening weekend,
a hundred thousand copies,
of the "New York Times" best-seller list
what he needed to be number one.
who sold 1.2 million copies that weekend.
is because it shows that, really,
slightly more than the second best
we earn it through our performance.
performance, what we do, is bounded,
collective, is unbounded,
huge differences in success
differences in performance?
that I devoted to that very question.
to go over all of that,
to the question of,
when should that appear?
and ask ourselves:
this ridiculous statement,
you could actually be creative?
and he saw all these fabulous physicists
and modern physics,
and early 30s when they did so.
a whole field of genius research
we admire from the past
they made their biggest contribution,
whether that's science,
in their 20s, 30s, early 40s at most.
with this genius research.
the impression to us
and doesn't look at ordinary scientists
vanishes as we age?
to actually have references.
scientist like myself,
that I've published
I was still in Romania when I did so,
the impact of the paper,
have been written that cited that work.
has roughly three different stages.
where I had to work a lot
about what I do, right?
for myself networks
paper to the other one.
That was that stage of my career.
what happens right now?
hasn't been enough time passed yet
those papers will get;
the genius research, is right,
how does this really happen,
the selection bias,
of every single scientist
what was their personal best,
or they never did,
even their personal best.
on the top of that career,
their biggest discovery?
that you make your biggest discovery,
or 10 years into your career?
what we call "academic age."
when you publish your first papers.
your highest-impact paper.
the genius research is right.
their highest-impact paper
I'm exactly 30 years into my career,
that would have a higher impact
according to this data.
who makes random contribution to science?
of the scientist?
in year one, 10 or 20 in your career,
of having the impact
there's only one explanation for that,
every project we do,
of being our personal best.
a lottery ticket.
most of their lottery tickets
their productivity decreases.
any more lottery tickets.
they would not be creative.
the conclusion is very simple:
or very last paper of your career.
in the space of the projects.
who got the Nobel Prize in Physics
in his career as a graduate student.
by Yale University.
to Virginia Commonwealth University,
that he published a paper
the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
well, science is special,
where we need to be creative?
typical example: entrepreneurship.
the TechCrunch Awards and other awards,
is late 20s, very early 30s.
some of the biggest VC firms --
that youth equals success.
about forming a company --
trying, trying, trying --
of these individuals actually put out
looked at exactly that question.
those in the 20s and 30s
form lots of companies,
what you see in this particular plot,
you will actually hit the stock market
that if you are in the 50s,
to actually have a successful exit
that we see, actually?
at the end of the day,
and succeed over and over.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERAlbert-László Barabási - Network scientist
A pioneer in network science, Albert-László Barabási uncovers the hidden order behind complex systems.
Why you should listen
Albert-László Barabási is fascinated by a wide range of topics, from the structure of the brain and treating diseases with network medicine to the emergence of success in art and how science really works. His work uses the quantitative tools of network science, a research field that he pioneered, and led to the discovery of scale-free networks, helping explain the emergence of many natural, technological and social networks.
Barabási is the Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science at Northeastern University and holds an appointment in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He splits his time with Budapest, where he runs a European Research Council project at Central European University. A Hungarian born native of Transylvania, Romania, he received his masters in theoretical physics at the Eötvös University in Budapest, Hungary and his PhD three years later at Boston University.
Barabási’s latest book is The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success. He is also the author of Network Science, Linked and Bursts. He co-edited Network Medicine and The Structure and Dynamics of Networks. His books have been translated into over twenty languages.
Albert-László Barabási | Speaker | TED.com