Older geologists are better geologists, according to a 3 March Wall Street Journal article. John W. Miller reports from South Africa that the old guys (and they're still almost all men) know a lot of little tricks they don't teach in school any more, like looking for gold in the dirt of termite mounds, excavated from meters below the surface. "Mining executives say that while they chuckle about the quirks of older geologists, they recognize the business value of their memory of previous exploratory work, their grasp of complex rock formations and their discipline in knowing how to meticulously chart new territory." And for the most part, these scientists have mastered the computer-based skills too.
Maybe students or young postgrads can climb a little faster and stay up a little longer, but if they're smart they will take good care of themselves and learn the right habits. Because before they know it, if they're successful, they'll find themselves happily active in their eightieswith companies willing to keep them employed.