An anonymous reader writes "A recent study suggests the downfall of individual researchers, who are being rapidly replaced by enormous research groups. Quoting: '... in recent decades — especially since the Soviet success in launching the Sputnik satellite in 1957 — the trend has been to create massive institutions that foster more collaboration and garner big chunks of funding. And it is harder now to achieve scientific greatness. A study of Nobel Prize winners in 2005 found that the accumulation of knowledge over time has forced great minds to toil longer before they can make breakthroughs. The age at which thinkers produce significant innovations increased about six years during the 20th century.'"