Editor's note

Mark Zuckerberg was in the news again, revealing the latest in Facebook’s augmented reality plan. The 32-year-old CEO is also slated to deliver Harvard’s commencement address this year, 13 years after he dropped out of Harvard. Zuckerberg may have become a billionaire without ever finishing college, but don’t let his story fool you. Educational researchers Jonathan Wai and Heiner Rindermann looked at more than 11,000 of the most successful people in the U.S. and found that Zuckerberg is, in fact, an anomaly. 94 percent have at least a Bachelor’s degree—50 percent of them from the country’s most elite universities.

As the days tick down to President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, Robert Speel of Penn State University considers why evaluating a president’s productivity during the beginning of his presidency is a thing, and how nearly a century of presidents have fared.

When Ella Fitzgerald – who turns 100 next week – was launching her career, drugs were beginning to be seen as a societal ill. She needed to make a decision: maintain a squeaky-clean image, or follow the lead of her jazz contemporaries and croon about marijuana and cocaine.

Kaitlyn Chantry


Top story

Mark Zuckerberg is, quite famously, a college dropout. But his case is the exception – not the rule. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

The myth of the college dropout

Jonathan Wai, Duke University; Heiner Rindermann, Chemnitz University of Technology

While the media glamorizes famous college dropouts like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, the reality is that most successful people in the U.S. went to – and finished – college.

Science + Technology

Politics + Society

Ethics + Religion

Economics + Business

Arts + Culture

  • Ella Fitzgerald's flirtation with reefer songs

    Adam Gustafson, Pennsylvania State University

    Just as Fitzgerald's career was taking off, jazz was under attack for its purported connection to drug culture. If she wanted to become a mainstream superstar, she needed to make a choice.

Environment + Energy

  • The state of US forests: Six questions answered

    Thomas J. Straka, Clemson University

    Forests are valuable for many uses, including timber, clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation. Stresses on U.S. forests include wildfires, pest invasions and development of private lands.

  • The extraordinary return of sea otters to Glacier Bay

    Perry Williams, Colorado State University; Mevin Hooten, Colorado State University

    Sea otters had been absent from this Alaskan national park for at least 250 years. By marrying math and statistics, scientists map this animal's successful comeback.

Health + Medicine

Trending On Site


The Conversation is a non-profit and your donation is tax deductible. Help knowledge-based, ethical journalism today.