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                         Center for the Study of Jobs and Education in Wisconsin
                                            And United States

276 Nobel Prizes in Science: U.S. Science Education the World’s Best
By Dennis W. Redovich October 2006

         The United States leads the world in technology, scientific research and the quality of its scientists
because U.S. science education is the worlds best. From 1950 to 2006 Americans have won 206 or 58% of
the 357 Nobel Prizes awarded in Medicine, Physics and Chemistry. In October 2006, Americans were
awarded all five of the Nobel Prizes for science achievement. The American winners are in Medicine:
Andrew Z. Fire Stanford University and Greg C. Mello, U. of Massachusetts Medical School. Physics:
John C. Mather NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and George C. Smoot University of California and
Chemistry: Roger D. Kornberg Stanford University. This is the second time Americans have made a
complete sweep of Nobel science prizes, the first was in 1983.
         The United States is the uncontested leader of the world in scientific research in respect to
published accomplishments, Nobel Prizes, volume of research and expenditures on scientific research. The
United States is the leader of the world in technology and the unchallenged leader of the world in the global
economy.
         The United States has received a majority of Nobel Prizes in Science each decade from 1950 to
1999. From 2000 to 2006 U.S. scientists earned 35 (63%) of the 55 Nobel Prizes awarded in Science. (See
Appendix Table IV Total Nobel Prize Winners by Country by Decade 2006-1950 in Rank Order and
Table V Total Nobel Prize Science Winners by Country by Decade 1949-1901 (Pages 4-5)

Table I Totals for All Countries in the World Winning
Nobel Prizes in Science 1950 to 2006
                              Chemistry     Physics        Medicine             Total Nobel
                                                                                  Prizes
Country of Citizenship
Noble Prize-Science          Nobel Prizes   Nobel Prizes   Nobel Prizes         1950-2006

                             No.   %        No.   %        No.   %        No.     %*
1. United States             50    50%      78    61%      78    60.5%     206 58%
2. Great Britain             19    19%      7     5.5%     19    15%       45     13%
3. Germany                   10    10%      11    9%       7     5.5%      28      8%
4. Switzerland                3    3%       6     5%       3      2%       12      3%
5. France                     1    1%       5     4%       5      4%       11      3%
6. Russia                     1    1%       9     7%       0      0%       10      3%
7. Sweden                     0    0%       2     1.5%     6      5%       8       2%
8. Japan                      4    4%       2     2%       0      0%       6       2%
9. Canada                     3    3%       2     1.5%     0      0%       5       1%
9. Australia                  0    0%       0     0%       5      4%       5       1%
11. Netherlands               1    1%       3     3%       0      0%       4       1%
11. Denmark                   1    1%       2     1.5%     1      1%       4       1%
13. Italy                     1    1%       0      0%      2     1.5%      3       1%
13. Belgium                   1    1%       0      0%      2     1.5%      3       1%
15. Austria                   1    1%       0      0%      1      1%       2      .5%
15. Israel                    2    2%       0      0%      0      0%       2      .5%
17. Argentina                 1    1%       0      0%      0      0%       1      .5%
17. Norway                    1    1%       0      0%      0      0%       1      .5%
17. Czech                     1    1%       0     0%       0      0%       1      .5%
               Total         101            127            129            357

Sources for Tables I thru V in this report
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Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Winners 2005-1901
http://almaz.com/nobel/medicine/medicine.html
Nobel Prize in Physics Winners 2005-1901
http://nobelprizes.com/nobel/physics/physics.html
Nobel Prize in Chemistry Winners 2005-1901
http://www.nobelprizes.com/nobel/chemistry/chemistry.html

          The percentage of Americans receiving Nobel prizes in Science (chemistry, physics, physiology
or medicine) increased from 18%, 26 prizes 1901 to 1949, to 58%, 206 prizes from 1950 to 2006. The
Europeans completely dominated the winning of Nobel prizes for the first 30 years (Germans and British
were the biggest winners). Americans received only 6 prizes in the first 30 years (Europeans earned 86) and
Americans received their first prizes in Physics 1907, Chemistry 1914 and Physiology or Medicine 1930.
Since 1950 Americans have dominated the winning of Nobel prizes in Physics and Physiology or Medicine
and have been about equal in Chemistry. However, since 1980 Americans have won 29 Chemistry prizes
while all of Europe has won 21.

Table II Total Countries in the World Winning Nobel Prizes in Science
1901-1949
                              Chemistry           Physics             Medicine           Total Nobel
                                                                                           Prizes
Country of Citizenship
Noble Prize-Science          Nobel Prizes       Nobel Prizes        Nobel Prizes*        1901-1949
                         No.        %           No.         %        No.         %   No.        %

1. Germany               16       36%       12        25%       9          17%       37      25%
2. Great Britain         7        16%       12        25%       9          17%       28      19%
3. United States         7        16%       8         17%       11         20%       26      18%
4. France                6        13%       5         10%       4          7%        15      10%
5. Switzerland           3        7%        1         2%        3          5.5%      7        5%
6. Austria               1        2%        2         4%        3          5.5%      6        4%
6. Sweden                4        9%        1         2%        1          2%        6        4%
8.Netherlands            0                  3         6%        2          4%        5        3%
8. Denmark               0                  1         2%        4          7%        5        3%
10. Italy                0                  2         4%        1          2%        3        2%
11. Belgium              0                  0                   2          4%        2        1%
11. Canada               0                  0                   2          4%        2        1%
12. Argentina            0                  0                   1          2%        1        1%
12. Russia               0                  0                   1          2%        1        1%
12.Hungary               0                  0                   1          2%        1        1%
12.India                 0                  1         2%        0                    1        1%
12.Finland               1        2%        0                   0                    1        1%


Total 16 Countries       45                 48                  54                   147


         Critics of American science education have implied that foreign-born scientists are the primary
reason for the American dominance in science since World War II. That is not the case. In the tabulations
by country in this study the country designated for the scientist is the country where the scientific work was
done. For example, Albert Einstein received a 1921 Nobel Prize for work he did in Germany and was
counted as a German recipient and not as a U.S. citizen. Dramatic increases of American recipients of
Nobel prizes have occurred since 1970 with a few foreign-trained scientists earning prizes. On the other
hand, many foreign born scientists come to the U.S to receive their advanced science education and then
remain in the U.S. because the world knows that the U.S. is the best in science.
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         Table III Nobel Prizes in Science 1901-2006
1901 to 1949 and 1950 to 2006 Nobel Prizes for sciences were awarded as follows:
Nobel Prizes for Chemistry 1901 to 2001
                  Americans       All of Europe     All Other Countries     Total
1901-1949           7 (16%)          38 (84%)                 0               45
1950-2006          50 (50%)          41 (41%)            10(10%)             101
Nobel Prizes for Physics
1901-1949           8 (17%)          38 (79%)              2 (4%)             48
1950-2006          78 (61%)          45 (35%)              4 (3%)            127
Nobel prizes for Medicine and Physiology
1901-1949          11 (20%)          38 (70%)              5 (9%)             54
1950-2006          78 (60%)          46 (36%)              5 (4%)            129
 Total Nobel Prizes for Science
              Americans         All of Europe       All Other Countries     Total
1901-1949          26 (18%)         114 (78%)              7 (5%)            147
1950-2006         206 (58%)         132 (37%)             19 (5%)            357
1901-2006         232 (46%)         246 (49%)             26 (5%)            504

         The visible quality accomplishments of American scientists and engineers are recognized
throughout the world. At a European conference for institutional research held in Trier Germany in 1989 a
German presenter pointed out that Americans had received 41 Nobel Prizes for chemistry and physics from
1979 to 1989 while all of Europe earned 20. The speaker used this data as part of his criticism of European
science education as compared to the United States. When I asked him how many Nobel Prizes the
Japanese had received in the last ten years he said two. (Japan has won only 6 Nobel Prizes in Science
1901-2006, 2 in 2002) Japanese universities are not highly regarded in the world for their academics, but
Europeans and Americans have feared the economic strength of Japan until the later 1990s when their
economic strength severely declined. (Unbelievably, in the 1980s and early 1990s American economists
were foolishly saying that the superiority of the Japanese economy was because their K-12 education
systems were superior to the United States.)
         It is incomprehensible how American K-12 public school critics, including politicians and
conservative think tanks, are allowed to get away with the bashing of all American K-12 schools based on
bogus analysis of useless international tests without serious challenge by an academically disadvantaged
media. Critics of American public schools use K-12 education as the scapegoat for all of the social and
economic problems of the United States

The media and experts the media chooses to quote frequently declare the following:
    1. American elementary and secondary education is below the academic level of education in other
       countries, particularly in science and mathematics.
    2. The quality of American colleges and universities is generally considered to be exalted in the
       world of postsecondary education.

          How could both of these statements be correct? The first statement is absolute nonsense and the
second is absolutely true. American colleges and universities attract students from all over the world,
particularly in science and engineering because it is believed that they are the best in the world. American
university students who primarily come from American high schools that produce large numbers of bright,
innovative, competitive, and hard working graduates create the high quality of American colleges and
universities. Universities are as good as their students. Another reason for the superiority of American
postsecondary education is the exemplary democratic American culture, which is the most competitive and
utilitarian in the world.
          American K-12 public education systems get none of the credit for the United States leadership in
science, technology and the global economy for the last 60 years. There is absolutely no crisis in American
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K-12 science education or shortage of outstanding scientists. About 5% of jobs in the United States
projected to 2012 might require higher math and or science course work. (See www.jobseducationwis.org )
267A Math & Science Employment in the United States 2004-2014, Top 30 Job Titles in Numbers of
Workers Employed 2004 and Projected to 2014
          The quality of American education continues to improve as the media berates it based on
irrelevant and invalid standardized testing. Insane is too mild a term for the standardized testing mania that
is sweeping the United States. Some praise for American students at all educational levels might motivate
our exemplary American schools to improve even more. There is no doubt; American schools produce the
finest scientists in the world. And the American educational systems, most notably including American K-
12 education, continue to upgrade the quality of their science graduates each year.
          The writer’s views are based on 51 years of active experience in American education as an
administrator, educational researcher and a chemist who taught chemistry at the secondary and university
level in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Dennis W. Redovich, redovich@execpc.com 414-421-1120
Educational Consultant and Public Speaker
Originally written October 1992 and revised each year October 1993 to 2006
Center for the Study of Jobs & Education in Wisconsin And United States www.jobseducationwis.org
6438 Sycamore St. Greendale WI 53129

Appendix

Table IV Total Nobel Prize Winners by Country by Decade 2006-1950 in Rank Order
Country of Citizenship
Noble Prize-Science                                                                                  Total
                         2006-2000   1999-1990 1989-1980 1979-1970 1969-1960 1959-1950 2006-1950
                         No.   %*    No.   %*    No.   %*     No.   %*     No.    %*    No.    %* No.         %
1. United States         35    63%   41    66%   40    60%    35    55%    27 49%       29     54% 206 58%
2. Great Britain         5     9%    3     5%     5    7.5%   12    19%    11 19%        9     19% 45        13%
3. Germany               2     4%    5     8%     8    12%     2     5%    5      9%     6     11% 28         8%
4. Switzerland           1     2%    2     3%     6     9%     2     5%                  1         2% 12      3%
5. France                0           3     5%     2     3%     1    1.5%   4      7%     1         2% 11      3%
6. Russia                3     5%    0            0            1    1.5%   2     3.5%    4         7% 10      3%
7. Sweden                1     2%    0            3    4.5%    2     5%    1     2%      1         2% 8       2%
8. Japan                 4     7%    0           0             1    1.5%   1     2%      0            6       2%
9. Canada                0           3     5%     1    1.5%    1    1.5%   0             0            5       1%
9. Australia             2     4%    1     2%    0             0           1     2%      0            5       1%
11.Netherlands           0           3     5%    0            0            0            1      2%     4       1%
11. Denmark              0           1     2%    1     1.5%   2     5%     0            0             4       1%
13. Italy                0           0           1     1.5%   0            1     2%     1      2%     3       1%
13. Belgium              0           0           0            3     5%     0            0             3       1%
15. Austria              0           0           0            1     1.5%   1     2%     0             2       .5%
15. Israel               2     4%    0           0            0            0            0             2       .5%
17. Argentina            0           0           0            1     1.5%   0            0             1       .5%
17. Norway               0           0           0            0            1     2%     0             1       .5%
17. Czech                0           0           0            0            0            1      2%     1       .5%


Total                      55           62             67           64           55           54             357
* % May not add to 100% because of rounding
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Table V Total Nobel Prize Science Winners by Decade by Country 1949-1901
Country of Citizenship
Noble Prize-Science                                                                                        Total
                             1949-1940       1939-1930       1929-1920       1919-1910   1909-1901 1949-1901
                         No.    %*       No.    %*       No.    %*       No.    %*       No.   %*    No.      %*
1. Germany               1      4%       12     31%      5      18%      8      35%      11    37%   37      25%
2. Great Britain         6      22%      8      20%      7      25%      3      13%      4     13%   28      19%
3. United States         13     48%      8      20%      2      7%       2      9%       1     3%    26      18%
4. France                0               2      5%       3      11%      4      17%      6     20%   15      10%
5. Switzerland           2      7%       2      5%       1      3.5%     1      4%       1     3%    7       5%
6. Austria               1      4%       2      5%       2       7%      1      4%       0           6       4%
6. Sweden                2      7%       0               1      3.5%     2      9%       1     3%    6       4%
8.Netherlands            0               0               2       7%      1      4%       2     7%    5       3%
8. Denmark               0               1      2.5%     3      11%      0               1     3%    5       3%
10. Italy                0               1      2.5%     0               0               2     7%    3       2%
11. Belgium              0               1      2.5%     0               1       4%      0           2       1%
11. Canada               0               0               2       7%      0               0           2       1%
13. Argentina            1      4%       0               0               0               0           1       1%
13. Russia               0               0               0               0               1     3%    1       1%
13.Hungary               0               1      2.5%     0               0               0           1       1%
13.India                 0               1      2.5%     0               0               0           1       1%
13.Finland               1      4%       0               0               0               0           1       1%


Total 17 Countries       27              29              28              23              30          147

				
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