JEWISH NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS
At least 208 Jews and people of half- or three-quarters-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize,1 accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2020, and constituting 36% of all US recipients2 during the same period.3 In the scientific research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Physics, and Physiology/Medicine, the corresponding world and US percentages are 26% and 38%, respectively. Among women laureates in the four research fields, the Jewish percentages (world and US) are 29% and 43%, respectively. Of organizations awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 20% were founded principally by Jews or by people of half-Jewish descent. Since the turn of the century (i.e., from the year 2000 onward), Jews have been awarded 25% of all Nobel Prizes and 27% of those in the scientific research fields. (Jews currently make up approximately 0.2% of the world's population and 2% of the US population.)
See also related data on:
- Chemistry (36 prize winners, 19% of world total, 29% of US total)
- Economics (34 prize winners, 40% of world total, 50% of US total)
- Literature (16 prize winners, 14% of world total, 38% of US total)
- Peace (9 prize winners, 8% of world total, 10% of US total)4
- Physics (56 prize winners, 26% of world total, 39% of US total)
- Physiology or Medicine (57 prize winners, 26% of world total, 38% of US total)
- Jewish Recipients of the Japan's Kyoto Prize (24% of recipients)
- Jewish Recipients of the Israel's Wolf Foundation Prize (35% of recipients)
- Jewish Recipients of the US National Medal of Science (38% of recipients)
- Jewish Recipients of the Grande Médaille of the French Academy of Sciences (50% of recipients)
- Jews Elected to Foreign Membership in the British Royal Society, 1901-Present (26% of total, 34% of current Foreign Members)
- Jews Among the Creators of History's Greatest Lifesaving Medical & Scientific Advances (estimated 2.8 billion lives saved)
1. This enumeration constitutes an update and an expansion of the information on Jewish Nobel Prize winners contained in the 1997 CD ROM edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica (EJ97), from which 116 of the names listed here were obtained. (The Encyclopaedia Judaica was listed by the Library Journal as one of its "Top 50 Reference Works of the Millennium." EJ97 was itself a runner-up for the American Library Association's Dartmouth Medal for best reference work of 1997.) Nearly all of the additional entries, as well as some of those obtained from EJ97, are accompanied by explanatory footnotes. Approximately 15% of those listed (and about 10% of the Americans listed) are, or were, of half-Jewish descent.
2. Defined as those Recipients with US Nationality at the time of award.
3. In enumerating Nobel Prize winners, we have followed the Nobel Foundation's practice of counting multiple-time recipients only once.
4. Percentages are based on awards to individuals only, i.e., the computation excludes awards to organizations. Five of the twenty-five organizations awarded Nobel Peace Prizes were, however, founded or (in one case) co-founded principally by Jews or people of half-Jewish descent. For details, see Jewish Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.
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