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Nobel Laureates and Economic Prosperity

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On October 10, 2011 @ 6:25 am In Philosophy,Research,Science,Technology | Comments Disabled

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The graphic above, via Jon Bruner of Forbes [2], reflects the enormous American contribution to Arts & Sciences over the past century.

What is intriguing is not just that the US has won so many prizes, but that the a third of American Nobels have gone to immigrants to the US:

“The United States has won more Nobel prizes for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and economics since World War II than any other country, by a wide margin (it has been less dominant in literature and peace, two awards that are much more broadly distributed among nations). At least one American has won a prize each year since 1935 (excluding the years 1940 through 1942, when no prizes were given out). And the United States became dominant after a very slow start: no American won a science prize in the first six years of the prize‚Äôs existence.”

This is important in many ways:

1. The US attracts many of the wold’s best & brightest students and future Technology and Scientific leaders;

2. Their work (eventually) leads to breakthroughs that generate tremendous economic value, creating jobs and new industries;

3. That success in turn attracts the next generation of intellectual stars, creating a virtuous circle.

4. Anything that puts this cycle at risk is a long term threat to the economic health of the US.

Which raises a few obvious questions: What is the biggest threat to this virtuous, self-reinforcing system? What is it that could derail this important component to the American engine of prosperity? And, what can we do to fix that?

Hat tip: Flowing Data [3]

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Previously:

Is the balance of scientific power shifting? [4] (January 16th, 2004)

Losing Our Intellectual Edge [5] (December 22nd, 2004)


Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/10/nobel-laurelates-and-economic-prosperity/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/nobel_graphic_large.png

[2] Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonbruner/2011/10/05/nobel-prizes-and-american-leadership-in-science-infographic/

[3] Flowing Data: http://flowingdata.com/2011/10/10/nobel-laureates-by-country-and-prize/

[4] Is the balance of scientific power shifting?: http://www.ritholtz.com/blogwww.ritholtz.com/blog/2004/01/is-the-balance-of-scientific-power-shifting/

[5] Losing Our Intellectual Edge: http://www.ritholtz.com/blogwww.ritholtz.com/blog/2004/12/losing-our-intellectual-edge/

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