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The first Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology was given to Emil Adolph von Behring in 1901. Since that time 171 scientists have either won the prize on their own or shared it with others. The figure below shows the success of American scientists in winning the prizes in comparison with those from other countries.
Thirty of the US scientists were foreign born. Their countries of origin included England, France, Belgium, Austria, Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Japan, India, Venezuela, Italy and the Ukraine.
Four of the Nobel laureates were women, two were born and had substantial training outside the US.
So far no African-American scientist has won the Nobel prize in any category.
- Schlessinger BS and Schlessinger JH (1991). The Who's Who of Nobel Prize Winners, 2nd edition. Oryx Press, Phoenix, USA.
The Nobel Prizes always provide a good starting point for exploration. With this problem, the students considered the interplay of institutional and individual factors (Nazi persecution of Jewish scientists, the availability of funds and the entrepreneurial spirit exemplified by American universities and research establishments etc) that led to the dominance of the US in the post war period. Some discussion focussed on dominant paradigms and the exclusion of certain areas of research. Whether the provision of such rewards promoted competition at the expense of collaboration was debated.
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