How Eurocentric (biased) is the Nobel Prize?

Guaporense

Ad Honorem
Mar 2011
5,050
Brazil
As this year Nobel prizes have been awarded last week. I have been noticing that I don't think there is anything more biased in the world than prizes given to works of art, such as the Grammy, Oscar, etc. As they completely ignore most of the world's production and focus only on local stuff.

The nobel prize is supposedly global but in fact it's more of the same:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Nobel_laureates_per_capita

As you can see the large country who won most Nobel prizes per capita is Sweden, the country of the prize. Most Nobel prizes went to countries around Sweden or colonized by the peoples of those countries (US, Canada and Australia are mainly of Germanic stock and most winners in those countries were of northern European origins).

One could argue that in terms of scientific production northern Europe and it's colonies are far superior to the rest of the world but over 1/3 of the Nobel prizes are peace and literature prizes which are more subjective. And Japan has obviously much more scientific production than Sweden even though Japan won 24 prizes compared to Sweden's 30. :notrust:

Brazil, for instance, a country of 200 million people, one of the largest economies in the world (ranked around 8th-6th place consistently over the past 40 years) has never produced a winner of the coveted prize. And there is plenty of academia in Brazil and plenty of great writers as well. But apparently Brazil is too insular to win the prize: insular as defined as isolated from the Northern European cultural world. :notrust:
 
May 2015
326
California
The Grammy and Oscar awards are mostly just for domestic American products. The rest of the world is summed up with the Best Foreign Film Award at the Oscars. I think the Grammys have a world music and a best Latin music award. They aren't really intended to be international prizes like the Nobel or the Olympics. Cannes Film Festival, or the Venice Film Festival tend to be more international art prizes.
 
Dec 2011
1,304
Literature and peace prizes, though, are relateively often awarded to people from different continents, but the other's are mainly to US and Europe. The most Western-centric prize is that of economics, though. It is a pure political prize which is to strenghten the standing of mainstream economics in the world. Prizes are, without fail, awarded to someone close to neoclassics, even prizes for economic historians (Vogel/North), psychologists (Kahnemann) or mathematicians (Nash) or alleged rebels (Krugman) went to scholars firmly grounded within the neoclassical tradition, merely trying to extend it or view economics from a complementary perspective, without really opposing it.To some extent, this is true for medicine, chemistry and physics, too. I do think East Asia and Latin America are vastly underreprested, especially in economics, where both regions have made some very good contributions, just not in what is deemed mainstream economics, but rather marxists and development economics, economic history and a bunch of other branches.
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,386
Italy, Lago Maggiore
If Nobel prize is Eurocentric, and it is at least in good measure, I would comment, with a bit of irony, that Europeans have to be not that great with math ... The Nobel Prize for math isn't.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,517
As for the science prizes, northern Europe and northern European settled areas are the most advanced in those areas. That is the main reason why most of the prizes went citizens of the US, UK, Germany, or France.
 
Sep 2015
417
Dar al-Harb
Guaporense said:
The nobel prize is supposedly global but in fact it's more of the same:
(...)
As you can see the large country who won most Nobel prizes per capita is Sweden, the country of the prize.
(...)
Brazil, for instance, a country of 200 million people, one of the largest economies in the world (ranked around 8th-6th place consistently over the past 40 years) has never produced a winner of the coveted prize. And there is plenty of academia in Brazil and plenty of great writers as well. But apparently Brazil is too insular to win the prize: insular as defined as isolated from the Northern European cultural world.
So why doesn't Brazil create its own prize for scientific achievements, and award many of these prizes to Brazilian citizens ???

What's the problem ??? Why so much envy ??? If you have plenty of academia and great writers, create your own prizes!

BTW - as far as I know the ethnic group which receives the highest number of Nobel prizes per capita is not Northern European at all. These are Jews, who are an ethnic group (or a nation) of Middle Eastern origin, although they left the Middle East 2000 years ago, before Arab immigration to that region from the south, and before the Muslim slave trade which brought large numbers of Sub-Saharans to that region:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jewish_Nobel_laureates

Jews are 0,2% of the world's population, but have gathered 24% of Nobel Prizes ever awarded in fields other than "peace":

The Nobel Prize is an annual, international prize first awarded in 1901 for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. An associated prize in Economics has been awarded since 1969.[1] Nobel Prizes have been awarded to over 850 individuals,[2] of whom at least 22% (without peace prize over 24%) were Jews,[Note 1] although Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world's population[3] (or 1 in every 500 people). Overall, Jews have won a total of 41% of all the Nobel Prizes in economics, 28% in medicine, 26% in Physics, 19% in Chemistry, 13% in Literature and 9% of all peace awards.[4] Jews have been recipients of all six awards. The first Jewish recipient, Adolf von Baeyer, was awarded the prize in Chemistry in 1905. As of 2014, the most recent Jewish recipients included 2014 literature laureate Patrick Modiano, as well as James Rothman and Randy Schekman (Medicine); Arieh Warshel, Michael Levitt and Martin Karplus (Chemistry); and François Englert (Physics), all in 2013. (...)
I don't know how many of Sweden's prize recipients are Jews, but as a matter of fact, Sweden does has a large Jewish population.

For example - the former (until recently) Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, is of Jewish ancestry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhLaSKrPZp8

However, the country with the largest Jewish population in the world, numbering millions - is the USA. Followed by Israel.

=====================================

One more thing:

Ashkenazi Jews indeed lived in Northern Europe for few centuries, but their ancestry is overwhelmingly a combination of Pre-Arab Middle Eastern and Southern European from Roman/Hellenistic times. Two ethnic groups most closely related to Jews are Samaritans and Druzes. Jews had extremely endogamous marital practices and - until the 19th / 20th centuries - they strongly tended not to mix with people among whom they lived. Samaritans and Druzes - unlike Jews - have never left the Middle East, and have lived there all the time, among Arab immigrants:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritans

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druze

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druze_in_Israel
 
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Aug 2011
1,626
Sweden
So why doesn't Brazil create its own prize for scientific achievements, and award many of these prizes to Brazilian citizens ???

What's the problem ??? Why so much envy ??? If you have plenty of academia and great writers, create your own prizes!

BTW - as far as I know the ethnic group which receives the highest number of Nobel prizes per capita is not Northern European at all. These are Jews, who are an ethnic group (or a nation) of Middle Eastern origin, although they left the Middle East 2000 years ago, before Arab immigration to that region from the south, and before the Muslim slave trade which brought large numbers of Sub-Saharans to that region:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jewish_Nobel_laureates

Jews are 0,2% of the world's population, but have gathered 24% of Nobel Prizes ever awarded in fields other than "peace":



I don't know how many of Sweden's prize recipients are Jews, but as a matter of fact, Sweden does has a large Jewish population.

For example - the former (until recently) Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, is of Jewish ancestry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhLaSKrPZp8

However, the country with the largest Jewish population in the world, numbering millions - is the USA. Followed by Israel.

=====================================

One more thing:

Ashkenazi Jews indeed lived in Northern Europe for few centuries, but their ancestry is overwhelmingly a combination of Pre-Arab Middle Eastern and Southern European from Roman/Hellenistic times. Two ethnic groups most closely related to Jews are Samaritans and Druzes. Jews had extremely endogamous marital practices and - until the 19th / 20th centuries - they strongly tended not to mix with people among whom they lived. Samaritans and Druzes - unlike Jews - have never left the Middle East, and have lived there all the time, among Arab immigrants:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritans

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druze

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druze_in_Israel
Just a comment: the Jewish population in Sweden is small, I have read figures of around 20000. At least one of the Swedish Nobel prize winners was Jewish (but born in Germany).
 
Sep 2015
417
Dar al-Harb
Guaporense said:
US, Canada and Australia are mainly of Germanic stock
Hardly. Just because they speak a pidgin Germanic-Romance language (English), doesn't mean they are "of Germanic stock".

"Non-Hispanic Whites" account for just 62% of the U.S. population - and this category includes Middle Easterners, North Africans and - of course Jews - as well as all Non-Germanic Europeans and people from Russia. See the U.S. census definition of "White" race:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Hispanic_whites



And when it comes to "Hispanic Whites" - this includes mostly Mestizos of Mexican and other Latin American origin.
 
Sep 2015
417
Dar al-Harb
As for Canada - in Eastern Canada the largest ancestry is French and about 10 million Canadians speak French or are bilingual (English-French). In Quebec province 29,1% declare French ancestry and 59,1% declare "Canadian" ancestry, which is in fact also French (or mostly French).

Country-wide, 15,42% declare French ancestry and 32,16% declare "Canadian" ancestry (so in fact also mostly French).

By comparison 19,81% declare English ancestry, 14,35% Scottish and 13,83% Irish.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Canada#Ethnic_origin

This of course adds to more than 100% because people are allowed to declare multiple ancestries.
 
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