Birthplaces of the Nobel Laureates
Just look at the interactive map below! But:
- Most science Nobel laureates were born in Europe, Japan, or the US east coast
- The birthplace of Fields Medal and Turing Award winners follows a similar distribution
- The literature Nobel laureates' birthplaces seem more widely distributed
Someone showed me a map of the birthplaces of Nobel laureates. Unfortunately I can't find the map I saw, but it was something like the lower half of this one, except not animated, and without the inexplicable US/Europe focus. It was similar though, in that it did not differentiate between the different prizes. I wondered whether there are any geographical trends in the birth location of Nobel laureates. The ‘US + Europe (+ Japan)’ trend is quite clear from the totals map, but perhaps there are more interesting trends. For example, perhaps we should expect the Chemistry Prize to be tilted towards those born in places with significant chemical industries, such as (south-)west Germany or Switzerland.
I made the map for each category, using data from Wikidata (see the Data section). I excluded the Peace Prize for two reasons:
- I don't respect the Peace Prize1;
- It has been awarded to organisations, and I didn't want to think about how to handle this.
I also made maps for the (technically not a ‘Nobel Prize’) economics Nobel, the Fields Medal, and the Turing Award.
The below map is interactive. You can select the prize(s) you want to display by clicking on the legend on the right. You can pan/zoom the map. You can hover over dots to see the name of the laureate. There's no ‘fullscreen’ button, but if you want a fullscreen verison click here.
Note that the map is slightly misleading about the number of laureates from big cities like NYC: they have more laureates than it might seem from the map. See the Plotting section for more details.