A map of Europe by the number of Nobel laureates

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Tuesday 30 August 2016 13:30
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Picture: Jakub Marian

The cartographer and educational blogger Jakub Marian has produced two maps that show the number of Nobel laureates per capita in Europe.

The first map, which looks at the number of Nobel laureates per 10 million inhabitants, shows Switzerland with the most per capita on 32.2 laureates, but the United Kingdom has the highest actual number of laureates at 106.

Marian explains that his list has been compiled from Wikipedia, with some changes. Due to the problems posed by some well travelled laureates, Marian has focused on where a laureate worked, and the country with which they had a strong connection. For instance, Mother Theresa won her Nobel peace prize in 1979 as a citizen of India, but was born in the Ottoman Empire, now Macedonia.

Marian explained his methodology:

One laureate can be counted under several countries if he or she had a genuine connection to more than one country. People who were merely born in a certain country without having any other connection with it (that is, if the work that led to their Nobel prize had no relation to their country of birth) were not included in its numbers.

Picture: Jakub Marian

Iceland with its one laureate (Halldór Kiljan Laxness, the 1955 winner in Literature), but smaller population (330,823) highlights the sort of results that per capita measurement produces.

In case anyone is dissatisfied with this, Marian also produced a version of the map which did include a laureate's place of birth.

Picture: Jakub Marian

The main difference is that Switzerland is replaced as the top dog by Luxembourg, which jumps from 0 laureates per capita, to 36.8. The UK's score also rises to 18.4 and an additional 12 laureates.

For context, Marian provided some data on Nobel laureates outside of Europe, not including place of birth.

  • USA: 11.2 per capita (356 total)
  • Japan: 1.9 per capita (24 total)
  • India: 0.09 per capita (11 total)
  • China: 0.09 per capita (12 total)
  • Brazil: 0.05 per capita (1 total)

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