Jewish Nobel Prize winners

My cmnt: The Jews are a remarkable people. Their creative talents have extended to music, film, art, literature, medicine and the sciences. The greatest gift from God through these people is of course the Messiah and the Way of salvation and eternal life. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans (chap 11) expounds on Israel’s future. The Christ, His apostles, and most of the early church were Jews. They are the natural olive tree we, the Gentiles, have been grafted into.

Rom 11: 28-36 – Regarding the gospel, they are enemies on your account; but regarding election, they are loved on account of the patriarchs. For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. Just as you who formerly disobeyed God have now received mercy through their disobedience, so they too have now disobeyed, in order that they too may now receive mercy through the mercy shown to you. For God has consigned everyone to disobedience so that He may have mercy on everyone.

A Hymn of Praise
(Isaiah 40:9–31)

O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has first given to God, that God should repay him?” For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

At least 210 Jews and people of half- or three-quarters-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize,1 accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2021, and constituting 36% of all US recipients2 during the same period.3  In the scientific research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Physics, and Physiology/Medicine, the corresponding world and US percentages are 26% and 38%, respectively.  Among women laureates in the four research fields, the Jewish percentages (world and US) are 29% and 43%, respectively.  Of organizations awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 20% were founded principally by Jews or by people of half-Jewish descent.  Since the turn of the century (i.e., from the year 2000 onward), Jews have been awarded 24% of all Nobel Prizes and 26% of those in the scientific research fields.  (Jews currently make up approximately 0.2% of the world’s population and 2% of the US population.)

  • Chemistry (36 prize winners, 19% of world total, 28% of US total)
  • Economics (35 prize winners, 39% of world total, 49% of US total)
  • Literature (16 prize winners, 14% of world total, 38% of US total)
  • Peace (9 prize winners, 8% of world total, 10% of US total)4
  • Physics (56 prize winners, 26% of world total, 38% of US total)
  • Physiology or Medicine (58 prize winners, 26% of world total, 38% of US total)

See also related data on:

1. This enumeration constitutes an update and an expansion of the information on Jewish Nobel Prize winners contained in the 1997 CD ROM edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica (EJ97), from which 116 of the names listed here were obtained.  (The Encyclopaedia Judaica was listed by the Library Journal as one of its “Top 50 Reference Works of the Millennium.”  EJ97 was itself a runner-up for the American Library Association’s Dartmouth Medal for best reference work of 1997.)  Nearly all of the additional entries, as well as some of those obtained from EJ97, are accompanied by explanatory footnotes. Approximately 15% of those listed (and about 10% of the Americans listed) are, or were, of half-Jewish descent.
2. Defined as those Recipients with US Nationality at the time of award.

3. In enumerating Nobel Prize winners, we have followed the Nobel Foundation’s practice of counting multiple-time recipients only once. 
4. Percentages are based on awards to individuals only, i.e., the computation excludes awards to organizations.  Five of the twenty-five organizations awarded Nobel Peace Prizes were, however, founded or (in one case) co-founded principally by Jews or people of half-Jewish descent. For details, see Jewish Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.

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