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Nobel-Prize Winning Immigrants Exemplify the American Dream

Nobel-Prize Winning Immigrants Exemplify the American Dream

As Immigration Prof Blog has noted, the talents of immigrants in the US have been recognized the world over, including in the Macarthur Genius Fellowship (Natalia Molina in 2019, Margaret Stock in 2013) and the Pulitzer Prize (Jose Antonio Vargas, Viet Thanh Nguyen). The trend continues with the announcement of this year's Nobel Prizes, which include a U.S. immigrant in medicine, chemistry and physics."

A report from the National Foundation for American Policy counts up the contributions in their new analysis: “Immigrants have been awarded 37%, or 37 of 100, of the Nobel Prizes won by Americans in chemistry, medicine and physics since 2000.”

Other analytics from the report: 

During the century from 1901 - 2020, immigrants were awarded 35% (106 of 307) of the Nobel Prizes in chemistry, medicine and physics. The break down is 36% of the U.S. Nobel Prizes in physics, 35% in chemistry and 33% in medicine.

Before the 1960s, only one immigrant to the United States (William Francis Giauque) won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, but the liberalization of immigration law in 1965 contributed to a considerable rise: 27 immigrants received the Nobel Prize for chemistry between 1960-2000. 

Similarly, the number of immigrants winning in medicine rose from 9 immigrants before 1960 to 29 immigrants afterward. 

In physics, the numbers rose from 11 to 29 over the same time periods.

As Stuart Anderson notes in Forbes, "Every year brings more examples of the benefits of welcoming talented people who reach new heights in America." The National Foundation report concludes: “When one asks successful entrepreneurs and scientists conducting groundbreaking research whether they favor liberalized policies on immigration, the answer they invariably give is that more immigration and greater openness to international students, researchers and immigrants across the skill spectrum will help America to grow and prosper."

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