Oct 7, 2021 - Science

The Nobel's persistent diversity problem

Data: Nobel Prize; Note: Data does not include 2021 economics prize to be announced on Oct. 11; "Other" includes 7 countries with one winner each and 6 winners from multiple countries; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios
Data: Nobel Prize; Note: Data does not include 2021 economics prize to be announced on Oct. 11; "Other" includes 7 countries with one winner each and 6 winners from multiple countries; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

This year's Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, physics and chemistry all went to men.

The big picture: A lack of diversity persists among those awarded science's top prize.

  • 25 of 767 Nobel Prizes awarded in science and economics have gone to women in the history of the prize. (Axios first published this chart four years ago.)
  • W. Arthur Lewis, who won the prize in economics in 1979, remains the only Black recipient in the sciences or economics.

Between the lines: "This is a problem much larger than simply bias on the part of the Nobel selection committees — it's systemic," chemist Marc Zimmer wrote last year.

Go deeper: Hard Truths: Race and science in America (Axios)

Editor's note: This story was corrected to reflect the total number of prizes awarded in the sciences and economics is 767 not 387.

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