Immigrants and Nobel Prizes: 1901-2021

Date of Publication: 
October, 2021
Source Organization: 
National Foundation for American Policy

Through this study of immigrant Nobel Prize recipients, the author tries to show how immigrants have played a crucial role in ensuring American leadership in the sciences. Since 2000, for example, immigrants have won 38 percent of all Nobel Prizes awarded to Americans in medicine, chemistry and physics. In “Immigrants and Nobel Prizes: 1901-2021,” the author suggests that greater openness to immigration has enhanced America’s status as a global destination for research, elevating the reputation of its academic and scientific institutions, and attracting talent from abroad.  The article points out how the introduction of key pieces of legislation played an integral role in attracting international students and foreign talent to the U.S. Prior to the 1960s, for example, the number of immigrants winning Nobel Prizes was significantly elevated by the admission of Jewish scientists, who came to the U.S. fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe. The elimination of national origin quotas in 1965 created unprecedented opportunities for Asian immigrants, while the Immigration Act of 1990 increased employment immigration through the increased issuance of green cards. The article provides detailed information about the achievements of Nobel prize recipients in the fields of medicine, chemistry and physics and concludes that “being open to immigration allows America to reap the most benefits of scientific and technological innovation.” 

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National Foundation for American Policy(2021, October). Immigrants and Nobel Prizes: 1901-2021.