Who are the Nobel Prize winners?

By Arisa Wing Yiu Lai, Candice Ka Wai Tang & Tanya McGovern

The Nobel Prize is synonymous with influential leaders, thinkers and innovators. Since 1901, the annual international awards receives thousands of nominations for the contributions of individuals and organisations to academia, culture and the sciences.

Winners span across the globe and the ages – from Trinidad to Japan, age 17 to 90. The awards are an interesting reflection of historical developments and events, capturing the advancement of nations, the fall of empires and the emergence of influential women.

Here is a detailed look at who makes up the institution of Nobel Prize winners.

Chinese prize winners likely to seek citizenship in other countries

Over the history of the Nobel Prize, 12 Chinese people have received recognition for their contributions to chemistry, literature, medicine, peace and physics. Of these 12, nine winners are of ethnic Chinese descent.

Six out of nine have become naturalised citizens of other countries such as the United States, France and the United Kingdom.

WATCH: The naturalisation patterns of prize winners originally from China.

DISCOVER: The Chinese people who have won the Nobel Prize through the ages.

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Females recognised in recent years

The past 14 years has seen a surge in the number of female recipients of Nobel Prizes. 19 women received awards in this period.

SEE: The number of female prize winners over time.

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Age no barrier for many achievers

Age proves no barrier to Nobel Prize winners such as 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai and 90-year-old Leonid Hurwicz.

Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 the age of 17 in recognition of her tireless campaigning for female education. The Pakistani activist was shot three times by a Taliban gunman in 2012, with one bullet entering her head.

Russian born mathematician and economist Leonid Hurwicz is the oldest person to have been awarded a Nobel Prize. His work in establishing the grounds for the widely used ‘mechanism theory’ was recognised with The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in 2007.

Mechanism theory incorporates elements of ‘game theory’, a field in which fellow mathematician and Nobel Prize winner John Forbes Nash advanced. The theory has been applied to a range of situations including taxation, voting, elections and pricing stock.

Winners aged from 61 to 65 years of age are the most highly commended age group with 133 winners. The group is followed closely by the 56-60 age group with 128 winners and the 51-55 and 46-50, both with 110 winners.

VIEW: See an interactive visualisation of the age of prize winners here.

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United States leads world in innovation

The United States leads the way with over 260 Nobel Prize winners, accounting for 29 per cent of total awardees.

The UK, Germany and France follow the US in the number of winners with 82, 62 and 51 respectively (not including awards won in former sovereign states now part of these countries).

INTERACT: View a moving visualisation of winners by country here. Click on individuals to find the prize and year they won. Smaller flags represent former countries.

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Posted by: Tanya McGovern

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