The Triumph of the West

by F.

West coast, that is:

the Western United States has recently become the world dominant region for revolutionary science, generating a new generation of elite public universities: University of Colorado at Boulder; University of Washington at Seattle; and the University of California institutions of Santa Barbara, Irvine, UCSF, and UCLA; also the Fred Hutchinson CRC in Seattle.

This is from a paper-in-progress by Bruce Charlton which looked at Nobel Prizes awarded:

Nobel laureates nations and research institutions were measured between 1947-2006 in 20 year segments. The minimum threshold for inclusion was 3 Nobel prizes. Credit was allocated to each laureate’s institution and nation of residence at the time of award.

Unsurprisingly, based on this measure of “revolutionary” scientific research, the US has the “best” universities:

At present these elite institutions are found almost exclusively in the USA. The USA is apparently the only nation with a scientific research system that nurtures revolutionary science on a large scale. “Over 60 years,” says Charlton, “the USA has 19 institutions which won three-plus Nobel prizes in 20 years, the UK has 4, France has 2 and Sweden and USSR 1 each.”

Of course, if you think about per capita prizes, things sort out a little differently. The US, after all, has 300 million people, while the UK has 60 million and Sweden 9 million.