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Will the US per capita productivity rate of science Nobel Prizes fall below that of Germany by 2025?

How do you quantify the scientific productivity of a nation? One way is to detail the number of science Nobel prizes that have been awarded to that country. According to a May 2018 Royal Society Open Science article, 'An empirical study of the per capita yield of science Nobel prizes: is the US era coming to an end?' we now have enough data on the distribution of Nobel prizes by country to provide a reliable analysis of the long term trends. Claudius Gros, of the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Goethe University Frankfurt, examined Nobel prizes awarded for chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine indexed by their country of origin.

The cumulative number of physics, chemistry and medicine Nobel prizes per country. Prizes are attributed to the respective country according to the nationality of the recipients at the time of the announcement, with prizes obtained by more than one recipient accordingly divided.

While the US has an impressive number of science Nobel Prizes, Gros notes that “the US population increased from 76 to 327 million during 1901–2017”. When you consider the number of Nobelists per population size, then the UK has the more impressive record (followed by Germany, then the US and France). (figure)

Gros then uses this model to predict the future productivity rate of these countries. (figure)

This leads Gros to make the claim, “Our model predicts that the US per capita productivity rate will have fallen below that of Germany by 2025 and below that of France by 2028”. Will this claim turn out to be true? For our purposes, we will focus on the first half of this claim, on whether the US per capita science Nobel Prize productivity rate will fall below that of Germany by 2025 as the model predicts.

Question resolves as positive if the per-capita number of science Nobel Prizes awarded to Germans between 2020 and 2025, inclusive, exceeds that of the US.


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