October 4, 2006

The last meritocracy?

The hard science Nobel Prizes for 2006 have been announced and, as usual, the winners are all men. Updating what I reported a couple of years ago in "The Education of Larry Summers," in the two hardest science categories, physics and chemistry, men have made up all of the last 169 Laureates, going back to the last woman winner in 1964. In contrast, before the Great War, Madame Cure won Nobels in both Physics and Chemistry, and three other women numbered among the first 160 Physics or Chemistry Laureates.

Women have been doing much better lately in the Medicine and Physiology category, making up six of the 69 Laureates from 1977-2006, compared to only one before then. This fits the Pinkerian model that women find life sciences more interesting, especially life sciences with direct application to helping people.

Still, in the three science categories (treating "Economic Sciences" as something else due to its highly politicized nature), women won a slightly higher percentage of the prizes up through 1964 then since then.

And, if you want to include Economics as a science, no woman has ever won in that category since its founding in 1969. In contrast, two of the first six Economics Nobels went to Larry Summers's own personal uncles: Kenneth Arrow and Paul Samuelson. (Larry's dad, also an economist, like Larry's mom, changed his name from Samuelson to Summers to avoid anti-Semitic discrimination, although his brother Paul didn't seem to suffer from it much in the long run.)

So, it's clear that in the hard sciences, the Nobel Foundation simply ignores the demands for diversity (i.e., equality of results) that so many other institutions cave in to.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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