21st century Nobel rankings has Japan third, just behind U.K. but way back from U.S.


Japan came in third in a global league table of 21st century Nobel Prize winning nations in science released Thursday by education experts Times Higher Education.

Japan was narrowly beaten by Britain in second place, with the United States way out ahead in first place. The table ranked countries according to the nationalities at birth of Nobel Prize winners in the fields of economics, medicine, physics and chemistry. The rankings cover 146 laureates since 2000.

The United States was first with 71 prizes and its top field being economics. Second was Britain on 12 prizes and its best subject area medicine.

Although Japan picked up 13 prizes, it was put in third place due to weighting of the overall scores. Its top field was physics. Other countries in the top 10 included Germany, Israel, France and Russia.

Also released was a league table of the top 10 universities with the most Nobel Prize winners in sciences. U.S. universities took the top eight places with Stanford University, which has seen seven Nobel Laureates since 2000, coming first, followed by Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Harvard University and the University of Cambridge lay just outside the top 10.

Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education Rankings, said, “Asia’s otherwise world-class institutions are notable by their absence in this table. While many in East Asia have benefited from generous funding in recent decades and exciting reforms which have seen them march up the World University Rankings, there is a remaining challenge around nurturing the creativity, the freedom and the often rather maverick thinking that can lead to the most groundbreaking scientific discoveries.”

Each university has been given a score based on the number of winners affiliated with the institution at the time the award was granted. This means literature and peace prize winners were excluded from the analysis. The score is then weighted based on the number of prize winners for the category and the number of institutions affiliated with each award.

The list has been released by Times Higher Education ahead of its World Academic Summit at the University of Melbourne between Sept. 30 and Oct. 2.

Times Higher Education claims to be the world’s most authoritative source of information about higher education and is published by TES Global.