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Countries with Most Nobel Laureates per Capita

Name the countries that have won the most Nobel Prizes relative to the size of their current population.
Quiz by camus
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Last updated: October 27, 2023
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First submittedJanuary 26, 2015
Times taken29,484
Average score75.0%
Rating4.77
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per million
total
country
11.1
2
Saint Lucia
3.20
34
Sweden
3.04
2
Luxembourg
2.84
25
Switzerland
2.79
25
Austria
2.66
1
Iceland
2.55
14
Norway
2.32
14
Denmark
2.17
11
Ireland
2.02
138
United Kingdom
per million
total
country
1.49
15
Hungary
1.46
2
East Timor
1.41
13
Israel
1.38
115
Germany
1.24
22
Netherlands
1.20
412
United States
1.12
76
France
1.11
3
Lithuania
0.941
11
Belgium
0.903
5
Finland
69 Comments
+15
Level 78
Oct 28, 2017
It's been months since I made my last quiz, now here's my first featured one. What a pleasant surprise, thanks Quizmaster!
+3
Level 69
Nov 10, 2017
Thank YOU, Camus!!
+7
Level 85
Oct 28, 2017
The scale is off by a factor of 10.
+10
Level 83
Oct 28, 2017
Indeed, Wikipedia says per 10 million.
+6
Level ∞
Oct 29, 2017
Fixed, my mistake.
+7
Level 81
Oct 29, 2017
East Timor is an interesting one.
+4
Level 69
Sep 19, 2019
yea the only one I didnt guess, had 2 mins left to think about it and still didnt get it.
+5
Level 82
Oct 29, 2017
Got 100%. Somehow remembered St Lucia from when I took this months ago.
+11
Level 69
Sep 19, 2019
I got it from the picture
+13
Level 66
Oct 29, 2017
The reason St. Lucia even got guessed is on who knows that the picture is St. Lucia
+6
Level 74
Jan 23, 2018
Actually, I would have gotten it anyway because I read about Derek Walcott not too long ago and knew he was from one of the Caribbean island nations, where having just one Nobel laureate would put the per capita number really high.
+2
Level 60
Oct 28, 2023
I remember it because I've seen it on other Nobel Prize quizzes.
+2
Level 80
Oct 31, 2017
The nobel prizes seem to skip so many countries with innovative citizens, eg China, Japan, South Korea, many of the Aran states & the Indian subcontinent
+26
Level 69
Nov 10, 2017
Well, it's not that those countries aren't getting Nobel Prizes (check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_laureates_by_country; if you click on [show] next to Countries under the Summary section, you get a sortable table), it's just that they have huge populations. So even though the US has more than three times the number of Nobel laureates than the second-place country (the UK), it does not place high on this list because of the large population.
+1
Level 59
Jan 23, 2018
Got none other than the European nations.......
+1
Level 66
Apr 5, 2024
You didn't get the US?
+4
Level 37
Jan 23, 2018
Damn, I got Saint Lucia's name wrong, for some unknown reason I tried "Santa Lucia" instead...
+4
Level 93
Jun 21, 2023
I'm blaming you if that song gets stuck in my head.
+3
Level 90
Jan 23, 2018
Damn you Niels Bohr
+1
Level 59
Jan 23, 2018
I didn't expect Saint Lucia.
+1
Level 68
Dec 10, 2023
The thumbnail gives it away
+6
Level 65
Jan 23, 2018
How did only 39% get Saint Lucia? Don't people know their flags?
+10
Level 65
Jan 23, 2018
Nope
+5
Level 55
Jan 23, 2018
I know some of my flags, but Saint Lucia is apparently not one of them!
+1
Level 60
Oct 28, 2023
Some people don't look at thumbnails.
+1
Level 66
Apr 5, 2024
One of the best ones too smh
+3
Level 73
Jan 23, 2018
1:08! I was so excited when East Timor came through.

I guessed everything in Europe, more or less, and then all the tiny and small countries of the world that seemed like they might have a chance.

That said I never would've gotten around to the Caribbean in time if not for the flag picture. :-)

+5
Level 75
Jul 18, 2018
Where do Marie Curie's fit in - Poland or France?
+1
Level 62
Jul 31, 2019
Lmao I typed in Cyprus just for the sake of it and voila it's a valid answer,didn't expect that lol
+3
Level 69
Sep 19, 2019
For some of these countries, the winners were one in a million ;) (or better)
+3
Level 84
Apr 7, 2020
Relevant question for the statistics, does a prize awarded to two people count as one prize or two? Usually one would say they share the prize, but wikipedia counts them separately.
+8
Level 72
Oct 25, 2020
Fun fact: Both Saint Lucia's Nobel Prize winners share the same birthday, on January 23rd. They call it the Nobel Laureate Day there.
+1
Level 35
Nov 27, 2020
The only problem with Wikipedia is it is not reliable and can contain false information.
+12
Level 64
Dec 15, 2020
This is false, but whatever. I didn't realize in 2020, people still believe this unfounded lie. All facts need to have references, and those without are flagged as such, or just straight up deleted, even if it's super obvious. They have very strict guidelines, and rules on how it runs, so the chances of false info are no more than usual, and if there is vandalism, it's swiftly removed.
+3
Level 83
Oct 28, 2023
Which is fine for objective facts like number of Nobel prizes, but once you get into the subjective, even where there are references they can be bad or questionable (part of knowing how to reference isn't just how to list sources, it's what sources to use). In all cases it's as well to check what the sources say as well as their validity.
+6
Level ∞
Oct 28, 2023
I agree with this. The critique "Wikipedia is bad because anyone can edit it" is a poor one. One study showed that it was more accurate than Encyclopedia Brittanica!

But, I'd rate Wikipedia's accuracy as far less than 100% (although still quite good).

As Wikipedia became more popular, it has become a battle ground for people pushing their political viewpoints. I'd never trust Wikipedia to be accurate on a hot button issue like the Israel/Palestine conflict or transgenderism.

We need to accept that there is no objective source of truth. Certainly government bodies, non-profit groups, and journalists all make untrue statements and push agendas. Wikipedia will link and amplify those voices even when they are wrong. The best we can do is to hear from multiple sides and not be too overconfident about any of our beliefs.

+1
Level 54
Nov 27, 2020
I was expecting Israel first
+1
Level 44
Nov 27, 2020
Wow, I didn't know about East Timor
+2
Level 65
Nov 27, 2020
Seriously the most mind-blowing fact remains how many laureates are from Saint Lucia.. ! Guess they didn't change nationality after being awarded the prize, right?
+7
Level 81
Nov 28, 2020
The number of laureates from St Lucia is two. It's surprising if you don't know it, but I'm not sure I'd call it mind-blowing.
+2
Level 65
Nov 28, 2020
If its 2, why is Saint Lucia in #1?
+7
Level 69
Nov 29, 2020
Because it's Nobel Prizes per capita and Saint Lucia has a really small population.
+6
Level 46
Nov 28, 2020
I think this quiz would be more interesting if the Nobel Peace prize was not included. It most often goes to extremely unworthy candidates and is a blight on the Nobel Prize overall. Yes, I know I could make my own quiz but I'm lazy and prefer to whinge, what :P
+7
Level 69
Nov 30, 2020
If anything, it's the "Nobel Prize" in economics, which isn't a Nobel Prize at all, that shouldn't be included.
+2
Level 57
Jan 13, 2021
Or both.
+2
Level 69
Oct 27, 2023
Or, maybe we can just discount any individual Nobel Prize winners you personally disapprove of?
+1
Level 65
Nov 28, 2020
Are you sure that St. Lucia has the most Nobel Prize Laureates?
+16
Level 47
Nov 28, 2020
Did you read the title?
+1
Level 71
Mar 8, 2021
How do less than half of the takes get St Lucia when the thumbnail is literally St Lucia's flag
+2
Level 78
Mar 9, 2021
But how many people know St. Lucia's flag?
+2
Level 80
Mar 16, 2021
I'd guess less than half.
+1
Level 93
Jun 21, 2023
On Jetpunk you would assume at least half, but on the "Every country flag" quiz it's currently sitting at 27%.
+1
Level 85
Oct 27, 2023
I think St. Lucia has one of the coolest flags
+1
Level 43
May 2, 2021
Instead of writing capital why did you write capita
+11
Level 78
May 2, 2021
"Per capita" means "per head" = per person.
+6
Level 75
Jul 3, 2022
Tell that to Zaphod
+1
Level 71
Oct 29, 2023
Head suits you
+1
Level 78
Jul 3, 2022
Hehe
+4
Level 71
Oct 13, 2022
I visited St Lucia {very briefly!} and our guide told us about their Nobel prizes, of which they are very proud. She told us to make sure we remembered the fact, since it was a common question in quizzes!
+5
Level 89
Oct 27, 2023
I don't think I'd have guessed East Timor if I had 195 guesses! ;)
+2
Level 76
Oct 28, 2023
Putting St. Lucia's flag as the thumbnail completely ruins the surprise...
+1
Level 32
Nov 5, 2023
Cyprus is missing - with one winner (Christopher Pissarides 2010) and cyprus has a population of about 1.1m at the time, now about 1.2m.
+2
Level 76
Nov 8, 2023
From what I can tell, Aaron Krug is the only Lithuanian Nobel Laureate, winning the prize for Chemistry in 1982. Even on the wikipedia article "List of Nobel laureates by country" the only person listed under Lithuania is Aaron Krug despite the list claiming that Lithuania has 3 laureates.

Even when checking the related article "List of countries by Nobel laureates per capita," Lithuania is only shown as having one and having 3.476 laureates per 10 million or 0.3476 per million, making it far below the threshold for this quiz. The per capita article uses 2018 population.

However, even if the 2023 estimate for the UK's population is used, it would make the per million numer 2.03. I'm, not sure what metric was used for the populations of these countries but that and the faulty wikipedia article seem to be causing misleading figures.

Even according to the original wikipedia article though, the total number of laureates for the US is listed as both 411 and 413 yet this quiz uses 412

+1
Level 45
Dec 10, 2023
I'm guessing the other two are:

Czeslaw Milosz who was born in present day Lithuania, was of Lithuanian citizenship and was of Lithuanian descent (as well as Polish).

Nadine Gordimer, born in Transvaal (present day South Africa), who's father was a Lithuanian/Latvian immigrant.

+1
Level 69
Nov 19, 2023
None of these countries have won the price, but its citizens
+1
Level 67
Dec 10, 2023
Looks like the East Timor entry is related to a peace prize in relation to an Indonesian invasion from 1975-2002, (US endorsed I guess, due to the submarine related location value), to overthrow some leftist government.

Or maybe Portugal pulled out in 74, and Indonesia saw an opportunity for annexation.

Looks like there was a vote for independence in 99. The peace prize was given to a Catholic bishop, and politician, in 96. So seems like everyone lost interest post-USSR and said screw it, give them a peace prize, signal they can have their autonomy.

+1
Level 70
Dec 10, 2023
Australia has 14 Nobel laureates, so why isn't it on the list?
+1
Level 78
Dec 11, 2023
This is a per capita list. With a population of 24.8m, Australia has 0.565 laureates per capita.