What do this Year’s Nobel Laureate Scientists Have in Common?

statue of liberty

This year, six of the scientists receiving the Nobel Prize were associated with American universities. All of them are immigrants. In a year that has seen a surge in nativism in the U.S. (as well as abroad) the ordinarily mundane fact that none of America’s Nobel Laureate’s this year were born in America takes on a political subtext. Already some are using their newfound platform to speak out about the importance of open borders. The Christian Science Monitor reports:

“I think the resounding message that should go out all around the world is that science is global,” Sir James Fraser Stoddart, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and a professor at Northwestern University, who was born in Scotland, told The Hill. “It’s particularly pertinent to have these discussions in view of the political climate on both sides of the pond at the moment…. I think the United States is what it is today largely because of open borders.”

The laureate told The Guardian that his research group at Northwestern University has students and scientists from a dozen different countries and that bringing in international talent raises the bar overall.

“I got colleagues saying ‘Don’t you know that our people are better?’ ” he said of his early career in Britain. “When you get people from Messina or Madrid moving to a cold place like Sheffield, they’re serious about science…. It’s better for everyone.”