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Which Country Has Won the Most Nobel Prizes, per Capita?

When you think of Saint Lucia, you probably imagine coral reefs, sun-soaked beaches and luxury hotels. But Saint Lucia is much more than just a holiday destination. In fact, the little Caribbean nation can boast of having the most Nobel Prize winners per capita of any sovereign country. Although it has a population of just 180,000 residents, two Saint Lucians have won Nobel Prizes: economist W. Arthur Lewis in 1979 and poet Derek Walcott in 1992. However, in terms of the country with the most Nobel winners in tota, it's no contest: The United States (pop. 327 million) has won 377 of the prizes, as of 2018. The United Kingdom (pop. 66 million) holds second place with 131 laureates.

Surprises about the prizes:

  • Although they are part of the Kingdom of Denmark and not a sovereign state, the Faroe Islands can boast even more Nobel laureates per capita. With a population of only 49,000 people, the archipelago has produced one laureate: Niels Ryberg Finsen, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1903.
  • The oldest person to win a Nobel Prize was Arthur Ashkin, who was 96 years old when he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018. The younger winner was Malala Yousafzai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at the age of 17.
  • On average, it takes about 20 to 30 years for a Nobel-worthy scientific discovery to be recognized with a Nobel Prize.
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