Nobel Prize winners are overwhelmingly men in 2017 — and every other year
Nobel Prize winners this year have something in common — they’re all men.
With the peace and economics prizes yet to be announced for 2017, science and literature awards have all been won by males.
The prize for physics was won by three American researchers, Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish. The scientists were the first to detect the faint ripples in the universe called gravitational wave — something predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
The prize for physiology or medicine was also awarded to three Americans, who discovered key genetic “gears” of the body’s 24-hour biological clock, the mechanism best known for causing jet lag when it falls out of sync.
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The chemistry award was given to another three men — Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson — who pioneered ways to visualize biomolecules.
While there’s no dispute over the credibility of the winners’ work, there is a lack of diversity. And it’s something scientists have pointed out online.
Benjamin T. Saunders, a postdoctoral fellow, Johns Hopkins University, pointed out the problem by posting illustrations of this year’s winners.
Others shared similar sentiments.
Only 17 women have been awarded Nobel Prizes in the science categories since the program began in 1901. To put that in perspective, the physics award has been given to 207 people, the chemistry prize 178 times, and the medicine prize has been awarded to 214 people.
But more women are gradually being recognized for their work. Between 2001 and 2016, 19 women were given Nobel Prizes. That’s an increase from the seven women who got the distinction between 1961 and 1980.
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Outside of science disciplines, the prizes are presented to women slightly more often. For example, 16 women have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
The 2017 winner of the Peace Prize will be announced Friday.
— With files from The Associated Press
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