Last October, an interesting article was published in Forbes in time for the announcement of Nobel prize winners. The article stated that many of American Nobel laureates are immigrants. Since 1901 when the first Nobel prizes were awarded, 40 percent of the Nobel prizes in chemistry, medicine and physics were given to U.S. citizens and 35 percent of them are immigrants. Last year, two out of three Nobel prize winners in economics were immigrants from France and India, while the winners in chemistry and physics were also immigrants from the United Kingdom and Canada.
The article was written to criticize President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. It emphasized the fact that 80 percent of the 105 Nobel prize winners, who were immigrants, received the awards in the early 1960s when immigration restrictions were eased. The article has supported the argument that the Trump administration’s strict immigration policies could undermine the nation’s competitiveness.
This reporter was curious how immigrants can make a country more competitive, which was not mentioned in the article. I was able to get the answer from a person who is friends with many world-renowned Jewish scholars. He said it was probably due to their creativity that has been nurtured by experiencing various cultures for a long time. Indeed, Jewish people had moved from place to place for thousands of years. Learning a language and adapting to a new culture must have been crucial for their survival, which, in turn, cultivated their creativity. It is a valid point considering that Jews who make up only 0.2 percent of the global population have received 22 percent of Nobel prizes.