Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top 10 Universities in the World Based on Nobel Prizes

1. (tie) Cambridge: 88 (11% of all winners)
2. (tie) University of Chicago: 87 (11% of all winners)
3. Columbia: 86 (11% of all winners)
4. MIT: 78 (9% of all winners)
5. Berkeley: 70 (8% of all winners)
6. Oxford: 56
7. Stanford: 55
8. University of Heidelberg: 54
9. (tie) Yale: 48
9. (tie) Harvard: 48

If you think getting into college is hard, imagine how much harder it is to win the Nobel Prize.

Since the Nobel was first awarded in 1901, 826 individuals (and 20 institutions) have won the award--in six fields: literature, physics, chemistry, economics, physiology or medicine, and peace.

You might wonder what universities have produced the most Nobel Prize winners. If you look at which schools have had the most Nobelists affiliated with them overall--whether as faculty, students, or researchers--three universities really stand out and are in class by themselves:

Cambridge University in England leads the world with 88 Nobel Prize winners. The University of Chicago is right behind with 87 winners--the most of any American university--followed closely by Columbia University in New York with 86. About 11% of all the winners of the Nobel Prize have been affiliated with each of those schools.

MIT is fourth with 78 Nobelists--about 9.4% of those who have won the award.

There is quite a bit of drop off in winners for all other universities. The University of California at Berkeley is in 5th place with 70 winners (about 8.5% of all the people who have ever won Nobels.)

The University of Chicago and Cambridge have been neck and neck out front for years. In 2000, for instance, Cambridge had 74 winners and UChicago had 72.

Notes: Officially Columbia only claims 80 winners, but it has a slightly more conservative way of counting winners than Cambridge, UChicago, and MIT. The latter three schools, for instance, include visiting professors in their official count, unlike Columbia. However, by doing our own count of Nobelists affiliated with Columbia (including anyone who has ever been a student officially in a degree program, a researcher, or a visiting professor) we arrived at a total of 86 winners. We did not recalculate the totals for the other top four schools since they already used wider criteria for counting winners. (However, claims on the internet that Columbia has 97 Nobelists are incorrect, since that count includes people who merely gave a lecture at Columbia, received an honorary degree from Columbia, had a book printed by Columbia, or people who merely had library privileges at Columbia.)

It is perhaps not surprising that UChicago and Columbia lead the American lists considering their longstanding place at the top of U.S. universities (as mentioned in earlier posts on this blog.)

It's worth noting that Cambridge and Columbia have quite a bit larger student bodies than UChicago. UChicago has about 5,100 undergraduate and 15,000 students overall. Cambridge has about 12,000 undergraduates and 18,500 students overall. Columbia has about 7,900 undergraduates and 27,000 students overall.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Coming Soon--the 1934 Hughes Rankings of American Universities!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

1925 American University Rankings

In 1925 Raymond Hughes, the president of Iowa State College, conducted "A Study of the Graduate Schools of America" for the Association of American Colleges. He ranked graduate programs in 24 subjects by surveying faculty. Others quickly turned his departmental rankings into overall institutional rankings based on how many top-rated departments a school had.

Overall Ranking 1925:
1) University of Chicago
2) Harvard
3) Columbia
4) Yale
5) Wisconsin
6) Princeton
7) Johns Hopkins
8) Michigan
9) California (Berkeley)
10) Cornell
11) Illinois
12) Pennsylvania
13) Minnesota
14) Stanford
15) Ohio State
16) Iowa
17) Bryn Mawr
18) Caltech
19) MIT
20)  Northwestern

1910 American University Rankings

The first attempt to rank universities in America was conducted by J. McKeen Cattell, a psychology professor at Columbia University. He published a 600-page work, American Men of Science. Although mainly a biographical dictionary, Cattell grouped the names by institution, beginning with the 2nd edition in 1910. He calculated both overall rankings and departmental rankings based on the number of eminent men (and women) in science affiliated with American universities and government agencies.

Cattell was the first professor of psychology in the United States, receiving an appointment at the University of Pennsylvania; he later moved to Columbia. Upon his death, the New York Times saluted him as "the dean of American science."

Overall Ranking 1910:
1. Harvard
2. University of Chicago
3. Columbia
4. Yale
5. Cornell
6. Johns Hopkins
7. Wisconsin
8. U. S. Geological Survey
9. Dept. of Agriculture
10. MIT
11. Michigan
12. California
13. Carnegie Institute
14. Princeton
15. Stanford
16. Smithsonian
17. Illinois
18. Pennsylvania
19. Bureau of Standards
20. Missouri

It's worth pointing out that in 1910 the University of Chicago was 18 years old. (It had been founded in 1892.) Harvard was 270 years old.

1910 Overall Rank
1910 Subject Rank