I was recently perusing a list of all the nobel prize winners, and while I wasn’t suprised at the plethora of white males in the earlier parts of the 20th century, it surprised me quite a bit that even from the 1970’s on there were very few women. Also, I assumed that in the last 3-4 decades or so, Asians would be very well represented among the science winners, which is also not the case. Furthermore, it seems that most of the winners in recent decades are Europeans, especially in the sciences, which suprised me because I thought that the mega-institutions in the U.S. (Cal Tech, MIT, and such) churned out most of the global scientific breakthroughs.
So why is this? I know the Nobel committee has a reputation for being biased, but actually I thought thier bias went in the opposite direction of what this data seems to show; that is, I thought they were often accused of being “too PC” and awarding awards to women and minorities when actually white males deserved them more. Furthermore, are they known for having a bias towards Europeans over North Americans? Or, really, have the major contributions in all the areas except Peace (in which there is a fair share of women and minorities) been made by white male Europeans?