Americans Absolutely Dominated This Year’s Nobel Prizes

Jacob Bojesson | Foreign Correspondent

University of Chicago professor Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize in economics Monday, the fourth 2017 Nobel award given to Americans.

At least one American was among the laureates in chemistry, physics, economics and physiology or medicine. The two non-science awards, in literature and peace, were the only two to not feature an American recipient.

Thaler won for his research in behavioral economics, particularly people’s poor economic decision making based on instant gratification rather than long-term payback.

“Thaler is a pioneer in behavioral economics, a research field in which insights from psychological research are applied to economic decision-making,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said of its decision. “A behavioral perspective incorporates more realistic analysis of how people think and behave when making economic decisions.”

American trio Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish won the physics prize for their detection of gravitational waves. U.S. scientists Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish won the prize in physiology or medicine for discoveries explaining “how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions.”

Columbia University professor Joachim Frank won the chemistry prize along with Jacques Dubochet from Switzerland and Richard Henderson from Scotland. The trio was recognized for developing a new way to view three-dimensional images of biological molecules like proteins, including DNA and proteins.

British author Kazuo Ishiguro won the literature prize while the peace prize went to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

The U.S. has won 371 Nobel Prizes since 1901, almost three times as many as the United Kingdom in second place with 125.

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