To improve the analysis I propose we remove the economics prize and replace it with the Fields Medal, and also normalize the number of winners to the size of the country/institution :-) It seems that US dominance is actually *increasing* (at least over 20 year timescales; perhaps we're past the peak by now). See related posts here.
Note that Stanford + Berkeley (the bay area, not even counting UCSF, which won 3) beats any other country over the last 20 years.
Why there should be more science Nobel Prizes – and why proportionate credit should be awarded to institutions
Medical Hypotheses 2007; 68: 471-3 – doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2006.11.003
The four science Nobel prizes (physics, chemistry, medicine/ physiology and economics) have performed extremely well as a method of recognizing the highest level of achievement. The prizes exist primarily to honour individuals but also have a very important function in science generally. In particular, the institutions and nations which have educated, nurtured or supported many laureates can be identified as elite in world science. However, the limited range of subjects and a maximum of 12 laureates per year means that many major scientific achievements remain un-recognized; and relatively few universities can gather sufficient Nobel-credits to enable a precise estimate of their different level of quality. I advocate that the Nobel committee should expand the number of Nobel laureates and Prize categories as a service to world science. 1. There is a large surplus of very high quality prize candidates deserving of recognition. 2. There has been a vast expansion of research with a proliferation of major sub-disciplines in the existing categories. 3. Especially, the massive growth of the bio-medical sciences has created a shortage of Nobel recognition in this area. 4. Whole new fields of major science have emerged. I therefore suggest that the maximum of three laureates per year in the categories of physics, chemistry and economics should always be awarded, even when these prizes are for diverse and un-related achievements; that the number of laureates in the ‘biology’ category of physiology or medicine should be increased to six or preferably nine per year; and two new Prize categories should be introduced to recognize achievements in mathematics and computing science. Together, these measures would increase the science laureates from a maximum of 12 to a minimum of 24, and increase their coverage. The Nobel Prize committee should also officially allocate proportionate credit to institutions for each laureate - both in retrospect for past prizes, and in the future.
...Nobel laureates nations and research institutions were measured between 1947-2006 in 20 year segments. The minimum threshold for inclusion was 3 Nobel prizes. Credit was allocated to each laureate's institution and nation of residence at the time of award. Over 60 years, the USA has 19 institutions which won three-plus Nobel prizes in 20 years, the UK has 4, France has 2 and Sweden and USSR 1 each. Four US institutions won 3 or more prizes in all 20 year segments: Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley and Caltech. The most successful institution in the past 20 years was MIT, with 11 prizes followed by Stanford (9), Columbia and Chicago (7).
Table 1 – Number of Nobel laureates by Nation – twenty year segments from 1947-2006. A minimum of three prizes in one time segment is required for inclusion.
Nation - 1947-66 - 1967-86 - 1987-2006
USA -50 - 88 - 126
UK - 20 - 25 - 9
Germany - 8 - 7 - 9
Switzerland - 3 - 7 - 7
Sweden - 3 - 7 - 1
Japan - 2 - 1 - 3
USSR/Russia - 7 - 2 - 2
France - 4 - 3 - 5
Table 2 - Number of United States Nobel laureates by Institution – twenty year segments from 1947-2006. A minimum of three prizes in one time segment is required for inclusion.
Institution - 1947-66 - 1967-86 - 1987-2006
Harvard - 9 - 13 - 5
Univ. California Berkeley - 7 - 3 - 4
Stanford - 4 - 5 - 9
Caltech - 4 - 4 - 5
Columbia - 4 - 1 - 7
Rockefeller Inst. & Univ. - 3 - 6 - 3
Chicago - 2 - 4 - 7
Princeton - 1 - 2 - 6
MIT - 1 - 5 - 11
Cornell - 1 - 4 - 2