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Skewing of Science

The Nobel Prizes — for which this year's winners were announced this week — can skew science, Vox writes.

The University of Albert's Devang Mehta tells it that the prizes tend to go to people belonging to certain demographics. He notes, for instance, that the US and the UK have historically won the most Nobel Prizes, while Japan is the only country in Asia that has won more than 10, and that, among the scientific Nobels, there have been no Black recipients. Additionally, Mehta notes few prizes have gone to women. This "affects how people view science and who can be a scientist," he adds at Vox.

Likewise, he tells Vox that only awarding Nobels to a handful of people in each category can downplay the role of collaboration in science. Instead, he suggests a re-imaging in which Nobel Prizes are awarded to discoveries, rather than to people.

"And that could be a way in which you still have the publicity of science — you still have discoveries in science going out to the world every year through the Nobels," he tells Vox. "But you don't have this kind of distortion of what science actually looks like."