USA vs. China Ways (8.2)

David W Wang
3 min readAug 16, 2021

Why the Chinese Rarely Get awarded for Nobel Prices in Science?

Since 1901, the Nobel Prizes have been awarded in the categories of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Literature and Peace, with the subsequent addition of Economics. Amid these, chemistry, physics and medicine are deemed in the category of natural science, whole economy is more on the side of social science.

On the natural science side, the winners have included notable people such as Marie Curie, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, and Linus Pauling.

To date, there are five Chinese scientists who have won Nobel Prices. Among them, four are Chinese Americans, and only one person is a Chinese citizen from the mainland.

As a reference and comparison with its East Asia neighbor, there are 25 Japanese scientists who have won Nobel Prices to date.

So what happened to the Chinese scientists? This is actually a so called “heaven to ask” question in China.

The answer seems to be more relevant to geo-political and social cultural environment rather than ethnical origins for the development of science and technologies. It has proved the Chinese are all capable for Nobel Prices. The question can narrow down to what happened in the China’s environment for advanced and creative science development?

The answer exploration can become sensitive to certain extent. Before thing could be blamed on shabby economic conditions of education and scientific research in China: the country was poor and the people were poor, no investment on scientific research and development.

But today, Chinese has become wealthy, especially from the governmental angle. But has its science reached to the next level? Well, again a lot of progress made, but still far away from the master degree like the Nobel Price level.

In the past for the question why Chinese American scientists could win Nobel price, the answer could be the US was a wealthy and developed country and set the material foundation for scientific research and development.

OK, that might be quite true. But now China’s economy has been quite developed too, then why there are not many master level Chinese scientists who emerge?



David W Wang

Based in Washington DC metro, a senior analyst and columnist on US-China relations and political cultures. Best-seller Publication: Decoding Dragon’s Mindset