Each year in October, the Nobel Prizes are announced for people or organizations whose work created the “greatest benefit to mankind” across the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, economic sciences and peace. Eleven new people won a Nobel Prize last week and became laureates (a nod to the laurel wreath awarded to victors in ancient Greece), bringing the total number of laureates to 1,000 since the first awards in 1901.
Of those, nine were born in Connecticut, compared to a high of 74 in New York, counting only U.S.-born laureates. The only New England state with more Nobel laureates than Connecticut is Massachusetts, which has 23.
And of those from Connecticut, three are from New Haven, two from Hartford and Norwalk, and one each from Middletown and West Hartford. Six of the CT-born laureates won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, while the other three won for chemistry, physics and economic sciences.
The most recent Connecticut-born laureate, George P. Smith, shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry with two other scientists in 2018. He developed a method known as phage display, which has helped further vaccine and treatment development.
Another of the Nutmeg laureates, George Akerlof, is married to the current U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, and he won the prize in economic sciences for his contributions to the theory of markets.
There is only one Connecticut-born laureate who is a woman, Barbara McClintock, and she won the prize in physiology or medicine in 1983 for her contributions to genetic research.
Besides those born in Connecticut, there have also been 10 laureates who were affiliated with the state in some other way. Nine of them were affiliated with Yale at the time of their award, and one was affiliated with Long Term Capital Management in Greenwich.