Six of the seven American Nobel laureates for 2016 are immigrants — and it’s a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed in the same year that the Republican nominee has promised to curtail immigration and build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
The Nobel prizes for physics, chemistry, and economic sciences, which were announced on Monday, were spread across five US academics who were originally from the United Kingdom and one from Finland.
On Thursday, Bob Dylan broke the streak and became the year’s first American-born laureate after being awarded the prize in literature.
Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, a Scotland-born chemist at Northwestern University, told Public Radio International that open borders have been “total magic in the academic world,” allowing for an open exchange of information that furthers scientific progress.
“I’m all for movement of all of the people in the system … open borders, open policy,” he said.
Stoddart also said he has been left “totally speechless” by the calls from Donald Trump and his supporters to “build the wall.”
“Surely the US has benefited from people on the other side of that ‘wall’ coming here for centuries. Why would you want to stop it? It doesn’t make any sense” he said.
Another laureate Duncan Haldane, a Princeton University professor who was awarded the prize for physics, told Reuters that scientists flock to America for its unparalleled universities and research funding, leading to unexpected breakthroughs.
Haldane said his own move to the US was prompted by the British government’s lack of funding for curiosity-driven research, even despite America’s immigration process being a “bureaucratic nightmare.”
“I think the higher education system in the US is second to none. As far as science is concerned, as close to perfect as one could hope it to be,” Haldane told The Hill.
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