Figure 2: Physics Nobel Prizes 1901-2009:
Evolution of cumulative national shares by country of birth.
Countries are ordered from upper left
to lower right corner by
the year their first laureate received a Nobel Prize fraction.
The vertical width of a nation's colored
band at each year measures its percentage of all Physics Prizes
up to that year (image height = 100%).
Germany took the lead in 1901,
the Netherlands caught up in 1902,
the UK in 1904;
the UK took the lead in 1906, then
shared it in 1907 with Germany,
which then led alone until 1976
(except for the period 1951-54 when the UK caught up for 3 years).
In 1976, German-born shared the lead with US-born,
who took over for good in 1977.
Note the substantial differences
to the citizenship-based ranking,
reflecting brain drain to the US (and the UK).
From Evolution of National Nobel Prize Shares in the 20th Century,
Jürgen Schmidhuber, 2010. PDF. HTML.