Funds provided by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) supported the research carried out by five of all 2011 Nobel Prize laureates. This is great moment for the Foundation, which has a long-standing tradition with supporting research that is both relevant and applicable at a large scale.
Three of the five NSF-supported laureates won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess all carried out researches that were funded by the NSF at some critical point. They received this award for their studies of cosmic expansion.
The other two investigators were Thomas J. Sargent and Christopher A. Sims, who were recognized with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics for their contribution to understanding the effects of macropolicies on societies.
Receiving the Nobel Prize in physics, medicine and physiology, economics, peace, literature and chemistry is a great honor for any researcher. The awards are only given to scientists whose contribution to their respective fields of research has been groundbreaking and long-lasting.
The Stockholm, Sweden-based Nobel Foundation has been awarding these prizes (except the one for economy) since 1901. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences began being awarded in 1968, in memory of the great scientist.
“The international community of scientists once again recognized the bold contributions that NSF-supported researchers have made to the scientific enterprise,” NSF Director Subra Suresh explains.
“Over the years, more than 195 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to scientists, whose fundamental research has been supported by NSF at some point in their careers,” the investigator goes on to say.
Generally speaking, the influence the NSF has on science in the United States and abroad is absolutely remarkable. Grants from the Foundation can be encountered in a vast number of investigations currently being conducted around the world.
The subjects encompassed by these grants and research teams are incredibly diverse, from analyzing the physical phenomena powering up the Sun to understanding Earth's atmosphere, creating metamaterials and new types of electronics, and improving agriculture and solar cells.
Every once in a while, one of the research team the Foundation supports makes such a monumental breakthrough that its leaders are awarded the Nobel Prize in various fields. By extension, the NSF has already accumulated dozens of these awards.