, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 191–205

The Nobel prize in physics - regularities and tendencies

  • Romualdas Karazija
  • Alina Momkauskaitė

DOI: 10.1023/

Cite this article as:
Karazija, R. & Momkauskaitė, A. Scientometrics (2004) 61: 191. doi:10.1023/


Various distributions of the Nobel laureates in physics in the 20th century and their discoveries are considered. It is shown that the time-interval between the discovery and its recognition can be approximately described by a lognormal distribution. The ratio of the numbers of laureates awarded for the experimental and the theoretical discoveries was rather different in various decades; this was determined by some “waves” of discoveries and in the initial period probably by some subjective factors. The probability to obtain this prize for the theorist is larger than for the experimenter. The main part of the awards was given to the scientists working in the main fields of modern physics: small distances and solid state physics. Some fields of physics such as mathematical physics, relativity, statistical physics were ignored completely. The worrying tendency of an increasing average age of laureates towards their retirement age is indicated.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publisher/Akadémiai Kiadó 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romualdas Karazija
    • 1
  • Alina Momkauskaitė
    • 1
  1. 1.Vilnius University Research Institute of Theoretical Physics and AstronomyVilniusLithuania

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