Obama Isn’t All That Special
Written by Bwog Staff
As noted in the Bwoglines, Barack Obama, CC ’83, was this morning awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Now, while even the president admitted that he does “not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments,” and even though Wikipedia’s article on the “2009 Nobel Peace Prize” is mostly about the controversy, Columbia can still increase its Nobel count by one. Obama’s name, though, is only the most recent addition to a very long list.
In total, according to Columbia’s official numbers (which do not include those affiliated with the school for less than a year), as of today 79 alumni, faculty and researchers have gone on to win the prize, the third-highest official total in the world. Just the university’s 27 laureates in physics (the largest category, followed by 20 in physiology or medicine, and 14 in economics) are five more than UPenn’s entire total of 22. 78 of these prizes have been received since 1931; in other words, Columbia has averaged one Nobel laureate a year for more than three-quarters of a century. Not so exclusive now, eh?
Nor is Obama is the first Columbia affiliate, or even first alumnus, to win the Nobel Peace Prize, though he is the first to win it in many a year. Then-President and all-around stud Theodore Roosevelt (who attended, but did not graduate, Columbia Law School) won in 1906 for helping to end the Russo-Japanese war, while university President/library namesake Nicholas Murray Butler (CC 1882) received the prize in 1931 for his work as president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Still, it’s one more Nobel Peace Prize than we’ve won, so hats off nonetheless.
– Photo: mobo85/Flickr