grants—foreign correspondents and representatives of foreign corporations, for example. If the comparison were made solely with immigrants in the overall population, the proportions of immigrants among American Nobel laureates would be even more striking.

Immigrants in the United States are represented in all of the fields for which Nobel prizes are awarded. The percentage of U.S. prizewinners who are immigrants includes 26 percent for chemistry, 32 percent for physics, 31 percent for physiology or medicine, 31 percent for economics, and, perhaps surprisingly, 27 percent for literature.13

In the United States, two of the highest honors for a scientist or engineer are election to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, in recognition of distinguished contributions. The procedures for election involve nomination by an Academy member, with supporting references from several other members, and election at an annual meeting.

The National Academy of Sciences currently has 1,838 members, who represent a wide variety of fields in the physical, biological, and social sciences.14 As of July 1996, 391, or 21 percent, of the members were foreign-born. The National Academy of Engineering currently has 1,953 members, of whom 245, or 14 percent, are foreign-born.15 Thus, immigrant scientists and engineers are represented in substantial numbers in both academies of science and engineering.

Kennedy Center honors are given annually to persons who throughout their lifetimes have made significant contributions to American culture through the performing arts. Recipients need not be U.S. citizens; information is available on place of birth but not on immigration status. Of the 90 recipients from 1978, when the award was first given, to 1994, 22—that is, almost one-fourth—are foreign-born. Those recognized have made contributions not only to universal culture, as in music, but also to something largely, often quintessentially, American. Winners include Gregory Peck and Aretha Franklin and, among the immigrants, Claudette Colbert from France, Cary Grant from England, and a true American icon, Bob Hope from England.16 Again, that immigrants account for 24 percent of the honorees indicates an overrepresentation of immigrants in the ranks of celebrated American achievers.

Immigrant participation in professional sports varies considerably. At one extreme, only 48 of 1,756 players in the 1996 season of the National Football

13  

Eleven Nobel prizes for literature have been awarded to residents of the United States. Of these eleven, three were to immigrants, including Isaac Bashevis Singer, from Poland, in 1978; Czeslaw Milosz, from Lithuania, in 1980; and Joseph Brodsky, from Russia, in 1987.

14  

There are also 306 foreign associate members who are excluded from these numbers. The 1,838 members are active or emeritus members in the United States.

15  

There are 146 foreign associate members who are excluded from these numbers.

16  

Examples of recipients who have made contributions to culture beyond anything specifically American include musicians such as Eugene Ormandy and Sir Georg Solti, both from Hungary.



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