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Tags: nobel prize. claudia goldin
OPINION

9th Bronx High School Alumnus Wins Nobel Prize

9th Bronx High School Alumnus Wins Nobel Prize

Claudia Goldin, the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University, speaks at a press conference after being named this year's Nobel Laureate in the Economic Sciences at Harvard University on October 9. (Carlin Stiehl/Getty Images)

Mark Schulte By Friday, 27 October 2023 02:29 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Claudia Goldin, the only recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics, is the ninth graduate of the Bronx High School of Science (’63) to win this prestigious prize.

Bronx Science’s other Nobelists are men: seven in physics and one in chemistry.

Goldin is the 45th Nobelist in the scientific disciplines — Chemistry, Economics, Medicine and Physics — who graduated from a New York City public high school, representing a phenomenal 6% of the 739 scientific winners since 1901.

Ranking second worldwide for scientific laureates are Brooklyn’s James Madison High School and Phillips Andover in Massachusetts, five each.

Seventeen NYC winners are for Physics; 16, Medicine; and 6 each in Chemistry and Economics.

Thirty-nine, including Goldin, are Jewish.

Three other women won a Nobel Prize in 2023: Hungarian-American Katalin Kariko in Medicine; French-Swedish Anne L’Huillier in Physics; and Narges Mohammadi, the imprisoned Iranian human-rights activist for Peace.

Goldin is the fourth alumnae of a New York City public high school to receive the Nobel Prize. The others are for Medicine: Rosalyn Sussman Yalow and Gertrude Elion, from the Bronx’s Walton High School; and Barbara McClintock, Brooklyn’s Erasmus High School.

A third Walton alumna, Anna Schwartz (1915-2012), collaborated with the 1976 Economics laureate Milton Friedman, and her obituary in the New York Times notes that “her supporters thought the prize might have been awarded jointly.”

Only 28 women are winners of a Nobel in the four scientific fields, with Polish-French Marie Curie having amazingly won for Physics (1903) and Chemistry (1911). Her daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie, was awarded the Chemistry prize in 1935.

NYC’s four public high school winners constitute a spectacular 14% of these extraordinary women.

Laureates McClintock (1923) and Goldin (‘67) graduated from Cornell, and four other Nobelists from a NYC public high school also received a bachelor’s from this Ivy League university.

Bronx Science’s physicists Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg; physicist Isidor Isaac Rabi (class of 1919) from Brooklyn’s Manual Training High School; and economist Robert Fogel from Stuyvesant High School.

Fogel was Claudia Goldin’s doctoral adviser at the University of Chicago.

For more than a century, Cornell University’s world-class greatness is partly attributable to welcoming high-achieving Jewish, female, Black, Asian and other minority students.

Two female Nobel laureates in Literature received a master’s degree from Cornell: Pearl Buck in 1925, and Toni Morrison in 1955.

In 1996, on the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Bronx Science, I attended a lecture by Harvard Professor Goldin, where she presented data that the gender ratio at the school, for all incoming 10th grade classes throughout the 1960s, was two males for every female.

But, incredibly, the class that started in Sept. 1970 was evenly divided between males and females.

This revolutionary change resulted from the 1969 lawsuit, Alice de Rivera v. NYC Board of Education, which abolished the discriminatory walls that prevented female students from enrolling at Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech, the city’s other venerable STEM high schools.

This landmark decision also ended the egregiously unconstitutional quota, of two-boys-for-one girl, at Bronx Science.

At Goldin’s sparsely-attended lecture more than a quarter-century ago, I disagreed when she claimed that, if she had not attended Bronx Science, her life would not have been as successful, as her local high school was James Monroe.

I pointed out Daniel Goldin, the engineer who ran NASA between 1992 and 2001, graduated from this Bronx high school a few years before she finished Bronx Science.

Leon Lederman, the Nobelist in physics in 1988, graduated from James Monroe in 1939.

Furthermore, many neighborhood public high schools were academically superb until the early 1970’s, as exemplified by the two Nobelists who attended Martin van Buren High School in Queens in the mid-1960’s: Frank Wilczek (Physics, 2004); and Alvin Roth (Economics, 2012).

Moreover, David Julius, the recipient of the Medicine Prize in 2021, writes in a Nobel autobiography that one miserable year at Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School, a three-hour roundtrip from his home in southern Brooklyn, persuaded him to transfer to the local high school, Abraham Lincoln, from which he graduated in 1973.

His two high schools have four winners each in the scientific fields.

Eighteen, or 40%, of NYC’s 45 public-school laureates, graduated from high schools with rigorous entrance requirements: Bronx Science, 9; Stuyvesant, 4; Townsend Harris, 3; and Brooklyn Tech, 2.

Twenty-seven, or 60%, graduated from neighborhood academic high schools.

In 1986, when I began researching and writing about the Big Apple’s Nobel laureates, Bronx Science had notched three Nobel laureates. Five other male alumni won the prize during the subsequent quarter century.

But I knew that an alumna of my alma mater, which first admitted female students in 1946, would eventually win in a scientific discipline. On October 9, 2023, Claudia Goldin accomplished this extraordinary feat.

On Oct. 21, according to the twitter account of the Israel Foreign Ministry, 86 Nobel laureates, including Goldin, indomitably signed a petition addressed to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, demanding the immediate release of the kidnapped Israeli children abominably held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Seven other NYC Nobelists have also mobilized for this preeminent humanitarian rescue: Harvey Alter (Medicine); Sheldon Glashow (Physics); Roald Hoffman (Chemistry); Robert J. Lefkowitz (Chemistry); Arno Penzias (Physics); H. David Politzer (Physics); and Alvin Roth (Economics).

Glashow, Lefkowitz and Politzer are also Bronx Science graduates.

Mark Schulte is a retired New York City schoolteacher and mathematician who has written extensively about science and the history of science. Read Mark Schulte's Reports — More Here.

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MarkSchulte
Claudia Goldin, the only recipient of this year's Nobel Prize in Economics, is the ninth graduate of the Bronx High School of Science ('63) to win this prestigious prize.
nobel prize. claudia goldin
910
2023-29-27
Friday, 27 October 2023 02:29 PM
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