Lithuanians in the News
20th October 2013
A Marvellous Result for Lithuania in the 2013 Nobel Prize Announcements
Robert Shiller, Nobel Prize winner in Economics.
Photo courtesy
Michael Levitt, Nobel prize winner in Chemistry.
Photo courtesy
Among the 2013 Nobel prizes that were awarded recently were two to persons of Lithuanian heritage. One of the winners, who shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics, was Robert.Shiller (Šileris), who was born in America, but all of whose grandparents were Lithuanians. Robert Shiller’s grandparents on his father’s side came from the Tauragė region in Lithuania and his grandfather on his mother’s side hailed from the Joniškis region in Lithuania. They came to America at the turn of the last century. Robert Shiller has visited Lithuania a number of times.
The other Lithuanian heritage Nobel Prize winner was Michael Levitt, who shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was born in South Africa and his parents came from Plungė in Lithuania. Michael Levitt visited Lithuania in 2001. His cousin Abel Levitt, with wife Glenda, contributed a lot to the establishment of a “Tolerance Centre“ in Plungė‘s “Saulė“ high school, to commemorate the fate of the Jewish community of Plungė.
There has been a significant number of Nobel Prize winners who were born in Lithuania, so much so that the number of Lithuanian born Nobel Prize winners per million people is a very respectable figure compared to other countries. There are at least 4 Nobel Prize winners who were born in Lithuania:-

Andrew V. Schally, born in Vilnius in 1926 (Medicine 1977),
Czeslaw Milosz, born in Šeteiniai in 1911 ( Literature 1980),
Aaron Klug, born in Želva in 1926 (Chemistry 1982), and
Bernard Lown, born in Utena in 1921, who shared the Peace Prize awarded in 1985 to International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

The list of Lithuanian born Nobel prize winners should also include those Lithuanian physicians who were members of Médecins Sans Frontières, when the Nobel Peace Prize for 1999 was awarded to that organisation.
There are also at least 7 Nobel Prize winners, who, while not born in Lithuania, are of Lithuanian heritage. They are - Henryk Sienkiewicz (Literature 1905), Melvin Calvin (Chemistry 1961), Gertrude Elion (Medicine 1988), Nadine Gordimer (Literature 1991), David Lee (Physics 1996), Robert Shiller (Economics 2013) and Michael Levitt (Chemistry 2013). Considering the total of 11 Lithuanian Nobel Prize winners together gives Lithuania the highest number of Nobel Prize winners per capita for any sizable country in the world.

Further information: 11& 17/10/13