The number of Nobel Laureates in each country is often a matter of some pride. More importantly, it is often used to bolster arguments about the quality of science in different countries. Recently, I saw a creationist use these numbers to support the claim that acceptance of evolution was irrelevant. According to this IDiot, the USA has the most Nobel Laureates in spite of the fact that 50% of the population don't believe in evolution. He was thinking that scientists who are Christians can be better than scientists who are not.
Here's the data in case anyone is interested. The total number of Nobel Laureates in the sciences is given in column two for each country. Only the top ten countires are listed. The third column gives the population in millions [List of countries by population]1. The last column is the number of Nobel Laureates per million people.
As you can see, a couple of countries are punching way above their weight (Sweden and Switzerland). Several countries are way further down the list than they should be (Canada, Russia, Japan, China, India). The USA is not getting any more Nobel Prizes than its population warrants.
1. The population numbers are from the last few years. Since the Nobel Laureates are from the past 100 years, you could argue that the ratios for Canada and the USA should be higher since their populations have grown a lot more than the populations of the European countries and Japan. This would be obvious if we normalized on the 1950 populations.