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Dear Mr. Trump: All 6 U.S. science Nobel Prize winners this year so far are immigrants.

At a time when anti-immigration rhetoric is at an all-time high, it's imperative we look at the bigger picture.

Dear Mr. Trump: All 6 U.S. science Nobel Prize winners this year so far are immigrants.

“I think the United States is what it is today largely because of open borders."

That comment comes from Scottish-born naturalized U.S. citizen Sir J. Fraser Stoddart. When he said this to The Hill, he'd just won the Nobel Prize for chemistry.

This statement was bold, especially in an election year where the topic of immigration has been a hot-button issue filled with troublesome rhetoric.


Stoddart had a good reason for the comment: All six American Nobel laureates in science announced so far this year are immigrants.

Every year, the Nobel Foundation awards this prestigious honor to the most innovative scientists, writers, researchers, and peace-builders around the world for their outstanding contributions in the world of physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, literature, and peace.

All six science Nobel Prize winners from the U.S. Photos by (clockwise) Scott Olson/Getty Images; Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge/Getty Images; Scott Eisen/Getty Images; Kayana Szyymczak/AFP/Getty Images; Mickael Vis/AFP/Getty Images; Denise Applewhite/Princeton University/Getty Images.

Stoddart was recognized for his breakthrough research in creating new ways to energize and steer molecules that could revolutionize how we treat illnesses and help develop more powerful computers.

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Duncan M. Haldane, who is British; David Thouless, also Scottish; and Michael Kosterlitz, who is originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, and was born to Jewish refugees who fled Hitler's Germany. Their theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter could have a tremendous impact in electronics and computing.

Finally, Oliver Hart is from Britain, and Bengt Holmström is from Finland. Both are being recognized for their contributions to economics.

(On Oct. 13, 2016, the foundation also announced that beloved singer-songwriter Bob Dylan earned the coveted Nobel Prize for literature for "new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." Not too shabby, America!)

This science lineup is a big deal, especially now.

At a time when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is taking an unapologetically tough stance on immigration by proposing "extreme vetting" (and promising to build a massive wall and deport undocumented immigrants who are already here), this award lineup speaks volumes about why we need inclusive immigration policies.

It proves we can greatly benefit from inviting immigrants into our country. It shows that when we abandon our fear of differences, we'll find that folks from other places have a lot to offer in terms of science, education, and technological advances.

These six winners are literally making the world a better place.

The Nobel Foundation Prize Award Ceremony in 2008. Image by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.

As Stoddart pointed out to The Hill, America's incredible scientific progress can remain strong "as long as we don't enter an era where we turn our back on immigration."

These Nobel Prize winners make an excellent and irrefutable case for nurturing our immigration system.

“I think the resounding message that should go out all around the world is that science is global," Stoddart said.

It's imperative we look at the bigger picture instead of just focusing on the negative aspects of immigration. Many of our amazing and impressive scientific innovations are here because of immigration.

We can accomplish amazing things when we have no barriers — physical or otherwise.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less