Nobel prizes are announced over a week in October and the award ceremony is today, December 10th (“It’s already tomorrow in Australia”). There is an interesting story of the how C. V. Raman (of Raman effect) booked his ticket to Stockholm for the December 10th award ceremony even before the announcement because he was confident of winning the prize!

I got this dataset from “Awesome JSON Datasets” repo at

Nobel Prize dataset has three data files:

  • Laureates  — contains the profile of each laureate.

  • Country — List of countries and the country code


  • Prize — the list of each prize by year and the winner grouped together.

The prize document has an ID that links to the individual winner document in the laureate document. Let’s look at Nobel Laureates.  First, you notice, the prizes information is PLURAL and is stored in an array.  One person or an organization can win more than one prize. Let’s look at who all have won more than one prize.

Task 1.  How many have won more than one Nobel prizes?

Query 1: Simply UNNEST the laureates array to get the individual prize winners’ object and then simply determine and filter by the length of the array.  There is one entry per prize.  For more on array handling and UNNEST operations, see the article: Working with JSON Arrays in N1QL.

Task 2:  Determine which country has produced the highest number of Nobel winners.

Query 2: Simply unnest laureates and group by the field bornCountry.

Now, there are 33 winners without a country or origin… What’s going on here?

These seem to be international organizations and then a couple of winners whose data is missing bornCountry.

Task 3: How many have come from India.

Query 3: Nobel prizes have been awarded since 1901, but India got its independence in 1947. Until 1947, the born country has “British India” as the label.   Let’s do an extended search.

Some surprising results!  In addition to the well known Indian Nobel Laureates, a couple of famous UK winners, including Rudyard Kipling, were born in India. There is only one winner who wasn’t born in India but died there: Mother Theresa.

Let’s find out the categories.

Task 4: Create a stacked graph of top 7 countries to win Nobel Prizes with categofy

Results (Subset for brevity)





From this, let’s create a stacked-column graph of top-7 countries and show the prizes by category.








All these data manipulations are for fun and learning. But, the progress and peace these winners have made sans borders.

You can download the dataset and Couchbase. Then ask your own interesting questions and answer them!

Posted by Keshav Murthy

Keshav Murthy is a Senior Director at Couchbase of N1QL R&D. Previously, he was a Senior Director at MapR, Senior Architect for IBM, with more than 20 years experience in database design & development. He lead the SQL and NoSQL R&D team at IBM Informix. He has received two President's Club awards at Couchbase, two Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards at IBM. Keshav has a bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Mysore, India, holds eight US patents and invented databases for systems of engagement.

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