No Matter Where You Go, There You Are


Tokyo, Japan
Originally from San Francisco I now run a small company importing US software into Japan. As an expatriate I find I get a different perspective on American events and politics. Like President Obama, I'm a mutt. Go Mutts!


DaveInTokyo's Links
JANUARY 20, 2011 12:14PM

How Much Does a Nobel Laureate Make?

Rate: 0 Flag
The University of California has always touted the Nobel Laureates who are on the faculty.  It's a matter of pride for the system.  After I hit the ceiling when I learned that the UC Berkely and UCLA football coaches make more than $2 million dollars a year, I wondered to myself "How much does a Nobel Laureate make at UC?"  I figured these folks should be the top academics.  With the help of the Sacramento Bee's State Worker Salary Search ( I did a little Nobel stalking.  The results may surprise you.

The UC web site lists 56 Nobel Laureates.  Of those, 25 are listed as deceased and of the remaining 31 I was able to find salary data for 13.

We'll go by campus, with the salary ranking for their Nobel Laureates and then the top 10 earners for that school and their positions.

UCB (Cal)
UC Berkeley - this is the big name in the UC system.  Top notch in physics, computer science, all the hard sciences, or so they would like you to believe.  Also home to the Walter J. Haas business school, has the Lawrence Berkeley Labs as an adjunct.  The Manhattan Project?  That was run by a UC Berkeley professor.

Number of currently employed Nobel Laureates at UC Berkeley: supposedly 6, I could only find salary data for 2.  2 of them got their prizes in the 60's so I think Berkeley is cheating just a bit in claiming them for the faculty.

George Akerlof, Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 2001.  2007 salary (higher than 2009 so I used that):$266,359
Salary rank at UC Berkely (equiv for 2009): 73
George Smoot, Nobel prize in Physics 2006.  2008 salary (higher than 2009): $160,650
Salary rank at UC Berkely (equiv for 2009): 630

UC Berkeley top 10 earners

Jeff Tedford HEAD COACH 5 $2,338,409.39
Michael J. Montgomery HEAD COACH 5 $1,606,588.82
Joanne Boyle HEAD COACH 5 $658,691.22
Anne Saunders Barbour ATHLETICS MANAGER 4 $470,017.06
Robert J. Birgeneau CHANCELLOR $428,712.84
Andrew M Isaacs ADJ PROF-ACAD YR-BUS/ECON/ENG $399,582.00
Christopher R. Somerville DIRECTOR $389,533.20
Ganesh Iyer ASSOCIATE DEAN $373,320.48
Richard K Lyons DEAN (SCHOOL/COLLEGE)-EXEC $360,760.00

What the hell Berkeley?  Your top 3 earners are coaches?  There are only 2 professors in the top salaries at your university?  Your sole Nobel Laureate in Physics is #630 in your salary rankings?

I suspect Dr. Smoot is semi-retired which would explain his somewhat low salary, but I doubt he'd be in the top ten even if he was still working full-time.  UC Berkeley's priorities are clear - football, football, football.  The damn team doesn't even win.  The business school is a distant fourth.

Oh, Steven Chu, Physics 1997, was at UC Berkeley in the past.  Now, he's Secretary of Energy in the Obama administration.  His pay?  $193,300.  Well, at least he's making more than George Smoot.
UC San Francisco is UC's medical only campus.  It's a top notch teaching hospital.

Number of currently employed Nobel Laureates at UC San Francisco: 2

Stanley Prusiner, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1997.  2009 salary: $803617
Salary rank at UCSF: 4
Elizabeth Blackburn, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009.  2009 salary: $251,076
Salary rank at UCSF: 480

Well, at least UCSF has one Nobel Prize winner in their top 10.  Too bad he's not making as much as the football coaches at Cal or UCLA.  He is making more than the 3rd head coach at UC Berkeley, though!

UC San Francisco top 10 earners

Timothy H Mccalmont PROF OF CLIN -MEDCOMP-A $1,902,464.33
Philip E Leboit PROF OF CLIN -MEDCOMP-A $1,854,158.22
Anthony Azakie ASSOC PROF IN RES-MEDCOMP-A $1,221,895.59
Stanley B Prusiner PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $803,617.45
Thomas P Vail PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $770,105.25
Michael S Conte PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $749,900.69
Michael T Lawton PROF IN RES-MEDCOMP-A $736,997.84
Mark R Laret DIRECTOR (FUNCTL AREA)-EXEC $724,838.82
Beth S Ruben HS ASSOC CLIN PROF-MEDCOMP-A $723,700.08
Nancy L Ascher PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $712,324.16
Christopher P Ames ASO PROF OF CLIN -MEDCOMP-A $709,639.16

Wow.  Those are some big numbers for someone who's not a football coach.  At least UCSF has their priorities straight.  They're a med school and all of the top earners are doctors.  I gotta wonder about a doctor making $1.9 million at a state school, though.

UC Los Angeles is a usually ranked as #2 or sometimes #1 in the UC system.  They have a medical school attached as well.

Number of currently employed Nobel Laureates at UC Los Angeles: 1 (they claim 5, but 3 are dead and Paul Boyer, Chemistry 1997, is 92 years old so I don't think he does much teaching.  He doesn't appear to be drawing a salary either).

Louis Ignarro, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1998.  2009 salary: $380304
Salary rank at UCLA: 113

I think Louis would be much happier at UCSF, don't you?

UC Los Angeles top 10 earners

Benjamin Clark Howland COACH, INTERCOL ATHLETICS,HEAD $2,135,188.22
Ronald W Busuttil PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $1,782,044.62
Richard J Shemin PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $1,399,208.38
Richard Gerald NeuheiselCOACH, INTERCOL ATHLETICS,HEAD $1,311,776.30
Michael Lee Steinberg PROF OF CLIN -MEDCOMP-A $960,843.97
Neil A Martin PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $950,137.64
John Mazziotta PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $904,870.13
Fardad EsmailianHS CLIN PROF-MEDCOMP-A $903,594.00
Arthur W Toga PROFESSOR-GENCOMP-B $730,987.19
Gerald S. Levey DEAN (SCHOOL/COLLEGE)-EXEC $729,186.32

OK, UCLA's priorities are clear.  Football and medicine.  Football comes first.  I think Berkeley needs to have a med school so that they won't look so STUPID.
UC Santa Barbara was always considered a party school back when I was in college.  They do not have a medical school, but they do have 5 Nobel Laureates!  I was able to find the salary data for 4 of them.

David Gross, Nobel Prize in Physics, 2004.  2009 salary: $399062
Salary rank at UCSB: 2
Alan Heeger, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2000.  2009 salary: $312266
Salary rank at UCSB: 6
Herbert Kroemer, Nobel Prize in Physics, 2000.  2009 salary: $290928
Salary rank at UCSB: 12
Finn Kydland, Nobel Prize in Economics, 2004.  2009 salary: $402696
Salary rank at UCSB: 1
Walter Kohn, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1998.  2009 salary: N/A
Salary rank at UCSB: N/A

UC Santa Barbara top 10 earners
Finn E Kydland PROFESSOR-ACAD YR-BUS/ECON/ENG $402,696.36
David Gross DIRECTOR $399,062.06
Michael Gazzaniga PROFESSOR - ACADEMIC YEAR $387,070.49
David D Awschalom PROFESSOR - ACADEMIC YEAR $347,288.95
Henry T. Yang CHANCELLOR $312,494.19
Alan J Heeger PROFESSOR - ACADEMIC YEAR $312,266.70
Daniel E Morse PROFESSOR - ACADEMIC YEAR $311,829.91
Leslie Gary Leal PROFESSOR-ACAD YR-BUS/ECON/ENG $306,800.01
Glenn H Fredrickson PROFESSOR-ACAD YR-BUS/ECON/ENG $306,487.51
Larry Coldren PROFESSOR-ACAD YR-BUS/ECON/ENG $300,675.08

Damn.  UC Santa Barbara is all grown up.  This is what a UC is supposed to look like.  Seriously.  Berkeley and UCLA, take notes (hint: there are no football coaches in their top 10 list)!  It figures that the Econ guy manages to get the top salary, but the physics guy is a close #2.  The salaries are also closer to what a state university should be paying.

Oh, UC Santa Barbara is also home to Shuji Nakamura, inventor of the blue LED.  No, he didn't just get out a marker.  It was actually hard quantum mechanics and his name has been mentioned as being Nobel Prize material.  He left Japan and his company there when he figured out how badly screwed he was (patents on the blue LED made a fortune for Nichia).  White LED's, being used for lighting, are based on blue LED's as well as Blu-Ray players.  He's made $299,066 in 2009 and is #11 on the salary list.

UC San Diego, last in our list.  My alma mater and one of the most beautiful campuses in the system.  Unfortunately next to La Jolla, home of lots of old rich people who hate college students, so we had to stay on campus and study.  UCSD has a medical school, but no football team.  UCSD claims six Nobel Laureates on the faculty, I could only find salary data for two.

Harry Markowitz, Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, 1990.  2009 salary: $122731
Salary rank at UCSD: 1691
Mario Molia, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1995.  2009 salary: $142393
Salary rank at UCSD: 1245

(BTW UCSD, real classy to put these guys on your web page but then pay them peanuts.  How about tossing a bone to the Nobel Prize winners you like to claim?  You're even cheaper than Berkeley, at least in the pay rankings)

UC San Diego top 10 earners

Stuart W Jamieson PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $964,529.58
Robert N. Weinreb PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $934,111.67
Mark A. Talamini PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $793,614.61
David Allen Brenner VICE CHAN (FUNCTIONAL AREA) $755,897.92
John J. Lamberti HS CLIN PROF-MEDCOMP-A $751,723.00
David J. Schanzlin PROF OF CLIN -MEDCOMP-A $751,073.21
William R Freeman PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $680,007.37
Stuart I Brown PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $665,297.23
Kenneth Kaushansky PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $640,196.46
Abdool Rahim Moossa PROFESSOR-MEDCOMP-A $629,760.89

Thank god UCSD doesn't have a football team, is all I can say.  At least my university doesn't look as STUPID as UCB or UCLA.  Unfortunately, it does have a med school, so you have to get down to #51 before you find someone in the list who is not a doctor or an administrator.

UC President Mark Yudof is complaining that the state has cut the budget for student education at UC and they'll have to start turning away students.  From the salaries being paid at UC it's pretty clear that the priority for the UC system is not educating students.  The top two priorities at UC are clear.  1) football and 2) medicine.

Prior to this morning, I didn't expect to find anything like this at UC.  I thought that UC Berkely and UCLA would show up with Nobel Laureates and professors at the top of the salary lists.  I expected UC salaries to top out around $400K.  I expected some of the top pencil pushers would have managed to grab the big bucks for themselves, but I didn't expect to find the damn football coaches being the highest paid employees in the system.

UC expects alumni to donate to help make up their budget shortfall.  I'll put it in simple terms since you're now a bunch of football schools: Kiss My A**.

Author tags:

education, politics, economy, uc

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below: