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Nobel predictions proliferate

As the world of science waits for the announcement of this year’s Nobel Prizes, starting on 4 October, many are keeping themselves amused with a spot of foresight.

Thomson Reuters yesterday unveiled their annual ‘Citation Laureates’, based on citations, awards of other prizes and general scientific merit. Among their possibles in medicine are Ernest McCulloch, James Till and Shinya Yamanaka for their work on pluripotent stem cells, up against the discoverers of leptin and dendritic cells according to Thomson.

In chemistry the group thinks Susumu Kitagawa and Omar Yaghi are in with a shot for their work on porous metal-organic frameworks. Their other possibles in this category will annoy the chemistry purists, as they lean towards the biology end of the spectrum in work on DNA microarrays and bioinorganic chemistry.

Others are using slightly less analytical methods for their predictions. Back in August, the ChemBark blog didn’t even feature Kitagawa and Yaghi, although it put 9-1 odds on bioinorganic chemistry. The Everyday Scientist blog is also fond of this topic, although it gives credit to Harry Gray rather than the Thompson Reuters preference for Stephen Lippard.

Meanwhile, the world of physics is getting excited by another of the Thomson Reuters predictions: that of Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess and Brian Schmidt for their work on dark energy and the expansion of the universe.

“Being part of the discovery of the accelerating universe has been a fantastic scientific and personal journey,” Schmidt told The Australian. “I’m always pleasantly surprised when this work rises to the top of anyone’s list, including Thomson Reuters’ list of Citation Laureates.”

The other Citation Laureates in physics were Charles Bennett and David Spergel for their work on the age of the universe and Thomas Ebbesen for work “which ignited the field of surfaceplasmon photonics”.

Here at Nature we were hoping to bring you our own unique take on Nobel Predictions, using our office fish in the role made famous by Paul the Psychic Octopus. However he is looking a bit under the weather at the moment, so we may have to resort to a slightly more old fashioned form of prediction.


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