At the end of 2011 we published the Nature 10: ten people who mattered in science that year. We explained how we reached our choice, through discussion (and arguments). We also asked readers to tell us in a poll who they thought had a significant impact in science that year. Readers could vote for the people in the Nature 10 as well as ten others, some of whom had been nominated on Twitter. Seeing as we’re now well into 2012, it’s past time we reported the results.
The clear winner, with nearly 55% of the 1,631 votes, was Tasuhiko Kodama, who challenged the Japanese government’s handling of the Fukushima disaster. It’s a worthy choice, particularly with the anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster next week as a reminder of the damage that was wrought. However, we can only suspect that some kind of mini-voting campaign by Kodama fans pushed votes for him so much higher than any other name on the list.
The next favourite was Dario Autiero, whose team claimed to have found faster-than-light neutrinos (10.6%), followed by John Rogers, the engineer with a knack for turning physics into technology (5.2%). Rosie Redfield, Mike Lamont and David Attenborough more or less tied for fourth place. Aside from Sir David, all of these were also on the original Nature 10 list.
Autiero was back in the news this year when his team pointed to possible errors in the its measurements that cast the neutrino claims into doubt. Lamont and the Large Hadron Collider are guaranteed more news time if, as expected, scientists there either confirm or rule out the discovery of the Higgs boson later this year. So perhaps they’ll be candidates for the Nature 10 this year, too. Thanks for voting in our poll, and we’d be happy to hear nominations for the people who matter in 2012 anytime via Twitter (@NatureNews) or Facebook.