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Nobel prize 2008 predictions

3 October 2008 - News

As October 8 (11:45 a.m.) is nearing, it is time to predict the Nobel prize in chemistry 2008 (Link). Thompson Scientific has some credibility when it comes to guessing it right (Link) so here they are: Charles Lieber (Nanotechnology), Krzysztof Matyjaszewski (Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization) and the inevitable biochemist Roger Tsien (Indo-1, fluorescent probes).

But would these people also be the people's popular choice? Lets query Wikipedia. All three individuals have a biography page but interestingly only Tsien has just one citation on the Indo-1 page. For the others not a single one. This is a general Wikipedia drawback: it tends to be more about the people than about the science. Take for instance last years winner Gerhard Ertl with an extensive bio page but hardly anything specific on his particular contribution to science (exception : the Haber process). Or take the 2006 winner Roger D. Kornberg with modest mentions on the mediator or lipid bilayer pages. The 2005 winners fair better because there exists an extensive olefin metathesis page. An especially sad case is the 1999 winner Ahmed Zewail: the Femtochemistry page is very modest.

Lets return to the other contestants on the Thompson page and factor in Wikipedia popularity. The two chemists with a certain Wiki following are James Fraser Stoddart (for example see molecular switch) and George M. Whitesides. See you on October eight!.