Nobel prize in biochemistry 2009 predictions

24 September 2009 - News

It is that time of the year again: guessing who will be awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry (edition 2009). Traditionally, Thompson-Reuters publishes a shortlist based on an extended citation index (that goes all the way back to the year 1900) that can be found here. Embarrassingly, this blog was totally ignorant of 4 of the 5 candidates in the 2009 Thompson list but it suffers from degenerative orgchem tunnel vision. But perhaps equally embarrassing is Wikipedia's ignorance with regard to bio pages and/or scientific topics. It is not the first time essential information is added to post-haste only minutes after the Big Announcement (see last year posts here, and here).

Contender Michaël Grätzel does indeed have a bio page and the dye-sensitized solar cell article gives some indication of what field he is involved in. No problem there then. Top citation: A low-cost, high-efficiency solar cell based on dye-sensitized colloidal TiO2 films (DOI), year 1991, 4816 citations. Bonus points: environmentally relevant. No bio page for Benjamin List thus far but some of his relevant work in organocatalysis is captured in the Hajos-Parrish-Eder-Sauer-Wiechert reaction article, including his top-citation Proline-catalyzed direct asymmetric aldol reactions (DOI), year: 2000 citations: 739. Bonus points: involves green chemistry and age (born 1968!).

Jacqueline Barton too has a bio page but unfortunately zero scientific topic articles link to it suggesting that within the Wikipedia universe her work is irrelevant. Top citation: Long-range photo induced electron transfer through a DNA helix (DOI), year: 1993, citations: 605. Bonus points: female (last woman in the list Dorothy Hodgkin , 1964!). No bio page for Bernd Giese and no page on Sequence dependent long range hole transport in DNA (DOI) (top citation in 1998, 456 and counting) either. Gary Schuster does have a bio page but again not a relevant article associated with him: title most cited article Intramolecular photoinduced electron transfer to anthraquinones linked to duplex DNA: The effect of gaps and traps on long-range radical cation migration (DOI), 1997, 232 citations.

If this year's Nobel theme is something like DNA /charge transfer/ radical reactions / damage, then of course Barton, Giese and Schuster all apply.

See also: DNA electron transfer in 30 seconds

See also 2010 predictions