And the prize was awarded to German physical chemist Gerhard Ertl for his study of reactions at surfaces. The prize seems well-deserved, but it also seems to be awarded for the general field of surface chemistry, which leaves me (and many others I think) very surprised to say the least that Gabor Somorjai did not share it, especially also considering the fact that the two shared the Wolf Prize together. To my knowledge, Somorjai has been an absolute giant in the field. Compellingly weird.
Well, at least the prize went to a bonafide old-fashioned "chemist" this time.
Addendum: Thinking about it more, I think the Nobel Prize committee really blew it this time. This is because Somorjai is really THE obvious and preeminent candidate for a general prize in surface chemistry. He is heads and shoulders above everyone else in the field in this regard. In this particular situation therefore, the exclusion is glaringly obvious, and I think the committee is going to take a lot of flak for it.
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