It's that time of the year again. I have already made predictions in 2006 and 2007 and the last year hasn't exactly seen a windfall of novel discoveries that would suddenly add 10 new names to my list. So the lists largely hold. But what does happen in one year is that the Nobel Committee's moral baggage becomes indisputably heavier. When for example are they going to seek repentance for their misses by acknowledging:
The Palladium Gang (Heck, Sonogashira, Suzuki)
As for Sir Fraser Stoddart, I personally think that he may get it in the future when a few more practical applications are found for his toys and methods (On the other hand I still claim credit for mentioning his name if he wins it)
Like last year, fields can also get rewarded through individuals; I personally would be buoyant if my favourite fields- computational chemistry, biochemistry and organic chemistry- win. I also think that Robert Langer can get it for medicine and single molecule spectroscopy may win for either physics or chemistry. Some x-ray structure of an important protein always stands a chance. The interesting thing about the Nobels is that they often reward things that are so important and widespread that we have all taken them for granted and therefore never think of them; no blogger thought of RNAi for example.
But whoever wins, every time the Nobel committee awards the prize, they inevitably commit a grave injustice since somebody deserving is left out. But then that's the nature of man-made accolades. Fortunately most scientists don't depend on such honors and instead are rewarded by nature's sure award; the kick that one gets from scientific discovery, as this guy can describe very well.
And so it goes.
Update: Here's a dark horse prediction for me- geochemistry or climate chemistry. As far as I know, the last climate chemistry prize was won a pretty long time ago for the discovery of the effects of CFCs on the ozone layer.
Links: Other and similar predictions- The Chem Blog and the Skeptical Chymist. The Coronenes have rightly rose above the committee and awarded their own prize. Now that's the kind of assertiveness that we need.
How chemistry exemplifies the Fermi method
5 hours ago in The Curious Wavefunction