Nobel Prize Betting Pool

Well, not really. That wouldn’t be legal.

But the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2006 is scheduled to be announced next Tuesday, and this clearly calls for some irresponsible speculation. Who do you think will win? How about a guess as to what field of physics will be honored this year?

If you think it’ll help, the last five prizes were:

  • 2005: Quantum optics
  • 2004: Asymptotic freedom
  • 2003: Superconductivity theory
  • 2002: Neutrino and X-ray astronomy
  • 2001: Bose-Einstein Condensation in atomic vapors

I wouldn’t bet on anything from the AMO realm this year, as they’ve got two of the last five. Something astronomy-related might be a good bet, as it’s been a little while for them, but I’m not sure what would qualify. High energy theory would seem to be pretty much tapped out, too, but that still leaves the vast mass of condensed matter physics.

Your guess is as good as mine. So leave your guess in the comments. If you correctly predict the name of at least one of the winning physicists, I’ll post an article on a topic of your choosing (within reason– I reserve the right to refuse to write on offensive or inflammatory topics) on Uncertain Principles.

10 thoughts on “Nobel Prize Betting Pool

  1. Guth and Linde for inflation?
    COBE/WMAP ???
    Kimble/Wineland/Haroche for quantum logic gates? – may have to wait as AMO has gotten lots lately. May be some other combo of folks too.

    Top quark discovery, if they don’t get it this may be the first time a new particle DIDN’T get it! Speaks to the success of the standard model I guess.

    At some point Debbie Jin and others for BEC/BCS stuff, but again maybe this is gonna be a non-AMO year as we’ve done so well lately.

    But I can only pick one, so I’ll go with Guth/Linde/Steinhardt for inflation…….lets say Guth!

  2. Wouldn’t betting on the Nobels be illegal only if we bet money? Surely you could come up with some non-fiduciary bets. A home-cooked dinner, an hour playing with the particle accelerator, a picture and bragging rights on the blog, the right to use the title “Mr. Dyn-o-mite!” when commenting…

  3. I’m going to take the long shot and say Hawking and Penrose. Why not? Add me in there, while we’re at it.

  4. I predict that a special “outreach” award will be given to several untenured physicists at US universities.

  5. I’m struggling to envision what a fiduciary bet would look like….

    (“I do not think [that word] means what you think it means”)

    (It’s okay, I used to think it was a synonym for “involving money”, too).

  6. It’s probably too soon for the Bose-Einstein condensate people to win.

    If it came from cosmology in particular, I would guess that the COBE people would be the choice — Mather, Smoot, Wright. I’ll be provincial and go with them.

  7. I’ll speak for the “vast mass of condensed matter physics.”

    Albert Fert of University of Paris Sud and Peter Grunberg of the KFA Julich for their discovery of the giant magnetoresistance. A third winner might be Jagadeesh Moodera of MIT for his discovery of tunneling magnetoresistance in ferromagnets or Stuart Parkin of IBM for his various contributions to magnetotransport.

    Another excellent choice would be Shuji Nakamura, formerly of Nichia and now at UCSB, for his invention and continued development of electro-optic devices based on GaN.

    As a longshot, I’ll predict that Ed Stern of the University of Washington and Jo Stohr of SSRL might win for their invention of novel synchrotron-based spectroscopies, namely EXAFS and XANES.

  8. Tom Renbarger: the BEC folks won in 2001. See the original post.

    From the condensed matter side, Alison’s GMR/TMR suggestion is very good. I could also imagine Michael Berry and Yakir Aharonov for their work on interesting phase factors in quantum mechanics. For chemistry, I’m convinced that Whitesides will eventually get a piece of the prize for self-assembly.

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