Guess the Nobels, Win a Prize

October is almost upon us, which means that the winners of the 2008 Nobel Prizes will be announced soon. Very soon– the first announcement (for Medicine) is next Monday. The most important announcement– the Nobel in Physics– is next Tuesday, October 7.

This is a good excuse for a contest, so:

Leave a comment on this post predicting the winner(s) of one of this year’s Nobel Prizes. Anyone who correctly picks both the field and the laureate will win a guest-post spot on this blog.

Ground rules and fine print:

– Comments must clearly state both the field and the name of the winner(s) being guessed, for example: “Physics: Jonathan Vos Post.” You don’t need to specify the specific achievement for which they will be honored, but it would be nice.

– In the event that a prize is split, one guest post will be awarded for each correct name. So, for example, if you guessed that the Physics prize would be split between ‘Uncle Al’ and ‘Archimedes Plutonium,’ and the two of them share it with Ted Holden, you get two guest posts.

– One entry per commenter per field. Each prize can be split at most three ways, so that’s a maximum of eighteen entries per commenter.

– In the event that multiple commenters choose the same winners, the guest post will go to the first person to mention each name, so comment quickly.

– “Guest post” here means that I will accept and post one essay by the winner on a topic of their choosing (within reason), in the manner of John Scalzi’s “Big Idea” series at the Whatever. I reserve the right to request edits or reject outright essays that I feel are offensive, in poor taste, or that would reflect poorly on this blog.

Entries will be accepted until 7pm Eastern time this coming Sunday, October 5. All judgment calls will be made by me, and all judgments are final.

35 thoughts on “Guess the Nobels, Win a Prize

  1. Medicine – Obama’s plan on malaria is a necessary first step.
    Nobody gets the medicine prize unless and until malaria is a distant memory like scarlet fever.
    That this has not been done already says so much about us.

  2. Economics – the guy that invented tranching.
    Controversial, I know, but bringing down the house of cards was necessary and may lead to great good.

    Stock market Sokaled.

  3. My guess for Physics is going to be a split between Charles L. Bennett and David Spergel for WMAP (Bennett is the PI and Spergel was first author on the papers). It may be a little too early for a Nobel this year, but they’re going to win it one of these times for sure (even though it hardly suffices to give an award to two people for work involving so many people).

  4. Physics: Eugene Parker and James Dungey, for their pioneering work on magnetic reconnection in astrophysical plasmas. This work is long overdue for recognition (the last person to win a Nobel Prize for astrophysical plasma physics was Hannes Alfvén in 1942). Parker also is long overdue for recognition of his correct prediction of the existence of the solar wind.

    I am assuming Dungey (who does not have a Wikipedia entry) is still alive, as Nobel prizes are never awarded posthumously. Dungey was born in 1923. If Harry Petschek were still alive, I would have included him on my list.

  5. Comments must clearly state both the field and the name of the winner(s) being guessed, for example: “Physics: Jonathan Vos Post.”

    I thought that Dr Vos Post had already won a Nobel.

  6. I’m going to repeat my guess last year, putting my money on Guth, or at least something inflation-related for physics.

    If I were allowed to give a second (out-of-the-blue) physics guess I might say R. Stanley Williams from HP Labs for creating the memristor, but that’s definitely out on a limb.

  7. I can’t imagine they’ll give one for inflation yet. It still has too many problems. Higgs isn’t going to happen either. First of all, they haven’t found the particle yet, and second of all, there are something like six other people you could attribute it to.

    What about supernovae and dark energy? Or is there still too much politics associated with that one?

  8. Contra DG, it certainly won’t be for WMAP, since Smoot and Mather just won for COBE the year before last. The Nobel committee works slowly….

    I would think that it might be time for a prize for the discovery of neutrino mass. Mikhaev, Smirnov, or Wolfenstein for solar neutrino oscillation theory, or to someone at Kamiokande for detection of oscillations. (The 2002 prize was given in part to Davis and Koshiba for cosmic neutrinos, not for oscillations or neutrino mass, so possibly it’s a little soon for another neutrino prize…)

  9. Medicine: Jose Delgado and Alim-Louis Benabid for deep brain stimulation and its use in treating movement disorders.

    It’s a bit of a long shot but this technology has recently started to have a significant impact in the clinic and promises more.

  10. Medicine:
    I second Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider for telomerase

    Physics:
    Nambu Yoichiro
    or
    Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa

    (I thought that Yoji Totsuka and Arthur McDonald would win soon for neutrino oscillations, but Totsuka has passed away and they will be hesitant to award McDonald alone.)

    Chemistry:
    Harry Noller, Thomas Steitz, and Peter Moore for ribosome structure

  11. It’s only been a few years since AMO physics got a win, but at some point in the future there’s got to be a Bell inequality/entanglement prize. I guess that’s going to wait until a generally accepted as completely loophole free test is performed, but if it were going know, I guess Aspect and Zeilinger would get it.

  12. It’s only been a few years since AMO physics got a win, but at some point in the future there’s got to be a Bell inequality/entanglement prize. I guess that’s going to wait until a generally accepted as completely loophole free test is performed, but if it were going know, I guess Aspect and Zeilinger would get it.

    I’m hoping for a Aspect/ Wineland/ Zeilinger prize at some point, for fundamental tests of quantum physics. I don’t think this is the year, but all three of them are brilliant guys, and deserve it.

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