This year’s criteria include: how many papers/books I’ve read from the scientists, whether I’ve seen them give a talk, and how they’ve contributed to a field I am interested in.
I have used both their books (here and here) extensively in my own research. I had the pleasure of seeing an interesting talk by Turro last year and look forward to seeing Michl in a couple weeks at Stanford’s Johnson Symposium.
Well, its that time of year again. Nobels will be rolling out soon! Carbon-Based Curiosities has already awarded their CBC Nobel to Krzysztof Matyjasewski of CMU. I endorse this choice, because I have a scientific connection to Kris: My undergrad lab collaborated with him very closely. I even have a paper with both our names on it! So I’d be happy if he won.
But I’ll award the EDSEL-Nobel to someone else, if just to be a contrarian. One thing I promise: I’m not going to put much thought into this.
A few people are unjustly disqualified from this competition: Roger Tsien (too obvious); W.E. Moerner (my PI, wouldn’t be fair); Barry Trost (who?); and myself (because the truths I have revealed in my research would just rip open everybody’s minds!). Some of the criteria I used to judge included: the person’s name size on my CUL author cloud; their index (which is my new citation index, defined as the person’s h index divided by 2π in order to account for self-referencing); and the extent to which I actually believe their reported results.
This year’s EDSEL-Nobel goes jointly to Peter Schultz (Scripps) and Carolyn Bertozzi (Berkeley) for “their applications of click chemistry to something practical: totally messing with cells and making them glow and stuff.”
Schultz has introduced azide/alkyne (and many other) unnatural amino acids into the genetic machinery, thus inserting a specific site for labeling with fluorphores or other probes. Here’s a good Schultz review paper. Bertozzi feeds cells unnatural sugars that have “bioorthogonal” reactive groups (click or otherwise). Here’s a good Bertozzi review paper. Other labs have actually applied these techniques for successful labeling and biophysics experiments. And I suspect their techniques will become streamlined and more broadly accessible in the future. Or maybe not and I awarded this prize prematurely.
In previous years, I’ve awarded Edsel-Nobels, which no one really cared about. Maybe this is the year I’ll make predictions for the actual Nobel. Paul at Chembark already started his predictions, and everyone else will be buzzing about it soon enough.
In no particular order (and without much forethought):
- Solar: Grätzel
- Super-resolution optical microscopy: Betzig, Hell, Zhuang, Hess
- Cloaking: Pendry
- Birth control: Djerassi
- Laser-induced fluorescence: Zare
- Inorganic: Gray, Lippard
- Single-molecule spectroscopy: Moerner, Orrit, Rigler, Xie
- Chaperonins and protein folding: Horwich, Hartl, Lindquist, Ellis
- DNA fingerprinting: Jefferys
- Electrochemistry: Bard, Nocera
- Polymer synthesis: Matyjaszewski, Wang
- NMR and membranes: McConnell
- Discovery of kinesin: Sheetz, Vale, Brady
- Nano: Whitesides
- Peace: Twitter
- Cross-coupling: Suzuki, Heck, Sonogashira
- Electron Transfer in DNA/Electrochemical DNA Damage Sensors: Barton, Giese, Schuster
- Pd-catalyzed Alkyne/Alkene Coupling and Atom-Economy: Trost
- Nuclear hormone receptors: Chambon, Evans, Jensen, O’Malley
- Two-photon microscopy: Webb, Denk, Strickler
- DNA microarrays: Brown
- NLO: Harris (as predicted by The Simpsons)
So there. The only one I’m confident about it Twitter.
Please feel free to add more in the comments. I will probably continue to update this…
UPDATE: Paul now has updated odds. Very impressive. He’s put a lot more thought into this than I. I’ve added cross-coupling to the list. Additions are in italics.
UPDATE: Can you name all the Chemistry Nobel winners?
UPDATE: Thompson has released their predictions.