2016 nobel prize predictions

September 9, 2016 at 11:39 am | | nobel

UPDATE: Turns out the Simpsons were right once again

Time for my 2016 Nobel Prize predictions:

Chemistry: Lithium-ion batteries (John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham, Akira Yoshino) [awarded in 2019]

Medicine: T-cell receptor (James Allison [awarded in 2018], Ellis Reinherz, Philippa Marrack)

Physics: Gravitational waves (Kip Thorne [awarded in 2017], Rainer Weiss [awarded in 2017], Ronald Drever, or maybe the LIGO collaboration)

Last year, I played the CRISPR card and lost. Also, I guess that I must stop saying “Ron Vale for kinesin” over and over again. So I tried to keep things fresh this year, but both my medicine and chemistry predictions are repeats.

For physics, I’d like to see the prize go to the entire LIGO collaboration, considering that there were thousands of scientist involved in demonstrating Einstein’s predictions. But I understand why the Nobel committee would prefer to award it to individuals, and there are 3 who are kinda obvious. 2016 might be too early for this award, considering the nominations are due Feb 1, but probably someone knew the gravitational waves discovery was imminent and nominated them? Or maybe my prediction is wrong, and it will exoplanets this year.

For chemistry, I think polymer synthesis could win, but it might not be sexy enough. I think batteries have demonstrated their impact on the world of portable electronics and electric cars. And Goodenough is old. I know I’ve predicted batteries in the past, but I hope I’m right this time!

Hopefully Nature doesn’t make fun of me again this year.

(See my past predictions and discussions here.)

Other predictions:

Thompson ISI

Curious Wavefunction

In the Pipeline

Transcription and Translation


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  1. Crispr/Cas9 should win Chemistry this year, with Doudna, Chapentier for application and maybe one of the bacteriologists who discovered the mechanism. Vale and Reese should win for motors, but if they haven’t by now, it’s doubtful, but they are still toward the top on my list for physiology or chemistry.

    Hypoxia won the Lasker this year, and I think that Kaelin and Johnson deserve the big prize too. Immunotherapy for cancer in my opinion is still largely unproven, and reminds me way too much of the anti-angiogenesis movement 20 years ago. I still think that Richard Hynes and Erkki Ruoslahti are strong contenders for their work on ECM and integrins.

    Comment by Joe M — September 24, 2016 #

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