Nobel Prize in Chemistry: The 2006 Line

After brainstorming for the past three months and combing through the rampant speculation online (see the links below), I’ve set the following odds for this year’s Nobel Prize. Note that these numbers are based on whom I think will win the Prize, not who should win it. Also, in case you’re a moron, I’m not taking any action on this stuff. Go to TradeSports or something.

Field (everything not listed below), 1-1
Fluorescent Probes/GFP, Tsien/+, 17-1
Self-Assembly, Whitesides/+, 17-1
Instrumentation/Techniques in Genomics, Venter/+ , 19-1
Contributions to Inorganic Chemistry, Cotton, 19-1
Techniques in DNA Synthesis, Carruthers/Hood/+ , 19-1
Transition-Metal-Catalyzed Cross-Couplings, Suzuki/Heck/Sonogashira/+/–, 25-1
RNAi and Related Applications, Fire/Mello/+/–, 25-1 (They just won for medicine)
Application of Lasers to the Study of Chemical Reactions, Zare, 49-1
Bioinorganic Chemistry, Lippard/Holm/Gray/+/–, 49-1
Teflon/Fluorocarbons, Dupont/Curran/–, 49-1
Combinatorial Chemistry/DOS, Schreiber/+, 49-1
CO2/Global Warming, Thatcher*, 99-1
Dendrimers, Frechet/Tomalia/+, 99-1
Quantum Dots, ???, 99-1 (a late scratch: quantum wells won in 2000)
Development of the Birth Control Pill, Djerassi, 99-1
Development of Chemical Biology, Schultz/Schreiber/+, 99-1
Molecular Modeling and Assorted Applications, Karplus/Houk/+/–, 99-1
Contributions to Organic Synthesis, Danishefsky/Nicolaou/Evans/Ley/Trost/Stork/Wender/Kishi/+/–, 199-1
Application of NMR to Organic Chemistry, Roberts, 199-1
Understanding of Organic Stereochemistry, Mislow, 199-1
Nobel Gas Reactivity, Bartlett/+, 199-1
Molecular Recognition, Dervan/+, 399-1
Contributions to Bioorganic Chemistry, Westheimer/Breslow/+, 399-1
Development of Nanotechnology, Lieber/Whitesides/Alivisatos/Seeman/+/–, 399-1
Molecular Machines, Stoddart/Tour/+/–, 499-1
Studies in the Origin of Life, Miller/Orgel/+/–, 99999-1
Contributions to the Chemical Blogosphere, Lowe/Stiles/+, 999999-1

* I haven’t a clue who should get it for global warming, but apparently, Maggie Thatcher put the problem on the map (see link below). She also holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

Past Awards & the “Pre-Nobels”
Past Nobel Prizes in Chemistry
Lasker Award for Basic Research
Wolf Prize in Chemistry
Kyoto Prize
Science Magazine’s Breakthroughs of the Year

The History of GFP
A Really Biased History of the Global Warming Issue
History of Noble Gas Compounds

Buzz in the Blogosphere
Derek Lowe, In the Pipeline: 2005, 2006
Sceptical Chymist: 2006
Curious Wavefunction: 2006
Endless Frontier: 2006-1, 2006-2

Thanks to all who left suggestions in the links above. If I’m missing something, drop it in the comments.

Explore posts in the same categories: Chemistry, Blogs

30 Comments on “Nobel Prize in Chemistry: The 2006 Line”

  1. The List Says:

    I’d by Stoddart at 499:1. He and GMW might very well get stapled together. The Stoddart contribution is not just machines - it’s the development of interlocked molecules in general. Jim Tour would not be involved unless he shows that the nanopeople climbing into the backseat of the nanocar.

    No Gabor Somorjai??? That makes the “Field” bet pretty attractive as well.

    Are Zare’s contributions so distinct from Zaweil that he would get such good odds?

    And as for the most deserving - I’m going with oral contraception, the most influential discovery on the page.

  2. Rob W. Says:

    What about Anslyn for the molecular recognition bandwagon? Also, I still think that Suzuki et al. should get one soon- I guess they haven’t because it’s only organic chemists who get to taste of the fruits of their labor.

  3. regular Says:

    Suzuki et al. may win one , but not this year, next year, or the year after next. Keep in mind that they just rewarded orgamometalic chemistry last year. My bet is that he may win it in 5 years.

  4. cheese Says:

    If Schreiber ever does win for DOS, I will quit chemistry.

  5. Computational Chemist Says:

    I recommend you to change “Karplus/Houk/+/–, 99-1″ to

    “Karplus/Houk/Schleyer/+/–, 99-1″

  6. ZAL Says:

    Fire and Mello just won the nobel prize in medicine…gone for chemistry!

  7. Paul Says:

    just updated…well deserved!

  8. Stuart Says:

    What about Iijima (Dekker, Dresselhaus, etc…) for carbon nanotubes… would that be such an outlandish proposition?

  9. Paul Says:

    Agreed. Gabor Somorjai should be added and Schleyer should be in the running for the modeling stuff.

    I should list nanotubes, but they’re going to have long odds. Fullerenes kind of stole their thunder.

  10. TheMatt Says:

    All right, my predictions on Derek Lowe’s site are #1. Of course, given that they are that most forgotten of chemistries, theoretical, they are in the field. Poor theory, forgotten by experimentalists until they can’t figure out a Gaussian input card that works…

    I still say Rick Heller, Martin Karplus, and Tully and Nakamura will have their day!

  11. TheMatt Says:

    Oh wait, Karplus was there. I guess because NMR people have heard his name.

  12. Klug Says:

    Doesn’t this time of year lend itself of mean pranks of advisors or professors that you don’t like?

    “Uh, Hel-Hello?”
    “Professor So-And-So?”
    “My name is Sven Svensen of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences., etc., etc.”

    Similarly, I heard of someone pranking people with fake letters from the MacArthur folks. Mean.

  13. Ashutosh Says:

    No offense to the other interviewers, but this year’s phone interviewer, Adam Smith (not the economics guy) can actually speak articulate English and isn’t at a loss for words.

  14. userlame Says:

    According to one academy member, the Nobel prize committee actually called the wrong person (same name) one time. I forget for who it was, but they called the wrong guy during the night and he hung up on them a couple times before finally telling them that they had the wrong number.

  15. Rob Says:

    Regarding the item by Userlame, I was a grad student at UCLA when Cram was awarded the Nobel. The Nobel committee did not have his home phone number, so contacted 411 to try to obtain his home number. They reached another Cram with the same first name, who lived in Los Angeles. The Cram who who received the call (at 4 in the morning) owned a carpet cleaning business. Ironically, Cram, the carpet cleaner, had previously obtained a B.S in chemistry from UCLA. He thought that the Nobel call was a prank from one of his friends.

    This story was documented in the Los Angeles Times.

  16. warmglobe Says:

    wouldn’t you credit Crutzen, Molina and Rowland for their 1995 prize for the depletion of O3 by CFC’s and HCFC’s as “global warming”

  17. anon Says:

    Tak Oka. Astrochem.

  18. anon 2 Says:

    Schwartz, for various useful metallocenes. (although a) ferrocene already won, and b) last year was organometallic.

  19. userlame Says:

    Global warming and the ozone hole do have a causal relationship—as do most things in atmospheric science—but I don’t think the 1995 Nobel was for both.

    The idea of global warming can be dated back to Arrhenius (”On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground” Philosophical Magazine, 41, 237-276 (1896)).

    It’s difficult to get a Nobel for popularizing a concept discovered by a famous dead scientist. Not so for the unfortunate obscure ones.

  20. Rob W Says:

    Wilson and Ito should get some credit for developing chemically amplified resist technology (it has been the basis for the bulk of recent semiconductor fabrication and research). Does this seem to be too focused on engineering and not enough on chemistry to win a chemistry Nobel?

  21. userlame Says:

    I would add:

    nanocrystal synthesis/Brus, Alivisatos, Bawendi (399-1)

  22. Ashutosh Says:

    How about Corwin Hansch who developed QSAR, which is now ubiquitous in medicinal chemistry and biology.

  23. anon3 Says:

    How about some organolithiate chemistry stuff?

  24. Ashutosh Says:

    As the hours tick past, new names are coming to my mind. How about Overhauser of NOE fame?

  25. Ashutosh Says:

    And Allinger of Mol Mech, thrown in with Schleyer/Houk/Karplus

  26. spinlabel Says:

    harden mcconnell. pretty much dropped quantum mechanics on solving problems in chemistry. dominated the thermodynamics of lipid bilayers. popularity of nmr is nothing without mcconnell.

  27. chemist Says:

    I have to agree with Paul–Whitesides (and Nuzzo and Allara) or Shimamura/Prasher/Tsien.

    Photoresists will make it eventually. if it comes to that point, you have to consider Frechet too.

  28. BigCheese Says:

    Yo Paul, just checkin’ out the site.

    FYI, the Nobel Prize Committee has linked prizes before… since RNAi won for Medicine, it wouldn’t surprise me to see siRNA and microRNAs win the chemistry one. Remember, chemistry is defined broadly these days, as it should be.

    Frankly, I highly doubt anybody in our department stands a good chance, at least on the organic side of things. Most of the prizes now are now either biochemical, analytical, or physical/spectroscopic in nature, an we do little of this in our department.

  29. » Roger Wer? Says:

    […] So nun hat das Rätselraten endlich ein Ende, denn heute Vormittag ist der diesjährige Chemienobelpreis verliehen worden, an Roger D. Kornberg. Selbiger ist Professor an der Stanford University Medical School im Department of Structural Biology. (Wie ihr sicher bemerkt habt ist hier nirgendwo die Rede von Chemie.) Bekommen hat er den Preis für die Aufklärung der „Strukturellen Basis eukariontischer Gentranskription.“1 Da mir das nur vage etwas sagt hab ich mich gleich auf die Internetsocken gemacht um etwas über Kornberg und seine Arbeit herauszufinden. Besonders viel zu finden war nicht. Google googlet hauptsächlich Artikel von heute, Wikipedia hat einen drei-Zeilen Eintrag an dem kaum die Farbe getrocknet ist und auch die Homepage seiner Arbeitsgruppe gibt nicht viel Informationen her. Es blieb mir also nichts übrig als die harte Suche nach relevanten Literaturstellen. Das geht besonders gut mit Scifinder und Science Citation Index2. Aus der Literatur hab ich nicht viel gelernt (Biologie hatte ich zum letzten mal in der Schule). Hier sind nun die wenigen Erkenntnisse die ich gewonnen habe: […]

  30. eugene Says:

    “Google googlet hauptsächlich Artikel von heute”

    Since when is ‘googleten’ a verb in anything other than English!? Lame….