Thursday, October 02, 2008

Thomson Reuters Forecasts Nobel Winners

It's October, and around many institutions, the guessing game for the next set of Nobel Prize winners in the sciences has commenced. Thomson Reuters, as usual, puts out their own list of probable winners:

*Chemistry - Charles Lieber of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who figured out how to build and use tiny, molecular-scale nanowires.

- Krzysztof Matyjaszewski of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who used electric charges to make artificial materials called polymers.

- Roger Tsien at the University of California San Diego, La Jolla, who figured out how to use the chemical that makes jellyfish glow green to track biological reactions in the lab.

*Physics - Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov from the University of Manchester for their work on graphene, the thinnest material ever discovered.

- Astronomer Vera Rubin at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, whose work measuring the rotation of galaxies shed light on so-called dark matter in the universe.

- Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford and Dan Shechtman at Iowa State University for their related discoveries of Penrose-tilings -- complex geometric models -- and a new kind of structure called a quasicrystal.

*Medicine - Shizuo Akira of Osaka University in Japan, Bruce Beutler of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California and the President of the French Academy of Sciences Jules Hoffman for their research on toll-like receptors -- the chemical doorways that alert the immune system to germs.

- Victor Ambros at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Gary Ruvkun of Harvard Medical School were cited for their discovery and analysis of the role of microRNAs, tiny strands of genetic material that help control genes.

- Rory Collins and Richard Peto, who mastered the widely used technique called meta-analysis -- pooling many different research studies together to make the findings more powerful.

Note that I too have predicted, maybe not this year, of Nobel Prizes for Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov. This is certainly a significant discovery. And after them winning the Europhysics Prize, it makes it even more likely.


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