The shameless annual Nobel Prize speculation post

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At about this time next week, one member of the Nature Chemistry team will be breathing a sigh of relief, having just dashed off a few hundred words on the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. But which of us will be doing the writing? That all depends on who wins, which is probably the question most of you are more bothered about than our writing rota…

So who WILL win?? I’m happy to admit that I have absolutely no idea whatsoever. Even the guys at ISI Thomson Reuters get it wrong – or cover themselves by predicting about 15 winners. Last year, I suggested John Goodenough and, as he hasn’t won, I suppose I really should stick with him – which I’m happy to.

I thought one way of getting an overview of the blogospheres’ collective opinion was to tag cloud the text from three recent blog posts. OK, it’s not very scientific, but then who said awarding a stack of cash and a gold medal to a few people a year was?!

Hopefully the image will appear below:

begin tag cloud : generated by

Feel free to modify as long as you keep this notice.

This code and its rendered image are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

For commercial use licensing, visit


although best biology blackburn chemistry chemists committee computational consider discovery electron enzyme favorite give gratzel gray hartl horwich important journal lindau list medicine mentioned moerner molecular nobel organic palladium physics pioneered predicting prize richard roger seems single solar spectroscopy statins study think thomson transfer week whitesides win work year zare

created at

The tag cloud seems to reveal List, Gray and Zare with the largest names, with Gratzel hot on their heels – is this a sign? In the second sizing tier comes Whitesides, Moerner, Hartl and Horwich. It might be worth noting that ‘organic’ and ‘biology’ are both much larger than ‘palladium’. But then it might not. I tried to generate a cloud from the comments on the post, but they didn’t generate anything useful — no comment!

While I’m on the subject, our October editorial is all about the Nobel Prize, and it’s available here for free to all registered users. Here’s the intro: “The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry will soon be awarded amid the usual speculation [that’s us, NW], angst, disagreement and elation — but is it really worth all the fuss?” Read the editorial, make your own minds up and let us know what you think.


Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)