It’s that time of the year again…


So, it’s Nobel season once more and I thought I’d share with you what that means in the Nature Chemistry office.

As many readers of this blog might know, we publish two research highlights each Friday. These are short 200-250 word pieces about chemistry papers published elsewhere that caught our attention. Last week we covered an article in Science about electron transfer and a total synthesis paper that appeared in JACS.

Our production workflow means that the research highlights we publish on any given Friday were actually chosen on the Tuesday or Wednesday of the preceding week – a full 9 or 10 days before they go live. As a monthly title, that’s as close as we get to ‘news’ on Nature Chemistry.

Nobel day is different though. For one day, the editorial team, the production team and the web team scrabble around to publish a research highlight based on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry just a few hours after the announcement is made. Tight deadlines are something the NatureNews team deal with every day, but it’s different at the research journals. Sure, we have deadlines, lots of ‘em, but none quite so short!

So, next Wednesday, the Nature Chemistry editors based in London (myself, Gavin and Neil) will be eagerly watching the Nobel announcement. The agreement is as follows: if the prize goes in the general area of physical chemistry, then Gavin writes the highlight; if it’s inorganic, then Neil is on the hook; should it be organic, then it’s me. If the prize is not in one of those three general areas, then the lucky writer is… yes, me – as it has been for the last two years. Steve (based in Boston) and Anne (based in Tokyo) are spared because of the time differences…

And of course, in the run up to the Nobel Prize announcements, we have the usual slew of predictions. Now that ChemBark is back, we have an extensive list of odds starting with Zare and Moerner as favourites, and Stoddart and Tour bringing up the rear at 399-1. Thomson Reuters also released their annual predictions, which prompted a colourful response from ChemBark, to which David Pendlebury replied in the comment thread.

Others have weighed in with predictions, including Sam at Everyday Scientist (and take a look at the comment thread too), Wavefunction, and the NNNS chemistry blog. And last but not least, America’s first family have weighed in with their opinions. No, not them, the Simpsons of course! (Thanks to Everyday Scientist for sharing that with everyone).

As for the Nature Chemistry team… well, we’re remaining impartial and not picking anyone! (We’d almost certainly end up being wrong anyway!). If we’ve missed predictions elsewhere, please let us know in the comment thread.

[EDIT: Derek at In the Pipeline has now added his thoughts]


Stuart Cantrill (Chief Editor, Nature Chemistry)

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