Nobel Prize Betting Pool

It’s that time of year again– the Swedes will be handing out money to famous scientists, with the announcements of who’s getting what starting one week from today. Thus, the traditional Uncertain Principles Nobel Prize Picking Contest:

Leave a comment on this post predicting the winner(s) of one of this year’s Nobel Prizes. Anyone who correctly picks both the field and the laureate will win a guest-post spot on this blog.

The usual terms and conditions apply. If you don’t have anything you’d like to guest-post about, you can exchange your guest post for a signed copy of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog in the language of your choice, provided your choice is one of American English, Portuguese, Japanese, or Chinese.

Entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm Eastern this Sunday, October 3.


  1. #1 Tom Roud
    September 27, 2010

    Medicine : Shinya Yamanaka, Thomson, and Gurdon for cell reprogramming
    Physics : Aspect and Zellinger (too bad they already had the Wolf price this year)

  2. #2 Stephen
    September 27, 2010

    I’ll just copy and paste from this thread’s cousin in 2009:

    For the last few years I’ve taken the long odds and guessed Stephen Hawking. Since we haven’t yet seen any strong evidence for Hawking radiation, I’ll go ahead and guess Guth and Linde for inflation.

  3. #3 Gregor
    September 27, 2010

    Medicine: Craig Venter
    Physics: Zoller & Cirac
    Literature: Paul Auster

  4. #4 andre3
    September 27, 2010

    Chem Prize: Ronald Breslow. Probably shared for enzymatic work (although I’d prefer it be for his work on conjugation).

  5. #5 Steinn Sigurdsson
    September 27, 2010

    Aspect and Zellinger sound likely for physics,
    I’d guess the outside runner is exoplanets, though I’m darned if I know who they’d pick for the three recipients.
    I think they’ll wait for Planck to confirm n <~ 1 before inflation theory gets the prize

  6. #6 Kelly
    September 27, 2010

    Guth physics

  7. #7 John
    September 27, 2010

    gotta go with the local kids
    saul p @ berkeley for physics – unweirding dark matter and other things weird
    p. brown @ stanford for chemistry – silicon valley fancies up medical testing

  8. #8 HI
    September 27, 2010

    Medicine: Rothman and Schekman (Yamanaka will win eventually.)
    Physics: Clauser, Aspect and Zeilinger (Isn’t this the correct spelling?)
    Chemistry: Southern

  9. #9 Catherina
    September 27, 2010

    @ 1 shouldn’t Ian Wilmut be sharing the reprogramming prize?

  10. #10 Deep Thought
    September 27, 2010

    Fizyx: Vera Rubin for her work on discovering observational evidence dark matter. Maybe a long shot, but I’m rooting for her.

  11. #11 Siddharth S
    September 27, 2010

    Medicine: J. Craig Venter
    Physics: E. Witten
    Chemistry: (again) some rNA or drug delivery researcher?
    Literature: S Rushdie
    Peace: W. J. Clinton
    Economics: L. Shapley

  12. #12 Struthenate
    September 27, 2010

    Physics: Michael Berry and Yakir Aharonov
    or perhaps David Thouless
    Chemistry: Noel Hush

  13. #13 Alex
    September 27, 2010

    Chemistry: Some biologist
    Physiology of Medicine: Some biologist
    Chemistry that isn’t biological: This prize has been discontinued

    Physics: John Pendry for negative index materials (dark horse)

  14. #14 Alex
    September 27, 2010

    Um, that should be Physiology or Medicine.

  15. #15 Jocular
    September 28, 2010

    Physics: Chad Orzel for teaching quantum physics to canines

  16. #16 Nick
    September 28, 2010

    Chemistry: Zare
    Physics: Perlemutter et. al.
    Peace: Bono

  17. #17 Waterdog
    September 28, 2010

    Economics: Kiyotaki and Moore for the Kiyotaki-Moore model of the positive feedback effects resulting from small shocks to an economy.

    Physiology and Medicine: Yamanaka for inducing pluripotent stem cells, possibly with Till and McCulloch who discovered stem cells initially.

    Chemistry: Kitagawa and Yaghi for their creation of porous metal-organic frameworks.

    Physics: Campbell, Walker, and Yang for discovering the first exoplanets.

  18. #18 Steven Colyer
    September 28, 2010

    Very nice call on Vera Rubin. Let’s say her, and Jocelyn Bell. That would be two previous mistakes corrected in one.

    PLUS, it would have the added advantage of getting more girls interested in Physics.

  19. #19 MRW
    September 28, 2010

    Chemistry: George Whitesides. Not because it’s terribly likely, but because he’s the only person I’ve coauthored a paper with who has any shot whatsoever.

  20. #20 perry
    September 28, 2010

    fizix – Kimble, Zeilinger, and Wineland

  21. #21 onymous
    September 29, 2010

    Stephen above mentioned Hawking, who of course won’t get the prize since we’ve never seen Hawking radiation (and it’s hard to imagine how we ever would, since it’s sort of an inherently hard thing to see). However, someone recently pointed out to me this paper on the arxiv last week, which claims to have detected an analogue of Hawking radiation in a system with some sort of funny refractive index that mimics an event horizon. So it’s a purely optical effect. If it’s a close enough analogy to Hawking radiation, you might imagine that in future years if a Nobel committee is strongly inclined to give him a prize they could use something like this as the basis for it. Seems like a stretch, though. (I haven’t read the paper or given any thought to optical analogues of Hawking radiation, so I can’t say how close the analogy is. Seems less intrinsically interesting to me.)

    It’s also hard to imagine how Witten would ever get a prize; maybe if dark matter is found in a direct detection experiment, the old Goodman/Witten paper could be a basis for a prize. But, while it’s an important paper, it wasn’t really a groundbreaking new idea. It was basically taking things other people had proposed to use for detecting neutrinos and pointing out that if dark matter interacts weakly it could also show up.

    Nambu’s prize was sort of the last major missing one in basic theory, I think; I don’t expect any more until the LHC discovers something.

    Vera Rubin sounds like a plausible candidate to me, though it’s worth noting that Fritz Zwicky was the first to infer the existence of dark matter from rotation curves, much earlier than her observations. (He’s dead, of course, so ineligible for the prize.)

  22. #22 Adrian
    September 29, 2010

    Medicine: Mark Davis and Jacques Miller
    Literature: Salman Rushdie

  23. #23 Sujit
    September 29, 2010

    Same as last year…
    Physics: Aharonov and Berry
    Chemistry: Richard Zare

  24. #24 Perry
    September 29, 2010

    The fact that you can mimic Hawking radiation in optics means it is not a quantum gravity effect. Its like a coherent state in quantum optics or EIT, they have quantum explanations but it is not neccessary to deal with them. Now correlations IN the Hawking radiation carrying away information….now THAT would be a different story.

  25. #25 MRW
    September 30, 2010

    Just because I might as well take a shot at the book, I’ll enter for some of the other prizes by blatantly cribbing Thompson Reuters:

    Economics: Alberto Alesina
    Physiology or medicine: Ernest A. McCulloch
    Physics: Thomas W. Ebbesen

  26. #26 Ian Preston
    October 1, 2010

    Economics: Lars Peter Hansen

  27. #27 Steven Colyer
    October 2, 2010

    Unfair and unbalanced cranky middle-aged white male FOX news network has a nice piece up here based on interviews with former Nobel Physics laureates and others in the field on the odds of various groups winning for various contributions in Physics.

    I won’t list them all but the top vote getter (and not by much so we seem to have a real horse race) is:

    For the development of the LED laser, Nick Holonyak; Shuji Nakamura, blue laser; Robert Hall, first semiconductor laser

  28. #28 Andrew
    October 4, 2010

    Economics: Paul Romer, for his contributions to endogenous growth theory.

  29. #29 PJ
    October 4, 2010

    Physics: Saul Perlmutter for accelerating expansion of the universe

  30. #30 qubit1993
    October 4, 2010

    I’m going for Freeman Dyson for Physics.

  31. #31 Chris
    October 5, 2010

    Looks like someone won from last years poll!

    Congrats to Rahul Khopkar :)

  32. #32 Steven Colyer
    October 5, 2010

    Looks like #3 on the list I linked to in reply #27 above, won: Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov for graphene. Congrats.

  33. #33 alexandra
    October 19, 2010

    But where can i be acquainted with the list of candidates??

  34. #34 Dov Henis
    October 29, 2010

    Hawking Radiation Simplified

    Analogue Hawking radiation spotted in the lab
    Has Stephen Hawking’s prediction been realized, three decades on?

    Light On Black Holes
    June 02 2010

    Light On Black Holes
    Is Light On Life
    Is light On Evolutionary Biology

    A. “Black hole shoved aside, along with ‘central’ dogma.”

    A new study has shoved aside the idea that supermassive black holes always reside smack-dab at the centers of their host galaxies.

    B. Black holes mass, by Hawking, evaporates by radiation

    For me both black hole’s imports and exports, simplified, have been rationally expected before I learned of Hawking’s conception. My embarrassingly simple and obvious conceptions are presented at
    “EOTOE. Embarrassingly obvious TOE, expanding the horizon beyond Darwin And Einstein”
    “Evolution, Natural Selection, Derive From Cosmic Expansion”

    which are compilations of

    “Theory Of Everything Without Strings Attached”
    “TOE: Religion Or Science?”

    C. Is it human nature, or only scientists’ nature, to trust-prefer the complicated-complex rather than the obvious-rational concepts?

    Commonsensically, forgive my simplemindedness, the spatial position of “supermassive black hole” in its neighbourhood may be set either by neighbourhood forces acting on the hole or/and by the hole’s gobbling effects on its neighbourhood. The important matter is the embarrassingly obvious function of black holes. They appear to be reconverting the Big Bang resolved mass to the energy that fuels the cosmic expansion, the expansion which will eventually be overcome by gravity, effecting the cosmic empansion back to singularity.


    Dov Henis
    (Comments From The 22nd Century)

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