Another year, another fall, another disbursement of dynamite money from our friends in Scandawegia. The 2013 Nobel Prize announcements are almost upon us. Which means it’s time for the game everyone loves to tolerate: the Uncertain Principles Nobel Prize Betting Pool. As always, the core rules are simple:
Leave a comment to this post predicting at least one of the winners of one of this year’s Nobel Prizes. If one of your guesses turns out to be correct, you win the highly coveted right to choose the topic of a future blog post.
There’s one small modification this year, though, regarding the Physics prize: last year I put a flat prohibition on anything Higgs-related, but I’ll loosen that slightly for this year: If you choose something related to the Higgs boson for the Physics prize, you must correctly match the exact and entire field of laureates.
Thus, if you want to select the discovery of the Higgs as the winning topic for the Physics prize, you must predict a subset of no more than three people out of the mumble who have a possible claim to it. Thus, if you pick Brout, Kibble, and Higgs getting a prize for the theory and the Nobel committee goes with Englert, Kibble, and Higgs, you win nothing. You need to get all three. This is meant to be a test of skill, not a test to see who can type “Peter Higgs” into the comment box the fastest.
(The same constraint applies to the experimental discovery, by the way. If you want to predict an award for the discovery of a Higgs-like boson at the LHC, you need to select at most three people to get it. If you say it will go to Joe Incandela, Fabiola Gianotti and Tommaso Dorigo and instead it goes to Incandela, Gianotti, and Vincent Connare, you win nothing.)
Otherwise, the procedure remains the same: specify the subject and the laureates, and for each name you correctly predict, you win the right to either select the topic of a post to be written by me or the right to write a guest post to be published here (subject to some terms and conditions described below). So, for example, you might post the following:
Literature: Stephanie Meyer
Chemistry: Avon Barksdale
Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel: Matthew Yglesias
If Barksdale and Yglesias win, you get to pick two topics about which I will have to write at some point in the relatively near future. Alternatively, you could write two guest posts to be published here.
Please limit yourself to a single comment, and one choice per prize category. (You can suggest multiple names, but they should be people you think would share a prize, not two unrelated guesses. That is, “Chemistry: Walter White and Avon Barksdale” is legit, but “Chemistry: Derek Lowe or maybe Walter White” is not.) In the event that more than one comment suggests the same person, the prize will go to whoever commented first, so read the prior comments before posting your guess. Guesses must be recorded by midnight Eastern US time the night before the relevant prize is announced (here’s the schedule again), as determined by the time stamp on the comment.
Obligatory disclaimers: post topics chosen by the winners must be something I can write about without getting myself in trouble. Guest post essays must be acceptable in tone and content. Decisions as to the suitability of a guest post or post topic will be made by me, with possible consultation with Kate. If I decide that a suggestion is unacceptable, I will ask for another topic or for whatever changes I feel are necessary to make it acceptable.
(Void where prohibited. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Professional driver on closed course.)