We will soon know the scientists awarded with the Nobel of 2017. We collect the main predictions about the awards of Medicine, Physics and Chemistry.
Next week will be announced the names of the winners with the Nobel Prizes of 2017. On Monday, October 2 will be the turn of the Nobel Physiology or Medicine, on Tuesday 3 will the announcement of the Nobel of Physics and Wednesday 4 will know who receives the Nobel of Chemistry. Subsequently, it will reveal who are the winners with the Nobel in the categories of Peace, Economy and Literature.
As every year, before knowing who are recognized by the Nobel Committee, bets on possible winners succeed. However, as the rules of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences indicate, candidacies are not made public until fifty years after their nomination. This is why the Nobel predictions touch on speculation, a fact that does not prevent rumors and bets from firing in the days before the announcement of the prizes.
Sigma Xi, one of the oldest scientific societies in the world, launches a vote each year calling on its members to choose their favorites for the Nobel Prize. On this occasion, researchers have chosen Emanuelle Charpentier, Jennifer Doudna and Feng Zhang as potential candidates in the category of Physiology or Medicine for the development of CRISPR-Cas9 technology, although they also sound in the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The entity also proposes as a favorite in this category to James Allison, a pioneer of cancer immunotherapy.
Allison is not the only expert on immunology that appears in the pockets of the Nobel Physiology or Medicine. Gordon Freeman and Arlene Sharpe are also among the favorites for their contributions to the development of personalized cancer treatments. On the other hand, the specialized medium Stat suggests as candidates in this category to Kazutoshi Mori and Peter Walter for the discovery of a mechanism that present the cells to destroy proteins that are not well folded and therefore, can cause physiological damages.
The consultancy Clarivate Analytics adds four more names to the predictions of the Nobel Prize in Medicine. According to their wager, Lewis C. Cantley, Karl J. Friston, Yuan Chang and Patrick S. Moore would also be candidates for the award for their findings of the PI3K signaling pathway related to malignant tumor growth, the discovery of Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus, respectively.
The Nobel Prize in Physics
Predictions for this category point to gravitational waves, the best scientific advance of 2016 according to Science, as clear favorite to the Nobel of Physics. If the rumors are confirmed, the award could recognize the work of the Advanced LIGO collaboration, which has confirmed four signals of gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein, the last one just days ago. The award could also go to scientists like Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss or Barry Barish, whose work was key to building large observatories to ‘hear’ these ‘cosmic whispers’. Unfortunately, Ronald Drever will not be awarded for his contributions, as he died in March 2017.
The bets of Sigma Xi and Clarivate Analytics, however, do not include gravitational waves as favorites. The scientific association suggests Sandra M. Faber and Alexander Polyakov for their work on galaxy formation and string theory, respectively. The consultant opts for Phaedon Avouris, Cornelis Dekker and Paul McEuen for their contributions to the development of new carbon-based electronics; Clarivate Analytics also includes Mitchell J. Feigenbaum and Rashid A. Sunyaev for their studies on chaotic and nonlinear physical systems and about the origin of the universe.
The bets for the Nobel of Chemistry
One of the big bets for this category, as it happened last year, is the genomic edition. Without being awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, the pioneers in the development of the CRISPR-Cas9 system, Jennifer Doudna, Emanuelle Charpentier and Feng Zhang, currently facing a patent war, could be awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. If the Royal Academy of Sciences of Sweden believes that the award should recognize the development of this ‘molecular scalpel’, other researchers who could be recognized would be the Spanish Francis Mojica – who discovered the sequences CRISPR – or the American George Church. In any case, the prediction that this technology bears the Nobel Prize for chemistry is not trivial, as the recombinant DNA technique that opened the doors to genetic engineering and biotechnology was already awarded in the 1980s.