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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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« And Another Thing. . . | Main | Well Deserved »

October 2, 2005

A Piece of the Action

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Posted by Derek

Does anyone know where a man can put some of his hard-earned research dollars down on a Nobel Prize bet? The Chemistry prize is going to be announced early on Wednesday, so time is tight.

Last year there was a German site taking bets, but they seem dormant. Here's their previous chemistry prize page, which will do for a list of potential names this year, too, since none of them delivered. It's a bit top-heavy with organic chemistry names, I'd say, which is perhaps one reason it didn't perform that well. The Chemistry prize is often used as a way to spread the Medicine (or Physics) prizes around a bit - I'd think a smart customer would want to cover some of those possibilities with a field bet.

But where? Money can be placed on the Peace and Literature prizes. That's understandable, since many more people feel as if they know something about these subjects. (Some of the past awardees make it painfully clear that you don't have to know anything about either one). You can place an interesting bet on a future Physics prize (or lack of one) here. But sporting chemists seem to have no place to turn. . .

Comments (11) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Current Events


1. The Novice Chemist on October 2, 2005 11:13 PM writes...

You'd think that Grubbs and Schrock would be up there, but when are they due? First JACS article was 1991; is that long enough time to float to the top of the list?

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2. Complex Guy on October 3, 2005 12:22 AM writes...

Frank Westheimer invented molecular modeling (stop snickering, Derek!). Martin Karplus. Harden McConnell. If the Germans are going to put Pete Schultz on there, then Stuart Schreiber should have a spot. Carl Djerassi might surprise everyone. But, Derek's right about covering some biological bases to be safe. Roger Tsien is arguably the synthetic chemist who has had the largest impact on biological sciences. There's the whole RNA thing (RNAi and microRNA, etc.), but I'm sure Derek will cover that again. Ribosome, anyone? The Yale structural group along with Noller at Santa Cruz. Whitesides would be an inspired choice, but what would they cite? Making water run uphill??? No, I think they give the chemistry prize to actual chemists about once every four years. The last three years were mass spec, ion channels, and the proteasome, so we may be due for an actual chemist.

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3. Greg Hlatky on October 3, 2005 9:01 AM writes...

One thing you can be sure of: no inorganic chemist will win it this year. None has since Taube in 1983. So cross Grubbs, Schrock, Marks, Brintzinger, Gray and Bergman off the list. You can even cross off Al Cotton, who's been lusting for it for time immemorial.

Nicolau or Schreiber is my guess.

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4. toby on October 3, 2005 9:48 AM writes...

In theory lets you create a "contract" on any bet you want. Only problem is that you have to find someone to take the other side of it. Since the contracts there are heavily weighted towards sports and politics, there might not be too many users betting on the Nobel prize -- may be worth a shot though.

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5. The Novice Chemist on October 3, 2005 10:19 AM writes...

I would pay a goodly amount of money (say, five dollars) to hear a ten minute sales pitch as to why KCN deserves the chemistry Nobel.

It seems that when organic chemists win the Nobel, it's for fundamental contributions (reactions/principles). I realize that Corey and Woodward both won for 'body of work' reasons, but they have plently of core contributions as well.

A lot of this begins to sound like the argument as to which baseball player should be awarded Hall of Fame status. If KCN were a baseball player, who would he be?

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6. Derek Lowe on October 3, 2005 11:26 AM writes...

Novice, I'm with you. I cannot make a plausible case for Nicolau, not at all. If he were a baseball player, he would be. . .Dave Kingman?

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7. patentobserver on October 3, 2005 1:19 PM writes...

I've wondered for years why not Carl Djerassi. Seems to me that even the controversy would be the kind seen recently for the peace prize.

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8. Riskssr on October 3, 2005 2:55 PM writes...

I believe Lerner and Schultz are most likely to receive the Prize this year (higher than 35 percent probability). Their work in catalytic antibodies encompanses both chemistry and biology.

Harry Gray is likely to be awarded the prize sometime in the following five years. Lerner and Gray are two of the very few chemists who are foreign members of the Royal Society of Sweden.

I would think that contributions in combinatorial chemistry would also have a chance.

Disclosure: I am not a real chemist. I only play one on tv.

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9. anon on October 4, 2005 11:14 PM writes...

Neither Lerner nor Schultz spend much time on catalytic antibodies anymore. Surely they don't give a prize for starting something you're not that interested in continuing.

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10. anonymus on October 5, 2005 5:43 AM writes...

grubbs + schrock + chauvin

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11. quickened on November 19, 2005 8:44 AM writes... brotherlessriver

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