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October 4, 2011
Yep, That's A Nobel Prize, Right There
Today's announcement of the Physics Nobel came as no surprise. I remember when those results came out in 1998 (that the universe's expansion was accelerating rather than slowing down to some degree), and immediately thinking "Nobel if it holds up". I thought the same thing about RNA interference when I first heard about it, and there are many other discoveries in the same category. Not all of them have been given Nobels, but what I mean are things that are immediately obvious that they are Nobel-worthy.
Now, here's my question for today: how many of these have we had in chemistry? And how many have we had recently? It seems to me that (out of the indisputable chemistry-and-not-biology prizes), there aren't as many as you might find in other fields. Perhaps chemistry is a mature enough science that fundamental surprises and breakthroughs are not as common, and when they occur, they come on more slowly. Thoughts?
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