Sunday, October 02, 2011

Nobels for 2011


Nevertheless, the figures do give a general indication of the gulf that separates the US from the rest of the world, one that is likely to continue this year according to [David] Pendlebury. He has tipped a number of US teams as possible winners including Robert Langer and Joseph Vacanti, both based in Boston, for their work on tissue engineering; Sajeev John (Toronto, Canada) and Eli Yablonovitch (Berkeley, California) for work on photonics; and Allen Bard (Austin, Texas) for his work on scanning electrochemical microscopy.

Pendlebury cautioned care about betting on his predictions, however. "If you only consider the top 0.1% of the most cited scientists in the world, that includes more than 1,000 researchers," added Pendlebury. "You can narrow it down but it gets harder and harder to differentiate their contributions. In the end, it rests with the individual preferences of Nobel committee members. Nobels are currently dominated by US scientists. However, US investment in the physical sciences is no longer as robust as its investment in biological and medical sciences, so I think in the next decade or so we will begin to see many more Nobel Prize winners from Asia."

And, related to DNA profiling:

As to his own hopes for this week's prizes, Pendlebury admitted to a couple of favourites. One is Sir Alec Jeffreys, the Leicester University biochemist who, in 1984, developed the techniques of DNA fingerprinting and profiling that have transformed forensic science.

Cross-reference: Comment: Frye after Daubert: The Role of Scientists in Admissibility Issues As Seen through Analysis of the DNA Profiling Cases, University of Chicago Roundtable, Volume 1.

Update: As to medicine in 2011: The Nobel committee says American Bruce Beutler and Luxembourg-born scientist Jules Hoffmann have shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in medicine with Canadian-born Ralph Steinman.


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