US scientists dominate Nobel predictions

Two UK-based researchers also tipped as potential Nobel prizewinners

September 21, 2017
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Professors from University College London and the University of Oxford are among those highlighted as possible Nobel prizewinners by Clarivate Analytics.

Each year, David Pendlebury, now a Clarivate Analytics consultant, looks at millions of citations in the Web of Science platform, producing a list of researchers who could win Nobel prizes.

The 2017 list features two Russian scientists for the first time.

Since 2002, Mr Pendlebury has accurately predicted 43 winners in science and economics. 

The first of the 2017 batch of Nobel prizes is announced on 2 October.

Mr Pendlebury makes three new predictions for the awards in physiology or medicine, chemistry, physics and economics each year. He also considers predictions from previous years to remain valid.

The list of 22 potential winners for this year features researchers from a variety of countries including Denmark, Greece, India and Taiwan. As usual, US scientists dominate, taking 15 slots. However, for the first time, the list includes scientists who are, at least partly, based in Russia.

One is Rashid Sunyaev, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, in Garching, Germany, and chief scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, who is tipped for the Nobel Prize in Physics because of his “profound contributions to our understanding of the universe”.

The other is Georgiy Shul’pin, a senior researcher at the Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics at the Russian Academy of Sciences, tipped for a win in the chemistry prize for his “critical contributions” to the functionalisation of the carbon-hydrogen bond, alongside two US scientists. They are John Bercaw, Centennial emeritus professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, and Robert Bergman, Gerald E. K. Branch distinguished professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Two professors based at UK institutions are featured on the list. Mr Pendlebury said that Karl Friston, professor of imaging neuroscience at University College London, could be honoured in the medicine or physiology category for his “fundamental contributions to the analysis of brain-imaging data”.

Meanwhile, Henry Snaith, professor at physics at the University of Oxford, is tipped to share the chemistry prize with two scientists based in Asia for their “discovery and application of perovskite materials to achieve efficient energy conversion”.

Nam-Gyu Park, professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, and Tsutomu Miyasaka, professor of photoelectrochemistry and energy science at Toin University of Yokohama, Japan, are also credited for the discovery and tipped as potential winners.

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