For many chemists, it’s a fall ritual: They proclaim their pick to win their field’s Nobel Prize at the water cooler or on social media. The excitement builds until one crisp October morning, when the winners are announced—and most people’s expectations are dashed and a lucky few claim bragging rights.
The staff at C&EN can hardly wait for chemistry’s day in the limelight. Yesterday, we held our annual predictions webinar, entitled “Who Will Win The #ChemNobel? Predicting the 2018 Nobel Laureate(s) in Chemistry.” Senior correspondent Carmen Drahl and deputy editorial director Lauren K. Wolf led the hour-long discussion and speculated (aka guessed wildly) about which chemists will get the call from Sweden this year.
The panelists included Neil Garg, award-winning educator and organic chemist at UCLA; Nicole Gaudelli of Beam Therapeutics, who is a member of C&EN’s 2018 Talented 12 rising stars in chemistry; and Joseph Moran, a chemist at the University of Strasbourg and also a member of C&EN’s 2018 Talented 12.
In addition to reporting their predictions, the panelists weighed in on whether Nobel Prizes are ever given as lifetime achievement awards, how much the makeup of the Nobel Committee might factor into who is chosen to win, and how long it takes for a discovery to become Nobel-worthy. During the webcast, viewers voted electronically for the person or people they thought had the best shot at the 2018 prize, based on the panelists’ predictions. The majority of the votes went once again to John B. Goodenough and others who helped develop lithium-ion batteries. Robert Bergman and others involved in developing C–H functionalization chemistry also notched a sizable percentage of votes.
To see all the banter between the hosts and panelists, watch the archived predictions broadcast, embedded above. For up-to-the-minute coverage of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, follow C&EN on Twitter and Instagram. To see our past coverage of Nobel nominations and snubs, visit our site here.