Reuters posts its favourites to win the Nobel Prize

The Golden Hall of the Stockholm City Hall, venue of the Nobel Prize banquet.

Media group Thompson Reuters has named its favourites for this year’s Nobel Prize-winners, including three Australian organic chemists working at the cutting edge of plastic and polymer research they began in the 1980s.

This year Thomson Reuters predicted eight possible winners in chemistry, and seven in physics and medicine.

In Chemistry Melbourne-based organic chemists Graeme Moad, San Thang and Ezio Rizzardo face competition from Ching Tang of Hong Kong University and American Steven Van Slyke who invented the organic light-emitting diodes now used in smartphones and tablets.

In medicine, contenders include David Julius of the University of California, who discovered the cellular pain receptor for the hot-pepper molecule capsaicin in the late 1990s; in physics, a possible winner is Charles Kresge of Saudi Aramco who invented molecular sieves in 1992.

Reuters has a good track record as a Nobel tipster, having picked 35 winners in the past 12 years. Its system is to pick authors of papers cited 1,000 time or more, although analyst David Pendlebury warns this varies depending on the field and there are no guarantees.

Dr Rizzardo might stir up some controversy should he win. He was a joint winner of the 2011 Australian Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, and has been critical of his government’s cuts to the science budget.

He has particularly expressed concern about the impact of the cuts on “blue sky” research, saying in the new climate scientists will be under more pressure to deliver quick results.

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