Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nobel Notes

I am not even going to try and offer up any predictions or suggestions given last year's surprise.  I will, however, make a few comments, some of which I've mentioned in the past.

Molecular Dynamics

Martin Karplus is usually mentioned here.  Chembark has this folded into a more general computational chemistry prize with other scientists who have contributed greatly in other areas of comp. chem., as has the listing over at the Curious Wavefunction.  Not to take anything away from Prof. Karplus and his extraordinary career, but as was brought up last year, this position betrays a lack of appreciation for the development of MD.  I'm not sure how one could reward Karplus without snubbing the early accomplishments under the rug that showed the power of computational methods to ask questions and provide answers to physical problems.  Of course, it's also entirely possible that an MD prize would be one in Physics, which would be entirely acceptable as well.


While some have noted that a Prize for the recent structural accomplishments might seem premature, I can envision a slightly different scenario.  Kobilka's former mentor, Robert Lefkowitz, did receive the National Medal of Science a few years ago for his pioneering work in GPCRs, and has earned various other accolades over the years.  It's possible that there might be some sort of Prize that involves more on the biochemical side of things, but with an eye (and inclusion of) the structural work.

Magnetic Resonance

Not even going to try since I'll just keep babbling on for a while.

The Kavli Question

Will we ever see a dual Nobel/Kavli Prize laureate?  Or is the work that the Kavli Prizes recognize too interdisciplinary to make it through the Nobel process?  (Cue the whining of chemists who want to eliminate biochemistry from eligibility for the Nobel Prize.  Heh.)

P.S. - Really kind of hoping a physician wins the Nobel for chemistry, a chemist wins the Nobel for physics, and a physicist wins the Nobel for physiology/medicine.  It would be a tremendously hilarious week.


Wavefunction said...

Who would you nominate for an MD prize in physics? Also, would love to hear your thoughts on NMR.

MJ said...

Just in case this comment grabs your attention prior to the new post.... added some thoughts here in a new post -

Wavefunction said...

Good call on Lefkowitz and Kobilka! Your prediction of the split between the biochemical and structural work was spot on. If they had decided only on structure they would have probably had to include Stevens and Paclzewski.

MJ said...

Thanks! Truth be told, I was a bit surprised that they picked it up this year, but I suppose the lure of giant, ill-behaved membrane proteins being slightly tamed was too much to resist. Heh.

If I were a betting man, I'd have probably gone with Moerner & Orrit for single-molecule spectroscopy this year. While everyone tends to note the biological imaging applications, we shouldn't forget the insights obtained by examining chemistry at the single-molecule level.

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