## Monday, September 28, 2009

### 2009 physics Nobel prize: speculations

Update: The 2009 physics Nobel prize went to Charles Kuen Kao (1/2) and Willard Boyle (1/4) and George Smith (1/4): see a newer blog article
Next week, Scandinavia will tell us about their choice of Nobel prizes for 2009. The physics Nobel prize will be announced on Tuesday, October 6th, at 11:45 a.m., Swedish time.

Who is going to win the physics award that has preserved its exceptional status because the prize has never been flagrantly misdirected, unlike the peace Nobel prize, so far?

First, let us summarize the winners since October 2004 when this blog was born:
Now, it may be fun to recall some predictions made in the previous years:
Very soon, I will review some older scenarios which may still be possible in 2009. Meanwhile, Thomson Scientific offered their own, new predictions based on their algorithm analyzing the network of citations. They managed to accurately guess the 2007 winners - Fert, Grünberg - although they did so already in 2006 and F+G were not their top choice.

Besides Gross, Wilczek, and Politzer whom your humble correspondent has been guessing and recommending for a decade, The Reference Frame has also correctly guessed Kobayashi and Maskawa in 2005 - who won in 2008 (but with Nambu, an unexpected but justifiable twist).

In 2009, Thomson Scientific offer the following new candidates:
• Yakir Aharonov, Sir Michael Berry (an original combination of two "phase" people)
• Juan Ignacio Cirac, Peter Zoller (quantum information with cold trapped ions)
• John Pendry, Sheldon Schultz, David R. Smith (optics, negative refractive index, invisibility)
I hope that I managed to combine them into the right teams. The following is an assorted list of possible candidates we have mentioned in the past:
• Alan Guth, Andrei Linde, and maybe Paul Steinhardt: cosmic inflation
• Vera Rubin alone or et al.: dark matter
• Martin Rees: origin of CMB or galaxy formation
• Edward Lorenz: chaos theory and attractors; he sadly died so he has no chance
• Andre Geim, Kostya Novoselov: graphene
• Sumio Ijima: carbon nanotubes
• Roger Penrose, Dan Shechtman: quasicrystals
• Shuji Nakamura: colorful LASERs and LEDs
• Arthur McDonald: neutrino physics
• Yoshinori Tokura: new superconductors and giant magnetoresonance
• Peter Higgs, Jeffrey Goldstone, Philip Anderson: spontaneous symmetry breaking (Nambu has already been given one; Cabibbo is probably out because of the same reason)
• Sheldon Glashow (again), John Iliopoulos, Luciano Maiani: GIM mechanism and charm quark
• Stephen Adler and Roman Jackiw: anomaly cancellation in gauge theory (John Bell died)
• Leonard Susskind: the discoverer of string theory, technicolor, Hamiltonian lattice QCD, quark confinement, scaling violations in deep inelastic electroproduction, 1/2 of holography, 1/4 of Matrix theory, black hole complementarity, quantum tautology
• Michael Green, John Schwarz, Edward Witten (an early stringy prize: a long shot but a previous guess by Thomson Scientific)
• Lene Hau: nonlinear optics and slow light
• Bertrand Halperin, David Nelson: anti-ferromagnets, two-dimensional phase transitions
• Emmanuel Desurvire, Masatake Nakazawa, David Payne: fiber optics
• James Bjorken: scaling in QCD
If you want to hear a truly provocative proposal, be aware that a blog (probably jokingly) suggests James Hansen. That may sound as a good joke but remotely comparable crazy things have occurred in the past. As soon as such a prize would be announced, the idea would no longer be a joke and Sweden would transform itself into a legitimate target of nuclear attacks by all civilized countries.

You know, with his deluded "predictions", James Hansen is not just a generic crackpot focusing on an inferior discipline of physics. He is a crackpot who is threatening the future wealth of the human civilization.

For additional predictions of the Nobel prize winners, see The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press.