Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2012 Nobel Prize predictions

People are starting to make predictions. A post from last year links to prediction from other bloggers, mostly in Chemistry.

1. Experiments for testing Bell inequalities and elucidating the role of entanglement in quantum physics
Alan Aspect, John Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger
They received the Wolf Prize in 2010, a common precursor to the Nobel.

2. Duncan Haldane and David Thouless
Showing the important role of topology in low-dimensional condensed matter

This should be a precursor to any prize for topological insulators. I remain to be convinced that there should be a prize for that. Also note Haldane and Thouless both wrote papers that were foundational for topological insulator theory.

I was convinced of the importance of Haldane and Thouless by Rajiv Singh several years ago.
I think their contributions are more original, significant and profound than Berry and Aharonov. But, I think the latter are probably more popular and likely.
Also, Haldane has not received the Wolf Prize yet.

3. Higgs, Kibble, and Englert?
They must be hot candidates and CERN will be lobbying hard. But, I hope it won't happen this year. I would like to see more statistics and checks on the experimental data. Also it has not yet been established that the Higgs field is the origin of the mass of fermions.

I welcome alternative views and suggestions.


  1. I'm most familiar with Thouless from textbooks because of the Berezinsky-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition, and the TKNN invariant. Are you suggesting it be for one of those, and if so, what about his co-authors?

    I suppose since the Prize can't go to more than 3, he'll just have to take them out for dinner:)

  2. Andrew, I suggest Thouless because of the two contributions you mention. His co-authors made one contribution.