Forecasting the 2015 Nobel Prize winners

Rise of female scientific elites points to a narrowing of the Nobel gender gap
View through spyglass lens to the sun shining in the sky

It’s Nobel Prize season, and that means it’s time for the annual Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates study, which has accurately forecast 37 Nobel Prize winners since 2002. Each year, our analysts mine scientific research citations within the Web of Science™ – the premier global search and discovery platform for the sciences, social sciences and arts and humanities – to identify the most influential researchers in chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, and economics who are likely winners of the Nobel Prize now or in the future. 

This year’s noteworthy nominees include:

  • In chemistry, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for the development of the CRISPR/cas 9 method for precision genome editing to identify potential treatments for genetic diseases.
  • In physics, Deborah S. Jin created the first fermionic condensate at ultra-low temperatures, which may find application in precision measurement, quantum computing and superconductors.
  • In physiology or medicine, Kazutoshi Mori and Peter Walter showed that a mechanism, known as the unfolded protein response acts as cellular “quality control system.”
  • In economics, Sir Richard R. Blundell advanced the understanding of the impact of policy decisions on labor markets and consumer demand, particularly in how families are affected by adverse economic conditions.

This year’s analysis signals a narrowing of the gender gap by identifying a significant growth in female authorship of science’s most prominent research. Since 1901, only 17 women have been awarded Nobel Prizes in the sciences. Four of the 2015 Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates inductees are women while between 2002 and 2014 just six women were named to the list. 

“Within the scientific research community, literature citations at high-frequency are a form of collegial acknowledgment for breakthrough thinking. By analyzing these citations in aggregate, we take the pulse of the research world.” – Basil Moftah, president of Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property & Science

The 2015 Citation Laureates have made significant strides in scientific innovations across the fields of Chemistry, Medicine, Physics and Economics. The below infographic provides deeper insight into the everyday applications of some of their discoveries and contributions, from genome editing to quantum computing.