Who are the potential winners of this year’s Nobel Prize?

26 Sep 2016

Nobel Prize. Image: Super Joseph/Shutterstock

Some 24 scientists from five countries have been tipped as winners of the 2016 Nobel Prize.

The Nobel prize is science’s highest award and on 3 October, in a tradition that stretches back 115 years, a small group of scientists will gain worldwide acclaim.

Thomson Reuters has successfully predicted 39 Nobel Prize winners since 2002.

Future Human

This year’s list is dominated by potential winners from the US with 15 of the 24 researchers working at US institutions.

After carefully mining scientific literature, Thomson Reuters focused on researchers who made the world’s most influential scientific discoveries, ranking those in the top 0.1pc by citations within their field.


Under chemistry they list George Church and Feng Zhan who developed the application of CRISPR-cas9 gene editing in mouse and human cells.

It includes Dennis Lo Yuk Ming who detected cell-free DNA in maternal plasma, leading to a revolution in non-invasive pre-natal testing.

It also includes Hiroshi Maeda and Yasuhiro Matsumura who discovered the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect of macromolecular drugs, a key finding for cancer therapeutics.


Under medicine, the list includes James P Allison, Jeffrey A Bluestone and Craig R Thompson, who explained how CD28 and CTLA-4 are regulators of T-cell activation, modulating immune response.

It lists Gordon Freeman, Tasuku Honjo and Arlene H Sharpe, who elucidated and programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and its pathway, which has advanced cancer immunotherapy.

It also lists Michael N Hall, David M Sabatini and Stuart Schreiber, who discovered the growth regulator target of rapamycin (TOR) and the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR).


For the Physics prize, Thomson Reuters’ list includes Marvin Cohen for theoretical studies of solid materials, prediction of their properties and especially for the empirical pseudopotential method.

It lists Ronald Drever, Kip S Thorne and Rainer Weiss for developing the Laser Inferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) that made possible the detection of gravitational waves.

It also lists Celso Grebogi, Edward Ott and James A York for describing a control theory of chaotic systems, the OGY method.


Under economics, it lists Olivier Blanchard, who contributed to macroeconomics including determinants of economic fluctuations and employment.

It also includes Edward P Lazear, who developed the field of personnel economics, and Mark J Melitz, who pioneered descriptions of firm heterogeneity and international trade.

Nobel Prize imageSuper Joseph/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years