Nobel Prize in Chemistry revealed in the media hours before | ET REALITY


Following Wednesday’s announcement of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, observers were stunned, and not just by quantum dots, the subject of the laureates’ research.

What surprised them was how at least two Swedish media outlets had managed to report the names and achievements of the awardees hours before the official announcement.

The two newspapers, Aftonbladet and Dagens Nyheter, said they had received a press release by email containing the information directly from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the prize. Hans Ellegren, secretary general of the academy, described the early broadcast of the statement as “completely unexpected” and “very unfortunate.”

“We don’t know what happened,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon, adding that the academy was investigating.

Adding to the confusion, the academy said it had not even formally met or approved the choice of laureates when Swedish media received the press release. Heiner Linke, a member of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, said members of the academy had met to finalize the award ceremony at 9:30 a.m. local time, about two hours after the media received the long-awaited news.

But when the names were officially announced shortly before noon, they matched.

Professor Linke declined to describe the award process in detail, but said the final meeting on Wednesday morning was not a mere approval.

“There is more than one scenario for how things can develop, depending on the decision the academy makes,” he said, although he admitted that “it is a no-brainer that the materials are prepared in advance.”

The names of the Nobel Prize winners have already been leaked prematurely. In 2019, poet Katarina Frostenson, a member of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize in Literature, stepped down after an investigation found that her husband had repeatedly leaked the names of winners.

This year’s Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus and Alexei I. Ekimov, were selected for their discovery and development of quantum dots, used in LED lights and television screens and which can help guide surgeons while removing cancerous tissue. . At least one recipient described the award as unexpected.

Dr Bawendi told a news conference after their names were announced that he was “very surprised”.

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