Virtual Winter School on Computational Chemistry

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sociology of science

  • The Mutation of the "Nobel Prize in Chemistry" into the "Nobel Prize in Chemistry or Life Sciences": Several Decades of Transparent and Opaque Evidence of Change within the Nobel Prize Program

    Speaker: Dr Jeff Seeman
    Speaker Link:
    Institute: University of Richmond
    Country: USA

    Dr Jeffrey I. Seeman

    Department of Chemistry, University of Richmond

    Over the past several decades, the Nobel Prize program has slowly but steadily been modified in both transparent and opaque ways. A transparent change has been the creation of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, more officially known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. An opaque change has been the mutation of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry into what is effectively the “Nobel Prize in Chemistry or Life Sciences.” This presentation will present a detailed study of this opaque change, including evidence that the disciplines of chemistry and biochemistry cover, today, intellectually quite distinct and generally scientifically unrelated intellectual territory. The speaker supports the evolution of the Nobel Prizes, and encourages the Nobel Prize program to move from opaque to transparent change processes for the next generations of achievement in the sciences.


    J. I. Seeman, G. Restrepo, Angew. Chem. Inter. Ed. 2020, 59, 2942-296