Which was it?

Here is a list of the contestants. In the comment field below, state name, year and a brief justification (using not more than 12 words).

Hint: 1965, R. B. Woodward is wrong.

I am not insinuating someone took a shortcut or did not deserve his or her award. On the contrary, I am genuinely interested in general thoughts around the least amount of work needed to get a job done, in all aspects of everything.

Hit me!


9 Responses to Poll: Between 1901 and 2011, which Nobel Prize in Chemistry required the LEAST amount of work?

  1. Alex says:

    Em, fullerenes or graphene, I guess?

    • drfreddy says:

      Excellent choices, Sir. I am leaning towards the latter myself. Allow me to be redundantly clear: I don’t think these research areas are any less worthy of the award than any other. I generally think everybody should strive for the maximum impact in as few experiments as possible.

      • Michael Barclay says:

        Ahh darn I had a feeling Fullerene might get mentioned here. I did my degree at the University of Sussex and have spent many a time in the Mass Spec room where the first C60 molecule was detected – even met Harry Kroto at one point and he was a great guy.

        Admittedly though the amount of work involved was probably less than some of the other Laureates had to endure. Essentially it just involved Mass Spec’ing some fancy orange liquids. Still… cool molecule though

  2. milkshake says:

    how about polarography? It is not that useful (as analytic method for determining metals) but they gave it Nobel because it was the first fully reproducible electrochemical system – a system devoid of mysterious surface effects – that could be calculated from first principles so it served as a great moral booster for the field.

  3. Billy Diol says:

    Perhaps the second one to Frederick Sanger? First in 1958 for structure of proteins and then in 1980 for base sequences in nucleic acids. Was it “only” some further method development?

  4. Beshara says:

    Don’t things typically seem easy with hindsight?

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