Prematurely published news is a disincentive to the Academy, which traditionally makes every effort to keep the name of its next laureates secret. For example, visitors are not welcome in the offices of the Nobel Prize Committee, for fear that the names of the contenders will be leaked.
The winner(s) of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry are always announced on the first Wednesday of October. First, academy members meet in Stockholm to formally approve the nomination. This is followed by the winner(s)’ famous phone call and then, around 11.45am, the press conference in which the news is announced.
About the author
Jeroen Visser is the Scandinavia and Finland correspondent De Volkskrant. Lives in Stockholm. He was previously a Southeast Asia correspondent. He is the author of the book North Korea never says sorry.
Now it appears that the Academy accidentally sent out the press release that was ready. The letter states that the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the year 2023 will be awarded to three researchers “for their discovery and synthesis of quantum dots.” The mentioned researchers are French-Tunisian Monji Bondi, American Louis Bruce, and Russian Alexei Ekimov. All three are active in the United States. “They have planted an important seed for nanotechnology,” the press release headline read.
Quantum dots are very small crystals, only a few nanometers in size. For comparison: the thickness of a human hair is actually fifty thousand nanometers. Depending on their precise size and specific composition, quantum dots can have many useful optical and electronic properties. This means that they are increasingly appearing in a variety of modern technologies. Nowadays, you can find tiny crystals in everything from television screens to medical equipment.
Nobel Committee member Heiner Linke calls the issuance of the press release “deeply regrettable” and says he has no idea what went wrong. “Now I’m trying to understand what happened. We haven’t made a decision yet, so the press release is definitely wrong,” Linke told the Swedish newspaper. Dagens Nyheter.
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