A hat-trick of Nobels

Link: The Sceptical Chymist: Eyes on the prize.

The third Nobel prize in the basic scientists is given for chemistry. This year’s award is to a single recipient, Gerhard Ertl, according to Andy Mitchison of Sceptical Chymist blog and an associate editor at Nature (link above) "one of the fathers of the area, famous for his seminal work on hydrogen adsorption to metal surfaces, the mechanism of the Haber-Bosch process and the oxidation of carbon monoxide on platinum". Here is the Nobel foundation’s summary of Ertl’s work.

Andy goes on to ruminate: "I’ll be curious to see how much coverage the chemistry prize gets in the national press [tomorrow morning]. The prize for medicine certainly attracted a lot of attention in the UK (but of course, one of the prizewinners was a Brit). The physics prize seems to have had less coverage, despite being branded as “The Physics of the iPod”. This year’s chemistry prize has perhaps the most obvious real-world relevance of recent Nobel awards for the subject – but will that be enough to inspire the press?"

There is a bit more updated chat about the Nobels at The Great Beyond, the Nature news blog.

Good times for the Economist

From The Guardian: "The Economist’s recent commercial success and stellar circulation growth would be the envy of any title. Like its rival British-based periodicals, the Spectator and the New Statesman, it sold between 50,000 and 70,000 copies a week until the late Seventies, when global expansion catapulted it into a different league. It now shifts more than 1.2 million copies in 201 countries (just under 173,000 are sold in the UK) and the business made a pre-tax profit of £49m this year, a 59 per cent rise. So much for the effect of the internet and the corresponding decline of the printed word."

John Micklethwait, the Economist’s editor, provides his reasons in the Guardian (actually Observer) article at the link.