Reports emerged on Wednesday suggesting that the names of the Nobel chemistry prize laureates for this year had been leaked, with Swedish media outlets publishing the apparent recipients’ names just hours before the official announcement. Nobel prize leaks are infrequent, as the prize-awarding academies take extensive measures to safeguard the secrecy of the laureates’ identities until the official unveiling.
It was reported that Sweden’s prominent news source, Dagens Nyheter, along with the national broadcasters Swedish Television and Swedish Radio, claimed to have received a press release from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences disclosing the names of three chemists based in the United States.
Eva Nevelius, the Academy’s press spokeswoman, refrained from commenting on the situation, stating that further investigation was required to understand what had occurred.
According to the Swedish reports, the alleged laureates are Moungi Bawendi from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Louis Brus from Columbia University, and Alexei Ekimov, associated with Nanocrystals Technology. These individuals were said to have been recognized “for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots,” as per the reports. However, the press release in question was not found on the Academy’s official website.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was originally scheduled to make its official announcement at 11:45 am (0945 GMT), following a meeting and vote to determine the laureate. Heiner Linke, an expert on the Academy’s Nobel Chemistry Committee, expressed surprise at the situation and emphasized that no decision had been made yet. If a press release had indeed been issued prematurely, it would be considered an error.
The secrecy surrounding Nobel prize nominations is upheld for 50 years, contributing to the rarity of leaks in the Nobel prize announcements.