As I am writing this, we are just hours away from the announcement of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics, the biggest event on the physicists calendar. It truly is the academic equivalent of the Oscars, the Emmys, the BAFTAs, and the Grammys. And as with all awards ceremonies, there is a lot of speculation and prediction on the subject of who the recipient will be. So I thought I would add a few of my own predictions to the discussion.

First off, many people have been suggesting that the developers of inflationary cosmology models could win this year. In the spring it was announced that polarization of the cosmic microwave background seems to prove that inflation did occur. And results over the past fifteen years from other astrophysics experiments have been consistent with, and in some cases favoured inflation. However I don't think that the Nobel committee is ready to reward them quite yet. The judges have historically been very conservative and have only recognized discoveries that have been proven beyond any doubt. Unfortunately in the case of inflation, recent data from other experiments have cast doubts on the earlier confirmation, and so inflationary models are probably out of the running until the discrepancies can be explained.

I have also heard suggestions that this might be the year that exoplanets get recognized by the Nobel committee, and perhaps the team behind the Kepler mission would be rewarded for their recent discovery of hundreds of new planets. However once again, I believe that the judges will be too conservative and will not award the prize to something that has not been confirmed by multiple experiments. Maybe the groups that made the first measurements of exoplanets, but those planets were inferred to exist instead of having solid proof.

So with those two possibilities excluded, who will the Nobel committee recognize? By suspicion is that it will be a bit dull this year, and that they will select a discovery that is already so well known that people don't see it as a major discovery. And to be honest, I do not know what that would be. Perhaps one of the advances in superconductors over the last few years, or some of the work on quantum teleportation or freezing photons, or maybe something to do with energy saving technology such as advances in solar cells or developing efficient lighting through super-bright LEDs. 

Like so many others in this business, I am hoping that they recognize one of the big theories and major experiments, but I fear that this year will be something solid and well proven instead. In a few hours we will know for certain.