Yes folks, its that time of year again. This week the Nobel committees will be announcing the 2018 winners of the most prestigious prize in science, and that means it is time to once again make a few predictions.

As usual I will begin with some comments on which theories and potential candidates will not be receiving a prize this year.

Every year when I make my predictions, I have readers from outside of the scientific community complain that I "forgot" to list certain people. I won't name the people here, because that is really not important. And every year I have to remind people that by the rules of the Nobel Prize, the award can only go to living recipients, and so many great theories and great scientists are illegible by virtue of their lack of being alive. The Nobel rules also forbid the prize from being awarded to more than three people, which immediately excludes larger groups and collaborations from consideration.

Furthermore the committee tends to be very conservative in terms of only awarding the prize to ideas that have been so well proven experimentally that there is no doubt that they are true. This tends to eliminate most of the theoretical physics community immediately. For example, although most physicists agree that the theory of cosmic inflation and the existence of dark matter are both true, neither has been verified experimentally to a sufficient level to justify a Nobel Prize.

So then the question is, who will win the prize this year?

And that is actually a very difficult question this year, because there are no obvious candidates. We didn't have a major advance in science this year on the level of gravitational waves or the Higgs boson. There is a slim chance that the people who discovered dark energy twenty years ago could earn a prize, since the existence of dark energy has been confirmed by multiple supernovae surveys and by observations of the cosmic microwave background. However in my opinion, the lack of a universally accepted explanation for what dark energy is and why it exists will exclude this possibility. There are also some interesting candidates in the field of astronomy, such as the discovery of exoplanets or some of the more recent work on the origin of gamma rays and cosmic rays, but once again I do not feel that any of these candidates are strong enough on their own to warrant a Nobel Prize.

In my opinion, the committee will probably give this year's prize to a technological advance instead of a purely scientific advance. It has happened before, with the Nobel committee recognizing the development of the microchip, the invention of CCD and CMOS detectors that are used in all modern cameras, and even the invention of the white LED that has become common in energy efficient lighting. I do not know, and would not dare to guess which technology they would recognize with a Nobel prize, but my instinct right now is that that will be the area that they have been looking at. But as usual I could be wrong.

Whichever idea earns a Nobel Prize this year, we can be certain that it will have been a major achievement and advance in scientific knowledge, and that the recipients will be very deserving of it. Whether it is an advance in pure science, or in technology, it will be something that has changed our understanding of the world.

For tonight all we can do is speculate and wait for the committee to make their announcement.