Peter Higgs, Sting and I share a the tantric singer and I should both be rooting for the Prof to win the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics for his part in the development of a theory that explains how matter gets its mass and gave us the infamous "God particle" found by the Large Hadron Collider. Indeed, I would not be alone in predicting that he might well be one of this year's recipients, along with Francois Englert. That's fine. But, what about materials, as opposed to matter in general, are they likely to feature in this year's Nobels? Of course, graphene earned physicists - Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of the University of Manchester, UK - the Physics Prize in 2010. But, are we likely to see another material in this year's tranche of medals?

There have been 106 Nobel awards in Physics given to 194 scientists since 1901. As an aside, just two of those were to female scientists - Marie Curie in 1903 (also received 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry) and
1963 Maria Goeppert-Mayer. Many of the recent Physics prizes have concerned the technological applications of novel materials as well as their fundamental properties - fibre optics, charge-coupled devices, giant magnetoresistance, laser spectroscopy, superconductors and superfluids, Bose-Einstein condensates, semiconductors, liquid crystals and polymers, magnetic systems, ferrimagnetism, nickel steel alloys.

In Chemistry, 104 awards to 163 individuals (four women, Marie Curie, Irène (1911) Joliot-Curie (1935), Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (1964) and Ada Yonath (2009)). Many of the Chemistry prizes have focused on biological discoveries over the years and organic synthesis, but certainly more than a few have what one might call a materials science flavour including those for catalysts, quasicrystals, solid surfaces, conducting polymers, fullerenes and solid state reactions. I suspect it's time for another organic synthetic year in chemistry, however. None of your biological stuff, but good Sharpless-type work. Indeed, Thomson Reuters, which trawls the literature, has put the aforementioned K Barry Sharpless along with M.G. Finn and Valery Fokin for their development of modular "click" chemistry. Sharpless, of course, has already had one Nobel Prize (2001 for chiral oxidation catalysts. If he wins again this year he will join Marie Curie, Linus Pauling, John Bardeen, Fred Sanger as multiple winners in Physics and Chemistry (Admittedly, Pauling's first was chemistry, his second Peace).

The Thomson Reuters approach to prediction looks at the aggregate of scholarly citations and pulls out those fields of study that have seemingly had the greatest impact and are thus most likely to capture the attention of the Nobel jury.
But as with the quasicrystals award to Dan Shechtman in 2011 and the protein work of Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka in 2012, winners while well cited need not always be the most obvious to the non-specialists. Graphene winning physics was a surprise, why wasn't it cited in Chemistry? The year it won Physics, it was palladium-catalysed organic synthesis that won that prize for Richard Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki. Moreover, it seems that ranking and citation are more complicated than some pundits care to admit [].

Others, such as ChemBark often make lists of odds for who might win - well that blog did last year -
- is it time again for polymers to win, or perhaps nanotechnology in some form? The odds were long on Carl Djerassi for the contraceptive pill last year, but he'll be 90 by the time this year's Chemistry prize is announced. Better late than never? I wouldn't like to see fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries, nor solar cells win, I think we have much further to go with portable and renewable energy before we can say we have arrived, It's foggy very cloudy as I write this and my smart phone needs a daily charge! It is 60 years since the discovery of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick, only one of whom ran in and out of The Eagle (Not both Prof Brian Cox!), so perhaps we might see alternative DNA structures and motifs (149-1 on ChemBark last year); they'd be the analogue of quasicrystals one might suggest in terms of being left-field and obvious with 20:20 hindsight.

When the prizes are announced and it will be something so obvious and deserving in retrospect, fingers crossed for some material gains in Chemistry and something close to home for me and Sting in Physics. Howay the lad, come on Higgsy!

David Bradley blogs at and tweets @sciencebase, he is author of the popular science book "Deceived Wisdom".