When your kids reach milestone ages (18 and 21 chez nous), for instance, you cannot but help celebrate, and of course, get all whimsical about the passing of the years. I suppose the same can be said when one's career reaches a milestone, your graduation, first year in a job, next five, the next ten, twenty...retirement and so forth. Tempus fugit as they probably never once muttered in their hackneyed chariots on the way to the Forum.

It does not seem too long since we were celebrating the last tranche of Nobel Prizes and, well, they've just been and gone again. Medicine went to chemistry - natural products with anti-parasitic activity, no less. While Chemistry went to biology - DNA repair mechanisms. We'll skip over Economics and Literature and just to say that Physics went to Physics. Which is nice. There was a year, as it happens, when Physics went to chemistry when graphene was the focus of the awarding committee.

Of course, within seconds of the first tweets showing up (I think my Chemistry one actually beat the live video feed for some of my followers because the twitter stream updated faster than their media player could buffer the bits from Sweden) , there were those complaining that proper chemistry so rarely wins and that it is almost always biological matters that matter. Well, that's as may be, but there have been plenty of chemistry prizes for "proper" chemistry. The problem is, that old Alfred (I saw old but Nobel was a mere 63 when he died of cardiovascular problems and ultimately a cerebral stroke) did not make any provision for the wide range of disciplines that we have in the sciences today.

Back in the day, even before Nobel, we had natural philosophers, scientists, and gradually as science began to hot up during the industrial revolution we saw physicists, chemists and biologists become less polymathematical and more in need of becoming polyglots so that they could speak the rising number of scientific languages beginning to emerge. Despite the ivory towers and the disciplinary demarcation, there are always ongoing efforts to create interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, multicultural, diversity aware and integrated scientific endeavors and rightly so. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Nobels, Alf's will was the way and we are stuck with Physics, Chemistry and "Physiology or Medicine" and the aforementioned Economics, Literature, and Peace.

There  are other prizes, of course, entirely independent of Scandinavian origin. But, there are no actual Nobels for Biology, there isn't one for Mathematics,  and certainly nothing specific to Materials Science. It was the centenary in 2001, and since its origins in 1901 there have been (at the time of writing in October 2015) 900 Nobel Laureates, (874 individuals and 26 organizations), the centenary might have been a good point to make changes, but I suspect the trustees of Alfred's endowment will never change the rules in the way I allude to above. They will simply continue to reward science with their chunky gold medals and their cash prize in the specified fields laid down early on. But, wouldn't it be nice if the prize for Chemistry would always go for chemistry and there were a Nobel Prize for Materials Science? Who would win? Who would win?

You can read about this year's Nobel Prizes via the Nobel website or on any number of websites, blogs, and social media updates.

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