==quote from AP== German Wins Nobel Chemistry Prize 6 hours ago STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) — Gerhard Ertl of Germany won the 2007 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said his research helps to understand how catalysts in automobiles work, fuel cells function and even why iron rusts. ==endquote== I think that US dominance in hard science Nobels (physics, chemistry) may be slipping and there may be a shift towards more European Nobels. The US physics establishment (at least outside astrophysics) may have lost its way----there was an interesting letter by J C Philips, a physicist at Rutgers University, in the recent issue of Physics Today about this ("American Physics Implosion")---discussing the cultural difference between physics in Europe versus US. Losing touch with reality. Media culture. Whether that is true or not, I get the feeling that the Nobel committee may be trying to send some messages: 1. physics can contribute to information technology (your hard-drive) and to saving the planet (the catalyst in your car, the catalyst in fuel cells, more efficient materials). Remember that Nobel specifically said the prize was to recognize science benefit to humanity, and I guess that could include the planet humanity depends on as well 2. the European science establishment has grown a lot and knows how to do international integration (ESF, the Euopean science foundation) and has a common language (English) and is leading bigtime science in a new way---the US scientific establishment needs a kick in the pants and a little shaking up. And it is time to expect a bunch of European Nobels. Of course this is just my two cents from the peanut gallery. But I was glad that Physics went to a French-German duo and that Chemistry went to a German and I hope that betokens some kind of change.