To celebrate this year’s Nobel prize announcement, we’ve created a fun game where you can compare all the 21st century chemistry laureates in a range of categories, rather like a certain popular children’s card game. You can play online against ‘Alfred’ or download a PDF  of the cards to print, cut out and play with your friends, colleagues and families. Just make sure you laminate them before playing in the lab.

As this is just a bit of fun, we haven’t been too scientific with the scores. We’d like to thank Kit Chapman for providing the impact measures and biology ratings using his own top-secret formula.

So, do John B Fenn’s citations beat John B Goodenough’s? Or is Jennifer Doudna’s global impact rating higher than Ada Yonath’s? And what was the most/least biological prize?

  • Age at award is how old the person was when they won the Nobel prize
  • Award delay measures the years between publication of the prize-winning work and receiving the award
  • Citation counts  are the number of citations to the laureate’s prize-winning paper, taken from our previous coverage of Nobel data or the Web of Science and Scopus databases.
  • Share of award  (0-1) reflects how many laureates were included in the award.
  • Global impact (1-100) is our interpretation of how much a prize-winning piece of work has affected the world as a whole, while chemistry impact  (1-100) reflects a prize’s effect on chemistry as a discipline .
  • Biology rating  (1-20) is a tongue-in-cheek attempt to quantify the annual argument of whether a prize is more biological or more chemical in nature – but is a high or low score better?

How to play

  1. Divide the deck evenly between the players, face down. Or, if you’re playing online, Alfred will deal the cards for you.
  2. Players hold their hand in a single stack, with only the top card visible to them.
  3. The player going first chooses a stat from their visible card and reads it aloud to the other players, eg ’My laureate has an award delay of 32 years’. You’re trying to choose a stat that you think will be higher* than the other players’ equivalent stat on their card. Online, click the stat you want to use.
  4. The other players share their equivalent stat. Whoever has the highest* score wins.
  5. The winner takes the cards from the other players and puts them on the bottom of their stack. Online, you will score a point for a win, and you click ‘Next turn’ to play again.
  6. The winner then shares a new stat from their top card, and the game continues until one person holds all the cards. Online, you play seven rounds against Alfred.
  7. In the event of a tie (all players have the same stat), place all the tied cards in the middle and play another round. The winner takes all.

* You can optionally choose to have the lowest score win if you prefer. Just make sure to agree with the other players beforehand. If you’re playing online, the highest score always wins for every stat.