Nothing kills a burning excitement more than an anticlimactic, premature revelation of winners—especially in areas where groundbreaking discoveries and scientific accolades are concerned. Such was the unfortunate fate that befell this year’s Chemistry Nobel Prize winners, who were awarded “for the development and synthesis of quantum dots.”

Nobel laureates Dr. Louis Brus of Columbia University and Dr. Alexei Ekimov of Nanocrystals Technology Inc. didn’t get to receive and savor the news of their victory from the esteemed Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences itself. Unfortunately, they found themselves unwitting recipients of the honor through unauthorized Swedish media channels.

Nonetheless, the third winner, Dr. Moungi Bawendi from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, assured the public of his lack of awareness concerning the Nobel Prize leak incident. Despite that, the scientific community of the prestigious award voiced their discontent at the untimely disclosure.

To gauge the public’s sentiments—and the inherent repercussions that come with it—the online survey app Real Research has initiated a survey on the premature announcement of the 2023 Chemistry Nobel Prize winners.


  • 55.64% of the Real Research respondents are aware of the leaking of Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners.
  • The media shouldn’t report Nobel winners before the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences does, says 84.59% of individuals.
  • 84.52% of surveyed people say their perception of the institution has changed following the Nobel Prize leak.

8 in 10 Express Views on Media Restraint

The survey revealed that 55.64% of the respondents were aware of the premature disclosure of the Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry. Meanwhile, 44.36% say they’re unaware of the news. Arguably, the untimely disclosure of Chemistry research champions prompts a crucial question: Should the media exercise restraint in reporting on Nobel Prize leaks until the official announcement?

In response, 37.37% of the surveyed individuals strongly advocated for the preservation of the sanctity of such momentous announcements. Recognizing the balance between journalistic responsibility and the excitement of breaking news, 47.22% of the respondents voiced a more tempered disposition. The remaining 15.41% feel that the media is not obligated to withhold information until a confirmed notification.

Fig. 1: The people’s view on media discretion for the premature disclosure of Nobel Prize winners.

Implications of the Premature Announcement on Laureates

While rare, similar news of the Nobel Prize leak has happened in the past. In 2010, several headlines covered Robert Edwards’ supposed win even before the direct notice from the awarding committee broke out. Although the thrill of having a scoop could make or break a journalist’s career, the need for media restraint is key to preserving the surprise and honoring the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences process.

Fig. 2: Thoughts on the unofficial announcement of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners

Simultaneously, the impulsive news sharing has profound implications for the laureates themselves—at least for most. Participants were asked whether the topic had implications for the three scientists and their contributions to chemistry. 32.48% recognized direct consequences for the winners and their significant contributions to the field, backed by 32.77% who felt that the impact was somewhat apparent. On the flip side, 33.75% believed that the Nobel Prize leak held no consequences for the laureates.

Public Perception of the Nobel Chemistry Prize Winners’ Names Leaked

Next, the survey poll inquired about the broader community’s perception of the Nobel Prize leak. Notably, 30.97% believed it had direct implications, and 38.44% felt that there are nuanced effects to the unofficial news. Conversely, 30.59% did not see any importance for the broader community.

How the Nobel Prize leak has affected the public's perception of the scientific institution.
Fig. 3: How the Nobel Prize leak has affected the public’s perception of the scientific institution.

The survey also explored whether premature disclosure affects the participants’ perception of the Nobel Prize institution as a whole. A combined 84.52% (51.51% and 33.01%, respectively) indicated a shift in perception. Yet, the trust and perception of the remaining 15.48% in the esteemed institution remained unaffected.

In general, the above data shows that the leak doesn’t just affect laureates. According to the majority, this misstep influences public perceptions and attitudes towards the revered institution. And it paints a bad light on the local media stations of Sweden.

The Cat’s Out of the Bag

The overall obtained data regarding the premature revelation of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners captures the pulse of public sentiment. The call for media restraint underscores a collective desire to uphold the integrity and excitement of Nobel Prize announcements. Truly, the implications for the laureates—Doctors Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus, and Alexei I. Ekimov—reveal a nuanced understanding, with a significant portion of the interviewed group recognizing its probable negative impacts. It reflects on both the broader scientific community and the credibility of the Nobel Prize institution itself.

In aggregate, 38.76% of the respondents see the downside to the premature disclosure of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, while 41.67% adopt a more cautious ‘somewhat’ stance. The 23.85% of them hold an overall skeptical view. Nonetheless, this survey on the controversial Nobel Prize leak serves as a valuable snapshot of public opinion in the face of an unexpected and controversial event in the world of prestigious awards.


Survey TitlePublic Opinion on the Controversial Nobel Prize Leak
DurationOctober 15 – October 22, 2023
Number of Participants10,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.