Are You Ready for October Madness?

by Heather Thorstensen | Jul 24, 2015

HeatherThorstensenJoin us on the road to Stockholm! Here at Sigma Xi, we want to keep doing what we do best—recognizing incredible research—while having some fun as we wait for the announcement of this year’s Nobel Prize winners in October. The Nobel Prize has a deep connection with Sigma Xi: More than 200 members are, or have been, Nobel laureates since the Society formed in 1886.

Let’s see who we think has made the greatest benefits to mankind! We’re going to run October Madness, a contest in which we, the people, get to vote for our picks for this year’s science-related Nobel Prize winners. You do not need to be a member of Sigma Xi to participate. 

We’re looking for 16 nominations each for the:

  • Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Our Prizes (pun intended)

If you nominate someone who goes on to win a Nobel Prize, you will be entered into a raffle. If you win the raffle, and you're not a Sigma Xi member, you will receive all the benefits of the Sigma Xi Affiliate Circle* for one year (a $70 value), which includes a one-year subscription to American Scientist  magazine. Members who win the raffle will have their dues paid by Sigma Xi for 2015–16. Those who already renewed their membership will have their dues paid for 2016–17. We will select one winner per Nobel Prize category for a total of three winners. 

Submit Your Nominations 

Send in your picks by August 11 online or directly to me:

Remember to include:

  • Your nominee’s name (send in as many as you want)
  • Which Nobel Prize you think this person should win
  • His or her area of research
  • His or her institution or affiliation
  • Your name and email address

On August 25, we will announce October Madness nominees** and open the three brackets for public voting on Sigma Xi’s social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Keep your favorites in the running with weekly voting on Tuesdays until our top picks for each prize are announced on September 29! 


Yeah, I know. This picture doesn't show the Nobel Prize. It's the medal that top presenters will earn this October in Sigma Xi's Student Research Conference. Close enough, right?

Contest Schedule

July 24–August 11: Send in your nominations

August 25: Nominees announced; Sweet 16 voting begins.

September 1: Sweet 16 voting ends, winners announced. Elite 8 voting begins. 

September 8: Elite 8 voting ends, winners announced. Final 4 voting begins. 

September 15: Final 4 voting ends, winners announced. Semi Finals voting begins. 

September 22: Semi Finals voting ends, winners announced. Finals voting begins. 

September 29: Sigma Xi’s October Madness Picks announced.

October 5–12: Official Nobel Prize Winners named

October 13: Winners announced from the raffle for membership in the Sigma Xi Affiliate Circle or a free year of membership dues.

* Affiliate Circle status does not qualify one for full membership in Sigma Xi's nomination-based honor society. 

** If Sigma Xi receives less (or more) than 16 nominations for any of the prizes, then its staff will select the nominees who are put on the bracket. That’s not as fun. Please nominate anyone you feel is worthy of the prize. If you need some inspiration, potential candidates might be found here, here, here, or here. October Madness is not affiliated with the Nobel Prize.

Heather Thorstensen is the manager of communications for Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.

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