Call for Nominations: October Madness 2016

by Heather Thorstensen | Aug 22, 2016

Heather Thorstensen

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society led the first October Madness, a Nobel Prize prediction contest, last year. We had a blast (and even got a mention in Nature) as we crowdsourced nominations and ran weekly voting, moving researchers forward on our sports-style brackets until we reached our final predictions.

Now we are back for the second year and looking for your nominations as we wait for the official Nobel Prize winner announcements in October. It's another chance to honor extraordinary research accomplishments. 

Nominations will be accepted through August 28, 2016.
We are calling for 16 nominations each for the:

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

How to Nominate and Vote

Send in your picks by 11:59 p.m. PDT on August 28 by using our nomination form or email me at

Please include:

  • Your nominee's name (you can submit as many nominations as you would like and you can submit a group of researchers who worked on a project together)
  • Which Nobel Prize you think this person, or group, should win
  • The reason why you think the person or group should win (such as, "for the discovery of XYZ")
  • The institution of employment or affiliation for your nominee(s)
  • Your name and email address

On August 30, we will announce the October Madness nominees* and open the four brackets for public voting on Sigma Xi's social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Remember to use our hashtag, #OctoberMadness. We will also have links to the ballots on Sigma Xi's blog, Keyed In. Vote each week on Tuesdays (except for Labor Day week, when voting will be held on September 7) until your top picks are announced on September 27! 

You Could Win

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 a free year of membership in 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 membership dues paid by Sigma Xi for 2016–17. Those who already renewed their membership will have their dues paid for 2017–18. We will select one winner per Nobel Prize category for a total of four winners. 

Contest Schedule

August 22–August 28: Send in your nominations

August 30: Nominees announced; Sweet 16 voting begins and runs through 11:59 p.m PDT on September 5.

September 7: Sweet 16 winners announced; Elite 8 voting begins and runs through 11:59 p.m PDT on September 11. 

September 13: Elite 8 winners announced; Final 4 (Semifinals) voting begins and runs through 11:59 p.m. PDT on September 18. 

September 20: Final 4 winners announced; Finals voting begins and runs through 11:59 p.m. PDT on September 25. 

September 27: Announcement of 2016 October Madness Winners. 

October 3–10: Official Nobel Prize Winners named

October 11: Winners announced from the raffle for a year in the Sigma Xi Affiliate Circle or a free year of Sigma Xi membership dues. 

*If Sigma Xi receives less (or more) than 16 nominations per prize, then its staff will select the nominees who are put on the bracket. But we prefer to use your nominations! Please nominate anyone you feel is worthy of the prize. Potential candidates might be found here, here, here, or here. October Madness is not affiliated with the Nobel Prize.

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

Example of last year's final bracket for Physiology or Medicine

Champions PhysiologyMed
See other 2015 brackets

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