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Nope! 8 Rejected Papers That Won the Nobel Prize

The Authorea Team

Nobel prize winning ideas are not always accepted by the community.  By definition, they are paradigm shifting, revolutionary.

Accordingly, many breakthroughs that are in our textbooks today were initially rejected, if not ridiculed, by the scientific community. Howard Temin proposed a reversal of the central dogma, wherein RNA could create DNA.  It was called "ludicrous" and his Nobel "came after a lonely battle to overcome derisive criticism from scientific leaders who refused to believe in his theory that some viruses carry their genetic information in the form of RNA, which is then copied into DNA in infected cell." Similarly, Werner Arber, the scientist who discovered restriction enzymes worked, "in a climate of almost total indifference, notably that of the committees and organizations tasked with allocating funds for research" Jacob 1998.

Here we outline 8 Nobel prize papers that were initially rejected by anonymous pre-publication peer review and ask, "What Nobel ideas are we rejecting and/or delaying today?"

1. Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1997) awarded to Paul Boyer for: Identification of the mechanism for the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)

Rejection: Boyer had been greeted with disbelief when he theorized that the previously mysterious process is the work of a "beautiful little machine" that operates within enzymes on the molecular level. His proposed resolution of a major unsolved problem in biochemistry threatened to "change the paradigm," Boyer remembers, and "the leading journal" in his field -The Journal of Biological Chemistry-declined to publish his work.