I first learned about Douglas Prasher three years ago, when an algorithm we’d just developed made an unpredictable prediction: He should have been a recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize.
Instead, the award had been given to three other scientists. Even more surprising was our inability to find Prasher anywhere. He wasn’t on the faculty at any university. We couldn’t locate him at an industrial research lab. In fact, as we started digging for him, we realized that he hadn’t written a research paper in nearly a decade. It was truly puzzling. This fellow, who, according to our algorithm, deserved a Nobel Prize, had seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth.