Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013 awarded to Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel

2014-04-05

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The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2013 to Martin Karplus Université de Strasbourg, France and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. Michael Levitt Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA and Arieh Warshel University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Chemists used to create models of molecules using plastic balls and sticks. Today, the modelling is carried out in computers. In the 1970s, Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel laid the foundation for the powerful programs that are used to understand and predict chemical processes. Computer models mirroring real life have become crucial for most advances made in chemistry today.

The work of Karplus, Levitt and Warshel is ground-breaking in that they managed to make Newton’s classical physics work side-by-side with the fundamentally different quantum physics.

Today the computer is just as important a tool for chemists as the test tube. Simulations are so realistic that they predict the outcome of traditional experiments.

About the winners of Nobel Prize in Chemistry: 2013

Martin Karplus, U.S. and Austrian citizen. Born 1930 in Vienna, Austria. Ph.D. 1953 from California Institute of Technology, CA, USA. Professeur Conventionné, Université de Strasbourg, France and Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Michael Levitt, U.S., British and Israeli citizen. Born 1947 in Pretoria, South Africa. Ph.D. 1971 from University of Cambridge, UK. Robert W. and Vivian K. Cahill Professor in Cancer Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

Arieh Warshel, U.S. and Israeli citizen. Born 1940 in Kibbutz Sde-Nahum, Israel. Ph.D. 1969 from Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. Distinguished Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.