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October 10, 2013
Karplus, Levitt, Warshel Win 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded jointly to Martin Karplus (University of Strasbourg and Harvard University), Michael Levitt (Stanford University), and Arieh Warshel (University of Southern California) for their work in the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems. Their pioneering efforts in the 1970s were a massive leap forward in the field of computational chemistry, as they figured out ways to combine classical Newtonian physics with quantum physics in simulating complex chemical reactions. The detailed nanosecond processes of electron exchange between atoms, describable only through quantum theories, could finally be combined with larger-scale macromolecular reaction environments, best modeled by classical methods. The combination of these two approaches paved the way for increasingly accurate and realistic simulations of all types of chemical transformation — from drug–target interactions to solid-state catalysis — without requiring inconceivable amounts of computing power and time. Read more about Karplus, Levitt and Warshel, along with 2013 Laureates in other fields at the Nobel Prize website.