Skip to main content

Two AAAS Members Win 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Congratulations to AAAS members Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel who, with Martin Karplus, were awarded this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry "for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems." Levitt is a cancer researcher at Stanford University, Warshel is a professor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and Karplus is a professor (emeritus) of chemistry at Harvard University. 

Their award-winning research in the 1970s, "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," according to a press release by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which gives out the Nobel Prizes.

"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," states the Nobel Assembly. "For instance, in simulations of how a drug couples to its target protein in the body, the computer performs quantum theoretical calculations on those atoms in the target protein that interact with the drug. The rest of the large protein is simulated using less demanding classical physics."

Levitt is currently the Vivian K. Cahill Professor in Cancer Research, Stanford University School of Medicine. Warshel is currently Distinguished Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Learn more about their award-winning research on Science Now.