Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013

  • Author: ChemViews
  • Published Date: 09 October 2013
  • Source / Publisher: NobelPrize.org
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
thumbnail image: Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013


The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013
was awarded to

  • Martin Karplus, Université de Strasbourg, France, and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA,
  • Michael Levitt, Stanford University, Los Angeles, CA, USA,
  • Arieh Warshel, University of Southern California (USC), CA, USA,

"for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems".

In the 1970s, they laid the foundation for the powerful programs that are now used to understand and predict chemical processes. Today, computer models mirroring real life have become crucial for most advances made in chemistry.


Martin Karplus
, born 1930 in Vienna, Austria, obtained a B.A. degree from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, in 1950. He received his Ph.D. in 1953 from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA, for research carried out under the supervision of Linus Pauling. From 1953 until 1955 he worked with Charles Coulson as a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University, UK. Since 1955 he has held positions at the Universities of Illinois, Columbia, and Harvard, all USA. Karplus is currently the Professeur Conventionné at Université de Strasbourg, France, and the Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Martin Karplus is on the advisory boards for Journal of Molecular Recognition and Journal of Computational Chemistry.


Karplus' research is focused on understanding the electronic structure, geometry, and dynamics of molecules of chemical and biological interest.



Michael Levitt
, born 1947 in Pretoria, South Africa, gained his BcS in physics from King's College London, UK, in 1967 and his Ph.D. in Computational Biology from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, UK, in 1972. After working as an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellow with Shneior Lifson, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, he moved back to the UK where he was a Staff Scientist at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, from 1974 until 1979. Since 1987, Levitt is Professor of Structural Biology at Stanford University, CA, USA.

Levitt is best known for his molecular dynamics simulations of DNA and proteins and the development of the first software for this. More recently, he developed approaches to predict macromolecular structures.






Arieh Warshel
, born 1940 in Kibbutz Sde Nahum, Israel, received his B.Sc. degree in Chemistry with Summa Cum Laude from Technion, Haifa, Israel, in 1966. He earned both, a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemical Physics in 1967 and 1969, respectively, with Shneior Lifson, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Warshel did postdoctoral work at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. From 1972 to 1976 he returned to the Weizmann Institute and worked for the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK. In 1976 he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at University of Southern California (USC) where he is Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.


Warshel is best known for his work on computational biochemistry and biophysics, in particular for pioneering computer simulations of the functions of biological systems, and for developing what is known today as Computational Enzymology.


Arieh Warshel has received many awards including the 1993 Annual Award of the International Society of Quantum Biology and Pharmacology, the 2003 Tolman Medal, the 2006 President’s award for computational biology from the ISQBP, and the 2012 RSC Soft Matter and Biophysical Chemistry Award.




Papers by Martin Karplus:


Book Chapters by Martin Karplus:


In February 2010 the Journal of Molecular Recognition published a Special Issue dedicated to Martin Karplus.
The issue focussed on the dynamics of molecular recognition processes, showing strategies how to move from a static model to a dynamic one.

In an introductory article Martin Karplus gives a survey on the importance of looking at the dynamic aspects of dynamic molecular recognition.


The full range of Professor Karplus’ work published by Wiley can be found on Wiley Online Library.



Papers by Michael Levitt:


The full range of Professor Levitt’s work published by Wiley can be found on Wiley Online Library.


Papers by Ariel Warshel:


Book chapters by Ariel Warshel:


The full range of Professor Warshel’ work published by Wiley can be found on Wiley Online Library.

Also of interest:

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