Warshel, Arieh

Warshel, Arieh,

1940–, Israeli-American chemist, b. Kibbutz Sde Nahum (in what is now Israel), Ph.D. Weizmann Institute, 1969. He has been a professor at the Univ. of Southern California since 1976. In 2013 Warshel received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, jointly with Martin KarplusKarplus, Martin,
1930–, Austrian-American theoretical chemist, b. Vienna, Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 1953. He has been a professor at Harvard since 1967, studying the electronic structure, geometry, and dynamics of molecules.
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 and Michael LevittLevitt, Michael,
1947–, British-Israeli-American biophysicist, b. South Africa, Ph.D. Cambridge, 1971. Levitt was a faculty member at Cambridge from 1974 to 1979 and at the Weizmann Institute in Israel from 1979 to 1987, when he became a professor at Stanford.
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, for developing multiscale models for complex chemical systems. In the 1960s and 70s, the three researchers (Warshel worked at different times with Levitt and Karplus) developed computer simulations to provide a window into rapidly occurring complex chemical reactions like combustion and photosynthesis. Using classical laws of physics to track the movement of atoms and quantum physics to describe how chemical bonds break and form, their programs were ground-breaking in an era when plastic balls and sticks were being used to create models of molecules.