Levitt, Michael

Levitt, 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. Levitt was awarded the 2013 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 Arieh WarshelWarshel, 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.
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, for their development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems. In the 1960s and 70s, the three researchers (Levitt worked with Warshel, who also worked separately with Karplus) began to develop computer simulations to elucidate the mechanisms underlying rapidly occurring complex chemical reactions like combustion and photosynthesis. Their programs combined classical and quantum physics to reduce the computing power needed to track the movement of atoms and describe the breaking and forming of chemical bonds.
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