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Nobel prize for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2013 to

Martin Karplus, Université de Strasbourg, France and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

Michael Levitt, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA

Arieh Warshel, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

 

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

 

The computer — your Virgil in the world of atoms

Chemists used to create models of molecules using plastic balls and sticks. Today, the modelling is carried out in computers. In the 1970s, Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel 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.

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.

Today the computer is just as important a tool for chemists as the test tube. Simulations are so realistic that they predict the outcome of traditional experiments.

 

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France Mentré's picture
France Mentré
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