Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Theoretical chemists win Nobel Prize - combining different approaches into a cohesive methodology

The American Institute of Physics' Inside Science [written by Chris Gorski] does a wonderful job of explaining the significance of the work that led three scientists who collaborated in the United States to share in the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

"The prize goes jointly to Martin Karplus, 83, from the University of Strasbourg, in France, and Harvard University, Michael Levitt, 66, from Stanford University, and Arieh Warshel, 72, from the University of Southern California, 'for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems'."

I also liked Richard Harris' analogy, heard on NPR's Morning Edition, of a "chocolate and peanut butter" combination, to explain how blending quantum mechanics and "ball and stick type models" (i.e., classical mechanics) of chemistry have led to a transformation in our understanding of chemical reactions.

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