|(The Nobels) Chemistry prize winners developed programs to predict chemical processes
Three molecular chemists won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for devising computer simulations that are used to understand and predict chemical processes, the jury said.
Martin Karplus, a US-Austrian citizen, Michael Levitt, a US-British citizen, and Arieh Warshel of the US and Israel, were honored “for the development of multi scale models for complex chemical systems,'' the jury said.
(pictured, images of Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel displayed on a screen in Stockholm)
Their work has helped develop computer models mirroring real life, “which have become crucial for most advances made in chemistry today.''
As a result, powerful computer programs can be used to predict complex chemical processes, providing pharmaceutical engineers and manufacturing chemists with a fast-track way to solve problems, AFP reports.
These processes can take place in a fraction of a millisecond, defeating conventional algorithms that try to map them step by step.
The contribution of the three was to combine classical physics with quantum physics in their model.
This hugely boosts the number of permutations for calculation, although it also requires enormous computer power to crunch the data.
“The strength of the methods that Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel have developed is that they are universal,'' the Nobel panel said.
“They can be used to study all kinds of chemistry; from the molecules of life to industrial chemical processes. Scientists can optimize solar cells, catalysts in motor vehicles or even drugs, to take but a few examples.''
Karplus, 83, Levitt, 66 and Warshel, 72, all work at US universities.