Israeli-American Professor Arieh Warshel, a native of Kibbutz Sde Nahum in northern Israel, will share this year's Nobel Prize for chemistry with two other researchers, Martin Karplus and Michael Levitt. The three won the prestigious prize for pioneering the use of computer models that mirror chemical reactions.
In awarding the prize of 8 million krona ($1.25 million), the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement that the trio's work helped in complex processes such as the development of drugs.
"Chemical reactions occur at lightning speed; electrons jump between atomic nuclei, hidden from the prying eyes of scientists," the academy said.
"The Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 2013 have made it possible to map the mysterious ways of chemistry by using computers. Detailed knowledge of chemical processes makes it possible to optimize catalysts, drugs and solar cells.
"The work of Karplus, Levitt and Warshel is ground-breaking in that they managed to make Newton's classical physics work side-by-side with the fundamentally different quantum physics," the academy said. "Previously, chemists had to choose to use either/or."
Karplus, a U.S. and Austrian citizen, researches at the University of Strasbourg and Harvard University. Levitt, a U.S. and British citizen, is at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Warshel, a U.S. and Israel citizen, is a professor at the University of Southern California. Warshel graduated with honors from the Technion in Haifa, going on to earn his MSc and PhD at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. He then completed his postdoctoral work at Harvard University.
Warshel told a news conference in Stockholm by telephone that he was "extremely happy" to be awakened in the middle of the night in Los Angeles to find out he had won the prize, and was looking forward to collecting the award in the Swedish capital in December.
"In short, what we developed is a way which requires computers to look, to take the structure of the protein and then to eventually understand how exactly it does what it does," Warshel said.
Chemistry was the third of this year's Nobel prizes to be awarded. The Nobel prizes, given for achievements in science, literature and peace, were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of businessman and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel.