The two Israeli scientists and their Jewish American colleague who were named as winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry are set to receive their awards at the Stockholm City Hall on Tuesday. The Israeli laureates join 10 other Israeli Nobel Prize winners.
Professor Arieh Warshel of the University of Southern California and Professor Michael Levitt of Stanford University, who worked together at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, were set to receive the award along with Professor Martin Karplus of Harvard University and the University of Strasbourg.
Karplus, Levitt and Warshel developed computerized models of complex chemical systems and led to the foundation of powerful software used to understand and predict chemical processes. The models that earned the trio the prestigious prize allowed computer scientists to uncover chemical processes such as the activity of catalytic converters, photosynthesis and more. They allowed classical physics to work alongside the completely different quantum physics.
Levitt, born in Pretoria, South Africa, moved to Israel in 1983 at the age of 35. He worked at the Weizmann Institute for a few years before moving to the U.S. to work at Stanford University. Two of his three sons are researchers: Reuven Levitt finished his master's degree in biology at the Weizmann Institute, and his younger brother Adam was a researcher in Professor Ada Yonath's laboratory, also at the Weizmann Institute.
Warshel finished his undergraduate degree at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in 1966, and studied for his master's degree at the Weizmann Institute the following year, completing his doctorate there in 1969. Levitt also spent several years as a faculty member at the Weizmann Institute and today is a visiting researcher there. Karplus too spent a sabbatical year at Weizmann, when the three scientists developed the model.
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, who is presently in Stockholm to learn about Sweden's high-speed Internet technology, participated in a reception for the three Nobel Prize winners held at the city's Jewish community center on Monday, and will also be present for Tuesday's city hall ceremony.
"I am excited and proud to stand here as an Israeli citizen and as a minister of the Israeli government and to once again see Israeli researchers winning the most prestigious prize for their accomplishments and discoveries for the human race," Erdan said on Monday.
"Your accomplishment brings to light the power, ability and excellence that lie in the world of Israeli scientists and Israeli research institutions, and in the Weizmann Institute, which was a significant place for you in your research endeavors."