Arieh Warshel, a distinguished professor of chemistry at the University of Southern California, has just earned a new title: Nobel laureate.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for 2013 on Oct. 9 to Warshel and two colleagues for developing the key principles behind computer simulations that are now indispensable in the study of chemical reactions.
More specifically, Warshel’s crucial achievement was to marry classical and quantum mechanics in order to model both the relatively large-scale movements of atoms in a molecule, and the minute dances of the free electrons that shuttle between atoms and spark many chemical reactions.
Sound complicated? That’s because it is.