USC professor wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Dr. Arieh Warshel of the USC David and Dana Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday.

The award recognized Warshel, Martin Karplus of the Université de Strasbourg in France and Harvard University, and Michael Levitt of Stanford University for “the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems,” according to a press release. The three men wrote computer programs that combined quantum mechanics and classical chemistry to understand the makeup of proteins and develop drugs to combat disease.

Warshel has been a professor at USC since 1976.

Warshel and his colleagues have each earned the title of Nobel Laureate and each will receive one third of the Nobel Prize total award of 8 million Swedish kronor, or approximately $1.2 million.

“For over four decades, Professor Warshel’s forward-thinking ideas and his unique ability to combine insights from many fields have continued to expand the capabilities of computational chemistry, transforming computer simulations into a predictive tool for studying biological systems,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said in a statement. “This is the kind of path-breaking work by world- renowned faculty that our academic community nurtures and celebrates.”