USC Professor Gets Nobel Prize in Chemistry - KMSP-TV

USC Professor Gets Nobel Prize in Chemistry

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A USC professor is one of three scholars to get this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry.  Warshel shares this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Martin Karplus, a Harvard professor with U.S. and Austrian citizenship who received his doctorate from Caltech and also teaches at University of Strasbourg in France, and Michael Levitt, a British and Israeli citizen who teaches at Stanford. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said their research in the 1970s has helped scientists develop programs that unveil chemical processes.


Arieh Warshel comes off as a very mild mannered and very humble man. If I got a call at 4am telling me I just won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry I'd be climbing the walls telling everyone that would listen that I just won the top prize I could win for my career. When I spoke with him, Warshel, (who sounded like he HAPPILY took it in stride) admitted it was probably a little like winning an Oscar, but USC President Max Nikias told me "it's better than that!"
Warshel's wife Tami says winning this prize was a very emotional thing for the family. It was also a proud moment for USC and the State of Israel. USC, because as Nikias points out, it speaks to the kind of faculty the school has.
 The State of Israel,  because Warshel came to USC from Israel. He even got calls today from the President and Prime Minister. Bejamin Netanyahu, he says, told him he probably wouldn't understand what Warshel had accomplished. Warshel said "I'll tell you in one minute." After that "one minute" explanation Nentanyahu thought Warshel had done such a good job he said he was going to force all his ministers to tell him things in one minute.

So what did he do to win the prize? Proteins are the molecules that do the work of the body. Much work as been done to understand the structure, but not much on determining how they work.
Traditionally people tried to understand with experiments, but with such a complicated system using computers, he says, is a better way to understand how atoms are pushed around. So, he and his team created a computer program to understand the movement and how these things happen in the body.

Warshel is one very happy man, though, he's not exactly bouncing off the walls! :)
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