Arieh Warshel

Arieh Warshel

Warshel near Geneva, Switzerland, May 2009
Born (1940-11-20) November 20, 1940
Kibbutz Sde Nahum, British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel)[1]
Nationality Israeli, American[1]
Fields Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biophysics
Alma mater
Known for Computer simulation, Computational enzymology, electrostatics, enzyme catalysis
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2013)[1]
Warshel at press conference at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, December 2013

Arieh Warshel (Hebrew: אריה ורשל; born November 20, 1940) is an Israeli-American biochemist and biophysicist. He is a pioneer in computational studies on functional properties of biological molecules. Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and holds the Dana and David Dornsife Chair in Chemistry at the University of Southern California. He received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Michael Levitt and Martin Karplus for "the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems".[1][2][3][4][5][6]


Born in 1940 in kibbutz Sde Nahum, Mandatory Palestine. Served in the Israeli Armored Corps. After serving the Israeli Army (final rank Captain), Warshel attended the Technion, Haifa, where he received his BSc degree in Chemistry, Summa Cum Laude, in 1966. Subsequently, he earned both MSc and PhD degrees in Chemical Physics (in 1967 and 1969, respectively), with Shneior Lifson, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. After his PhD, he did postdoctoral work at Harvard University until 1972, and from 1972 to 1976 he returned to the Weizmann Institute and worked for the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England. In 1976 he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at USC. He was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

As a soldier, he fought in both the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, attaining the rank of captain in the IDF.[7]


Warshel is known for his work on computational biochemistry and biophysics, in particular for pioneering computer simulations of the functions of biological systems, and for developing what is known today as Computational Enzymology.[8] He is a member of many scientific organisations, most importantly:


Major research achievements

Arieh Warshel made major contributions in introducing computational methods for structure function correlation of biological molecules, pioneering and co-pioneering programs, methods and key concepts for detailed computational studies of functional properties of biological molecules using Cartesian-based force field programs,[21][22] the combined Quantum Chemistry/Molecular mechanics (i.e., QM/MM) method for simulating enzymatic reactions,[23] the first molecular dynamics simulation of a biological process,[24][25] microscopic electrostatic models for proteins,[26] free energy perturbation in proteins[27] and other key advances. It was for the development of these methods that Warshel shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013" (Press release). Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. October 9, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  2. Van Noorden, Richard (2013). "Modellers react to chemistry award: Nobel Prize proves that theorists can measure up to experimenters". Nature. 502 (7471): 280. doi:10.1038/502280a.
  3. Van Noorden, R. (2013). "Computer modellers secure chemistry Nobels". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2013.13903.
  4. Hodak, Hélène (2014). "The Nobel Prize in chemistry 2013 for the development of multiscale models of complex chemical systems: A tribute to Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel". Journal of Molecular Biology. 426 (1): 1–3. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2013.10.037. PMID 24184197.
  5. Fersht, A. R. (2013). "Profile of Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel, 2013 nobel laureates in chemistry". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110 (49): 19656–7. doi:10.1073/pnas.1320569110. PMC 3856823Freely accessible. PMID 24277833.
  6. Chang, Kenneth (October 9, 2013). "3 Researchers Win Nobel Prize in Chemistry". New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  7. 3 Jewish professors — two of them Israeli — share 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry By Gavriel Fiske, October 9, 2013, Times of Israel
  8. 1 2 "Soft Matter and Biophysical Chemistry Award 2012 Winner". Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  9. "Arieh Warshel Elected to the National Academy of Sciences > News > USC Dornsife". Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  10. "Arieh Warshel Elected to Royal Society of Chemistry > News > USC Dornsife". Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  11. "Fellow of the Biophysical Society Award". Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  12. "AAAS Members Elected as Fellows". November 30, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  13. "Members". Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  14. "Three new honorary doctors in Science and Technology - Uppsala University, Sweden". Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  15. "ISQBP People". Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  16. "Tolman Award". Scalacs. September 5, 1948. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  19. "2014 Society Awardees".
  20. "Gold Medal for Levitt and Warshel". ChemViews. January 27, 2014.
  21. Lifson S, Warshel A. (1968). "A Consistent Force Field for Calculation on Conformations, Vibrational Spectra and Enthalpies of Cycloalkanes and n-Alkane Molecules". J. Phys. Chem. 49 (11): 5116. doi:10.1063/1.1670007.
  22. Warshel A, Lifson S. (1970). "Consistent Force Field Calculations. II. Crystal Structure, Sublimation Energies, Molecular and Lattice Vibrations, Molecular Conformations and Enthalpies of Alkanes". J. Chem. Phys. 53 (2): 582. doi:10.1063/1.1674031.
  23. Warshel A, Levitt M (1976). "Theoretical Studies of Enzymatic Reactions: Dielectric Electrostatic and Steric Stabilization of the Carbonium Ion in the Reaction of Lysozyme". J. Mol. Biol. 103 (2): 227–249. doi:10.1016/0022-2836(76)90311-9. PMID 985660.
  24. Warshel A. (1976). "Bicycle-pedal Model for the First Step in the Vision Process". Nature. 260 (5553): 679–683. doi:10.1038/260679a0. PMID 1264239.
  25. Warshel A. (2002). "Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Biological Reactions". Acc. Chem. Res. 35 (6): 385–395. doi:10.1021/ar010033z. PMID 12069623.
  26. Warshel A., Russel T. (1984). "Calculations of electrostatic interactions in biological systems and in solutions". Q.Rev.Biophys. 17: 283–421. doi:10.1017/s0033583500005333.
  27. Warshel A (1984). "Simulating the Energetics and Dynamics of Enzymatic Reactions". Pontificiae Academiae Scientiarum Scripta Varia. 55: 60.

External links

Preceded by
Brian Kobilka
Robert Lefkowitz
Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate
With: Martin Karplus
Michael Levitt
Most recent
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