Martin Karplus received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel, for “the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems”. He was born in Vienna, Austria, and moved with his parents and brother to the United States in 1938. He was an undergraduate at Harvard College and went to the California Institute of Technology, where he received his PhD in Chemistry under Linus Pauling in 1953. He spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in Oxford, England, before returning to the USA to join the faculty at the University of Illinois. In 1966 he became Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, where he continues to do research. In 1996, he also became Profeseur Conventionné at the Université Louis Pasteur. He and his wife, Marci, divide their time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Strasbourg, France. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a foreign member of the Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Royal Society of London.
The research of Professor Martin Karplus and his group is directed toward understanding the electronic structure, geometry, and dynamics of molecules of chemical and biological interest. In each study a problem that needs to be solved is isolated and the methods required are developed and applied.