Science and Education

Arieh Warshel

Spearheading the Jewish invasion of Sweden this year was Arieh Warshel, 72, the Israeli-American chemist who shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry with Michael Levitt and Martin Karplus for “the development of multi-scale models for complex chemical systems.”

This translates roughly to creating computer programs that simulate complex chemical processes — mirroring real life, but without the need to use elaborate apparatus.

“We developed how a computer can take the structure of a protein, and can understand how it does exactly what it does — for example, digesting food,” Warshel told the Times of Israel. “You want to understand how it is happening, and then you can use it to design drugs, or in my case, to satisfy your curiosity.”

A professor at the University of Southern California since 1976, Warshel symbolizes the brain-drain that has plagued Israel for years. Born on Kibbutz Sde Nahum, which at the time was in the British Mandate of Palestine, Warshel pursued a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Haifa’s Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and received his master’s degree and a doctorate in chemical physics from the Weizmann Institute. He fought in the 1967 Six Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, rising to the rank of captain in the Israel Defense Forces.

According to those close to him, Warshel left Israel because of a lack of opportunity. “There are lots of clever people in Israel and at that time there was no tenure, so he went on,” Warshel’s brother, Benny Shalev, told Haaretz.

Members of the tribe made an impressive showing in Stockholm this year: Six of the 13 Nobel laureates were Jewish.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.