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Fellows Directory

Martin Karplus

Professor Martin Karplus ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 2000


Martin Karplus is a Nobel Prize-winning theoretical chemist who combined quantum and classical mechanics to develop a computer-based method to calculate the courses of chemical reactions. He also used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to develop our understanding of protein molecules.

Martin developed a mathematical model for use in protein NMR, now called the Karplus equation, which describes the correlation between the structure of and the interactive forces that exist between proteins. This relationship fuses theoretical chemistry and structural biology, transforming our understanding of protein folding and function, and enabling the design and analysis of new organic and biological molecules.

An exceptional scientist from the outset, his postgraduate supervisor Nobel Laureate, Linus Pauling, described Martin as his “most brilliant student”. Martin shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and has co-authored two key reference books, Atoms and Molecules: An Introduction for Students of Physical Chemistry (1970) and Proteins: A Theoretical Perspective of Dynamics, Structure and Thermodynamics (1988).


  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry

    Jointly with Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.