Burner Artist Wins Nobel Prize

Burners sure are competent and amazing people. One of them has just been awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, for work he did as a 20-year old undergrad in the 70’s on using computers to simulate chemical reactions. He’s now a Stanford professor.

From the Reno Gazette Journal:

Three U.S.-based scientists, including one credited with co-designing a sculpture for Burning Man, won a Nobel Prize on Wednesday for developing a powerful new way to do chemistry on a computer.

The prize honored research done in the 1970s by Michael Levitt, Martin Karplus, and Arieh Warshel.

The three pioneered highly sophisticated computer simulations of complex chemical processes, giving researchers tools they are now using for a wide variety of tasks, such as designing new drugs and solar cells.

Michael LevittWith his wife Rina, Levitt designed a two-dimensional wire sculpture for the 2013 Burning Man festival, according to a story Wednesday by Stanford University, where he is a professor. “Rina, the artist, designed the piece, called Unity,” the story by Krista Conger. “Levitt, of course, used a computer to calculate the exact shape and dimensions the single long wire outline should assume.”

Levitt, 66, was born in South Africa and is a British, U.S., and Israeli citizen.

Levitt told the Associated Press the award recognized him for work he did when he was 20, before he even had his Ph.D.

“It was just me being in the right place at the right time and maybe having a few good ideas,” he said by telephone from his home in California. He joked that the biggest immediate impact of the prize would be his need for dance lessons before appearing at the Nobel banquet.

“When you go to Stockholm, you have to do ballroom dancing,” Levitt said. “This is the big problem I have right now.”

Get your groove on, Burner Dr Levitt. Forget the ballroom dancing and listen to some Swedish House Mafia instead. The lovely young ladies of Scandinavia will dig those angel wings, maybe even more than your Nobel Prize. Congratulations.

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