Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel have been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their groundbreaking work on computer modeling that complements traditional test tube experiments in solving mysteries of physical science.
Or to put the prize winners' work into more scientific terms, they are being recognised: "for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems."
According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the chemists work in the 1970s laid the foundation for powerful software programs used today that enable scientists to combine classical and quantum physics while exploring everything from drug interactions to environmental studies. Here's a layman's explanation of the researchers' work, via the Nobel organisation.
In announcing the award, Professor Staffan Normark, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said that "this year's prize is about taking the chemical experiment to cyberspace" (well before cyberspace became a common term).
The prize winners hail from the Universite de Strasbourg, France and Harvard University (Karplus), Stanford University of Medicine (Levitt) and the University of Southern California (Warshel).
The Nobel Prize in Computing announcement on Wednesday followed Tuesday's announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics, which recognised the work of Francois Englert and Peter Higgs that led to the recent discovery of the Higgs boson.