Posts in nobel prize

October 10th, 2013  |  Filed under News

Your New Nobel Laureate in Chemistry is a Burner

Go figure. The most recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry is a Burner.

Helix thing.

Helix thing.

Congratulations to Michael Levitt, professor of structural biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He was awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work back in the 1970′s ”for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.” According to the Stanford News, “Levitt’s work focuses on theoretical, computer-aided analysis of protein, DNA and RNA molecules responsible for life at its most fundamental level. Delineating the precise molecular structures of biological molecules is a necessary first step in understanding how they work and in designing drugs to alter their function.”

(Admittedly, we only understand this at a barely-survived-10th-grade-chemistry level at best … there was something about cool-looking spirally things.)

Michael and Rina and their sculpture "Unity" at Burning Man 2013. (Photo c/o "Soloride" on Reddit)

Michael and Rina and their sculpture “Unity” at Burning Man 2013. (Photo c/o “Soloride” on Reddit)

It’s notable that the Prize is related to work that the 66-year old Levitt did back when he was just 20 years of age. Most of us likely boast no greater achievement at 20 than moving out of our parents’ house. Or back in, as the case may be. So we’re thinking this guy really had his sh*t together.

But anyway, the reason you care about any of this (if you’re not a die-hard chemist or Nobeliphile, a word we made up) is that Levitt and his wife Rina are Burners. According to the article, “[h]e and his wife together designed a two-dimensional wire sculpture for the 2013 Burning Man festival in Nevada. Rina, the artist, designed the piece, called Unity. Levitt, of course, used a computer to calculate the exact shape and dimensions the single long wire outline should assume.”

And that? Is pretty cool. We love our people.