Emory Report
March 6, 2006
Volume 58, Number 22


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March 6 , 2006
April symposium to feature Emerson Center award winner

BY alfred charles

A distinguished Harvard University faculty member has been named this year’s recipient of the Emerson Center Lectureship Award.

Martin Karplus, professor emeritus in the chemistry department at the Ivy League school and a professor at Universite Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, will accept the award and give the keynote address next month during a daylong seminar devoted to computational science.

The symposium, “Computational and Mathematical Modeling in Large Systems: From Proteins to Cells,” will feature faculty members from Emory, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, all of whom are set to lead a series of lectures during the event. It is scheduled to be held April 3 in room E208 in the University’s Math and Science Center.

Organizers said more than 100 people are expected to attend the event, including participants from Georgia Tech, University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University as well as from schools in Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina.

“This is a huge event for the Emerson Center as well as Emory,” said Jamal Musaev, the Emerson Center’s lectureship coordinator.

One of the principle highlights of the event is the award ceremony for the Emerson Center Lectureship. The honor was established in 2003 to pay tribute to the achievements of researchers who study computational science.

Last year’s winner was George Oster, a professor on the Berkeley campus of the University of California.
A six-member panel of Emory faculty members served as the selection committee for the award. Karplus, this year’s winner, is an accomplished scholar.

His studies are primarily devoted to research about the complexities of molecules. Karplus has won acclaim for his creation of a formula, known as the Karplus equation, used in the study of the structure of proteins and conformational analysis of organic molecules.

He is also an author, having written several books and more than 600 articles. He has received the prestigious Theoretical Chemistry Award, handed out by the American Chemical Society, and the Pauling Award.

Karplus was born in Vienna, Austria, and became a U.S. citizen in 1945. He received an undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1950, and obtained his doctorate degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1953. The other scientists scheduled to lead discussions during the symposium include David Lynn, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Chemistry and Biology who will talk about protein self assembly, and Kurt Warncke, associate professor of physics who will discuss the molecular traits of enzymes.

Musaev said the event is important because it serves as an important outreach effort to attract scholars to the University’s graduate programs as well as promoting the research efforts of the Emerson Center.