Atomic Heritage Foundation

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Jerome Karle

Jerome Karle (1918-2013) was an American chemist and Nobel laureate.

During the war, Jerome Karle and his wife, Isabella Karle, worked on the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago. They both worked on problems related to plutonium chemistry. In 1944, Karle moved to the University of Michigan to execute a project for the United States Naval Research Laboratory. He continued to work at the Naval Research Laboratory at the Washington, D.C. location with his wife until their retirement in 2009.

 

 Scientific Contributions

The Karles worked on X-ray crystallography techniques at the Naval Research Laboratory, starting in 1946. They helped to develop techniques to extract plutonium chloride from a mixture that contained plutonium oxide. More importantly, they also determined the structure of complex biological molecules, including proteins. These discoveries revolutionized drug development because it allowed researchers and scientists to see how drugs interact with proteins in the human body. 

Jerome Karle and his research partner Herbert Hauptman won the 1985 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work using X-ray scattering techniques to determine crystal structures, a technique which was crucial for the development of modern pharmaceuticals. Upon their retirement, the Karles received the Department of the Navy Distinguished Civilian Award for their services.

Jerome Karle's Timeline

  • 1918 Jun 6th Born in New York City.
  • 1938 Earned his master's degree from Harvard University.
  • 1942 Married Isabela Karle.

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