Jerome Karle

Jerome Karle

American physicist. He worked on the Manhattan Project before beginning a career at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. There, with Herbert Hauptman , he concentrated his studies on crystalline matter. They were awarded the 1985 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of a mathematical model known as the “direct method.” Devised in the 1950s and 60s, the innovation greatly improved methods for analyzing three-dimensional molecular structures.

Dr. Jerome Karle was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 18, 1918. He was born into a family in which there were generations of artistic people, several of whom had careers in the fine and commercial arts. A career in science was a most remote profession. Nevertheless, at an early age, perhaps eight or nine, he was avidly reading popular accounts of science, for example those of Sir James Jeans, and from that time on, he expected to spend his life in scientific pursuits.
At Michigan, Dr. Karle and his wife, Isabella, were among the first graduate students of Lawrence O. Brockway, Brockway was among the first graduate students of Linus Pauling. Both Dr. Karle and his wife did their thesis work on the molecular structure of gaseous molecules.
Dr. Karle has served as president of the International Union of Crystallography, He has been chairman of the Chemistry Section of the National Academy of Sciences. Some time ago, he was a Professorial Lecturer in the University College of the University of Maryland and a Visiting Professor at the University of Kief in Germany. He has also lectured at many international schools and symposia and has served on a number of international scientific organizations.
Dr. Karle's research has been concerned with diffraction theory and its application to the determination of atomic arrangements of substances in various states of aggregation, gaseous, liquid, amorphous solid, fibrous and crystalline. This research has resulted in new techniques for structure determination and a broad variety of applications. Dr. Isabella Karle has been the pioneer in bridging the gap between the theoretical formula for crystal structure determination and the experimental methodology required to achieve useful applications. She has also collaborated in major advances in the structure determination of molecules in the vapor state.


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