© The Nobel Foundation
Jerome Karle

American Jewish Recipients of the Nobel Prize


Jerome Karle: Nobel Prize
In Chemistry Recipient-

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Jerome Karle is an American Jewish recipient of the Nobel Prize, which he shared with Herbert A. Hauptman, for their outstanding achievements in the development of direct methods for the determination of crystal structures.

He was born on June 18, 1918, in New York City into a gifted family. His mother, Sadie Helen Garfunkle, was an excellent pianist and organist. His father, Louis Garfunkle, had a brother, who taught for many years at the Art Students’ League in New York City.

Karle was a brilliant student and he graduated Abraham Lincoln High School, in Brooklyn, when he was 16 years old. He graduated City College of New York with a B.S. in Biology, in 1937. He went to Harvard University and received his M.S. Degree in Biology, in 1938. Karle received his Doctorate Degree in Physical Chemistry at the University of Michigan, in 1944.

While he was at the University of Michigan, he met and married Isabella Lugoski, in 1942. She also received her Doctorate in Chemistry, in 1942, and became a renowned chemist and physicist. They had three daughters: Louise (b. 1946), Jean (b. 1950), and Madeleine (b. 1955). Like their parents, the three daughters have become scientists.

Karle worked on the Manhattan Project 1943-1944. He then joined the Naval Research Laboratory, 1944, and is currently still involved. It was at the Naval Research Laboratory that he started to work with Herbert A. Hauptman to study the crystal structures. In 1967, he became the chief scientist for research on the structure of matter.

He was the President of the International Union of Crystallography, 1981-1984. He is a member of the American Physical Society and National Academy of Sciences. He was the Chairman of the National Research Council, 1973-1975.

Jerome Karle has dedicated his life working to find solutions in chemistry for the betterment of humanity.


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