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Leader in the field of biophysics and computational modeling has died

Klaus Schulten, professor of physics and Beckman faculty member for nearly 25 years, has died after an illness. A memorial service will be held at 10 am Mon, Nov. 7, at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center, 604 E. Armory Ave & 6th Street, Champaign. A reception will follow in the Newman Center.

Published on Oct. 31, 2016

Schulten, who led Beckman’s Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, was a leader in the field of biophysics, conducting seminal work in the area of dynamic computer simulations, illuminating biological processes and structures in ways that weren’t possible before.

Schulten’s goal from his start as an original Beckman researcher was to use mathematics and physics to study the natural world through advanced computation.

“When I was a young man, my goal was to look with mathematical and computational means at the inside of cells, one atom at a time, to decipher how living systems work,” Schulten said. “That is what I strived for and I never deflected from this goal.”

Schulten’s group has created simulations that have provided never-before-seen views of such function as the chemical structure of the HIV capsid and the first-ever simulation of an entire life form, the complete satellite tobacco mosaic virus.

Schulten received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1974. He was Swanlund Professor of Physics and was affiliated with the Department of Chemistry as well as with the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology. Schulten’s professional interests included theoretical physics and theoretical biology. His research focused on the structure and function of supramolecular systems in the living cell, and on the development of non-equilibrium statistical mechanical descriptions and efficient computing tools for structural biology.

Visit the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics site for more on Schulten's work:

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