American scientist, born in New York in 1918, which in 1985 received the Nobel Prize in chemistry shared with Herbert Aaron Hauptman, for his contribution in the development of direct methods for solving crystal structures. His research focused on the theory of diffraction and its application to the determination of the distribution of atoms in various States of aggregation: gases, liquids, amorphous solids, fibers and macromolecules.
He was raised in a family with great artistic sensitivity. His mother played several musical instruments and hoped that Jerome Karle came to become a professional pianist. However, did not like performing in public and also felt very attracted to science from very small.
His education began in the public system of the city of New York, in a demanding environment that allowed the more advanced students to progress at their own pace. In 1933 he/she entered at the City College of New York, where studies were free except for a dollar a year for the library card. The journey from home to University required three hours of metro daily so it finally abandoned the practice of piano. In addition to the compulsory classes he/she took many additional courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. The year following his graduation he/she spent at Harvard University, where he/she made a master's degree in biology (1938).
After a brief interruption, he/she went to Albany to work in the New York State Department of health. At that time the water was beginning to fluorar and he/she developed a procedure to determine the amount of fluoride in the water that eventually became a standard method. During their stay in Albany he/she saved enough money to continue their postgraduate studies, and joined the Department of chemistry at the University of Michigan in 1940. The first day that attended the class of physical chemistry met his wife Isabella Logoski, whom he/she married two years later. Both developed his Ph.d. with Professor Lawrence or Brockway, whose specialty was the investigation of the molecular structure in gaseous phase by electron diffraction. He/She obtained the degree of doctor in 1944, yet his work had ended in the summer of the previous year and had gone to the University of Chicago to work on the Manhattan project. His wife joined the project a few months later.
In 1944, they returned to the University of Michigan, where he/she joined the laboratory for Naval Research and he/she as an instructor in the Chemistry Department. Jerome Karle studied the structure of single-layer of hydrocarbons on metal films and formulated a theory explaining oriented Monolayers of electron diffraction patterns. Later, they moved to work permanently to the laboratory of Naval Research in Washington, which was joined also by Herbert Aaron Hauptman. His work led to the development of direct methods for analyzing crystal structures.
The first applications of the procedure for the structural determination of centrosimetricos crystals occurred in the mid-1950s. At the end of that decade they managed to install an experimental x-ray machine and tried to develop a method that could also serve to crystals not centrosimetricos. They managed it with the method they called symbolic addition procedure. Its first application was published in 1963. At the end of the 1960s, numerous laboratories showed interest in the potential of direct methods in structural determination.
In the 1970s he/she continued his theoretical work in the analysis of crystal structures involving the derivation of the tangent formula for the determination of the phase. He/She also participated in the refinement of macromolecular structures and the determination of the Atomic distribution of amorphous materials. At the end of the decade he/she developed an algebraic theory that could include any number and type of anomalous dispersion for any wavelength.
From 1981 to 1984 he/she was President of the International Union of crystallography. In 1985, he/she became interested in the resolution of non-linear simultaneous equations, determination of the Electron density in crystals and new approaches to the problems of determination of the phase.