Here is a photo of one of the Golem computers on which Arieh Warshel and Michael Levitt — this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners, along with Martin Karplus — did much of their original work.


Golem computer

Golem computer

My dad was a computer programmer at that time, so I have some idea of what their work must have entailed. To this science writer, that makes their feat nothing short of amazing.

The Golem, by the way, which is preserved in the basement of the Weizmann Institute’s mathematics building, was not the first computer at the Institute. The WEIZAC (below) was built at the Institute in the 1950’s, at a cost of one fifth of the Institute’s budget.




  1. #1 AJ
    October 11, 2013

    Did they at least have a card reader?

    • #2 Weizmann Science Writer
      October 12, 2013

      I’m pretty sure that by the end of the 1960s they would have been using printouts on “computer paper” — those long perforated stacks with the holes on the edges.

  2. […] a sense, our souls as well, by pumping punchcards into what was then among the world’s most potent computers (dubbed Golem in memory of a powerful, soulless giant of medieval Jewish folklore) at […]

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