A method is presented that allows the calculation of the lifetimes of tryptophan residues on the basis of spectral and structural data. It is applied to two different proteins. The calcium binding protein from the sarcoplasm of the muscles of the: sand worm Nereis diversicolor (NSCP) changes its conformation upon binding of Ca2+ or Mg2+ NSCP contains three tryptophan residues at position 4, 57, and 170, respectively. The fluorescence lifetimes of W57 are investigated in a mutant in which W4 and W170 have been replaced. The time resolved fluorescence properties of W57 are linked to its different microconformations, which were determined by a molecular dynamics simulation map. Together with the determination of the radiative rate constant from the wavelength of maximum intensity of the decay associated spectra, it was possible to determine an exponential relation between the nonradiative rare constant and the distance between the indole CE3 atom and the carbonyl carbon of the peptide bond reflecting a mechanism of electron transfer as the main determinant of the value for the nonradiative rate constant. This result allows the calculation of the fluorescence lifetimes from the protein structure and the spectra. This method was further tested for the tryptophan of Pin-ras p21 (W32) and for W43 of the Tet repressor, which resulted in acceptable values for the predicted lifetimes.