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Ahmed Zewail

Ahmed Zewail is presently the Linus Pauling Chair Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics, and the Director of the NSF Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (LMS) at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, U.S.A.

Professor Zewail was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering developments in the field of femtoscience, making it possible to observe the movement of the individual atoms in a femtosecond, a split second that is a millionth of a billionth of a second. Such a development—which literally changed our view of the dynamics of matter—holds great promise in the areas of technology and life sciences. Currently his research interests include the biological sciences, the complexity of molecular function and the new development of ultrafast diffraction for the imaging of transient structures in space and time with atomic-scale resolution.

Ahmed Zewail receiving the Nobel Prize from His Majesty the King at the Stockholm Concert Hall on December 10, 1999

Ahmed Zewail is presently the Linus Pauling Chair Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics, and the Director of the NSF Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (LMS) at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, U.S.A.

Professor Zewail was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering developments in the field of femtoscience, making it possible to observe the movement of the individual atoms in a femtosecond, a split second that is a millionth of a billionth of a second. Such a development—which literally changed our view of the dynamics of matter—holds great promise in the areas of technology and life sciences. Currently his research interests include the biological sciences, the complexity of molecular function and the new development of ultrafast diffraction for the imaging of transient structures in space and time with atomic-scale resolution.

Professor Zewail was educated in Egypt, received his B.S. (with first class honors) and M.S. from Alexandria University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. His honors include more than 100 Prizes and Awards, Orders of Merit, and Orders of States from around the world. These include the Robert A. Welch Prize, Wolf Prize, King Faisal Prize, Benjamin Franklin Medal, Peter Debye Award, and the E. O. Lawrence Award. From Egypt he received the Order of the Grand Collar of the Nile, the highest state honor, and postage stamps were issued to honor his contributions to science and humanity.

He holds honorary degrees in the sciences, arts, philosophy, law and medicine from universities and institutions around the world including the U.S.A., England, Switzerland, Egypt, Belgium, Australia, Canada, India, Italy, Scotland, Korea, Sweden and France. He is an elected member of national and international academies and societies, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Achievement, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the European Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, the Royal Society of London, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is on the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors of national and international foundations and universities, and holds the Honorary Chair at the United Nations University.

Professor Zewail is renowned for his public lectures and writings encompassing science and technology, education and world affairs, and for his tireless efforts to help the population of the have-nots. In his recent biography Voyage through Time—Walks of Life to the Nobel Prize, he gives an exposé of his life and work until the receipt of the Nobel Prize, and he suggests a concrete course of action for the world of the have-nots and for a new vision of world order.

Ahmed Zewail is the father of four children and lives in California.


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