Luminous Egyptian Icons: The master of Femtochemistry Ahmed Zewail



Thu, 28 Apr 2022 - 12:09 GMT


Thu, 28 Apr 2022 - 12:09 GMT

Egypt's Nobel-winning scientist late Ahmed Zewail - Photo via American Chemical Society

Egypt's Nobel-winning scientist late Ahmed Zewail - Photo via American Chemical Society

CAIRO – 28 April 2022: On February 26, 1946, late Egyptian scientist Ahmed Zewail was born in Beheira's Damanhour City to later become the first Egyptian scientist to win the Nobel Prize in a scientific field.




The scientist, who also held the U.S. citizenship, received his early education in Egypt. He then received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and his postdoctoral (IBM) fellowship at the University of California before joining the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).




Zewail received the Nobel Prize in 1999 for his work in femtochemistry and was labeled the "father of femtochemistry".Femtochemistry is the study of chemical reactions in very short timescales.





Moreover, Zewail developed a very fast laser-imaging system that has the ability to monitor the movement of molecules when they arise and when they are welded in a new time unit, in which the picture is taken in a femtosecond, part of a million billionth of a second. He published more than 350 scientific research papers in specialized scientific journals, such as Science Magazine.





Some of the awards Zewail garnered throughout his career include the King Faisal International Prize, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the Tolman Award, the Othmer Gold Medal and several other awards.






Zewail is also the founder of the non-profit Zewail City of Science and Technology, which aims at the development of scientific research in Egypt under his slogan “Masr Tastati'” (Egypt Can).




Established in 2000, Zewail City of Science and Technology is described as an “independent institution forl earning, research and innovation” on its official website.




Researchers at Zewail City published a number of scientific research papers about topics concerning the Egyptian society, which ranked first in Egypt in scientific research papers despite the short amount of time that has passed since its establishment, according to a press release.




Zewail City of Science and Technology appointed Mostafa el-Sayed as its new chairman on October 3, 2016, who now works with a number of distinguished scientists to keep Zewail’s legacy alive.




The Egyptian American scientist was the Linus Pauling chair professor of chemistry a professor of physics at Caltech, and the director of the Moore Foundation’s Center for Physical Biology at Caltech.




On April 27, 2009, former U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Zewail to take part in the President’s Council of Advisors of the White House. Later in November 2009, Zewail was named the first U.S. Science Envoy to the Middle East.





Only a few years before he died, Zewail revealed that he had cancer, before appearing later to affirm that he could successfully overcome the critical stage of his illness.





However, in August 2, 2016, Sherif Foad, Zewail's media spokesman, said the late scientist died of severe pneumonia that weakened his immune system due to cancer.





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