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Biography of Ahmed ZEWAIL

Egypt > Science : Ahmed ZEWAIL

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Born on 26/02/1948 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Ahmed Zewail (b. February 26, 1946), is an Egyptian American chemist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1999 for developing a rapid laser technique that enabled scientists to study the action of atoms during chemical reactions.

Ahmed Zewail currently is the Linus Pauling Chair Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology, and Director of the NSF Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (LMS). He is internationally recognized for his efforts in a field he pioneered known as femtochemistry. This technique uses ultrafast lasers to probe chemical reactions as they actually occur in real time.

 Ahmed Zewail was born in February 26, 1946, in Egypt where he grew up, Zewail received both his Bachelor of Science and his master's degrees from Alexandria University Alexandria.

He began his professional career as an undergraduate trainee at Shell Corporation in Alexandria in 1966.

After continued studies in the U.S.A. he graduated for Ph.D. in 1974 at the University of Pennsylvania.

After the completion of his Ph.D., he went to the University of California, Berkeley, as an IBM research fellow. Zewail was appointed to the faculty at Caltech in 1976 at the age of 30 as an assistant professor of chemical physics.

In 1982 he was tenured, as he became a full professor, and in 1990 was honored by the first Linus Pauling Chair at Caltech.

At the age of 52, Zewail won the “Banjamin Franklin” prize after his latest scientific achievements known as the femto_second which is the smallest part of he second, he received the prize at a lavish ceremony attended by some 1,500 scientists, students, officials and figures, including former US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.

In 1999, Dr. Ahmed Zewail, a laser expert was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry and by that he is the first Egyptian to be nominated for this honourable prize.

Dr. Zewail is the first originally Arab Muslim scientist to win such prize since Naguib Mahfouz, who won the literature prize in 1988, and late President Anwar Sadat, who shared the peace prize in 1978. But he is the first to take one of the prestigious awards for science. The Nobel carries an award of nearly one million dollars.

Dr.Zewail currently holds both Egyptian and American Nationality.

He has a family of four children and is married to Dema Zewail, a physician in public health (UCLA). His scientific family over the past 20 years consists of some 150 post-doctoral research fellows, graduate students and visiting associates. He lives in San Marino, California.


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Last update : 08/28/2009

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