Ahmed Zewail
Name Ahmed Zewail
Born Egypt, 1946
Education B.S. (with honors), Alexandria University
M.S., Alexandria University
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (1974)

Residence California, U.S.A
Affiliation 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 (Caltech).

Honours Include
Robert A. Welch Prize
Wolf Prize
King Faisal Prize
Benjamin Franklin Medal
Peter Debye Award
E.O. Lawrence Award
Grand Collar of the Nile, the highest state honor (Egypt)

Honourary Degrees from
United States
United Kingdom

Elected member of the
National Academy of Sciences
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
the American Philosophical Society
the American Academy of Achievement
the Pontifical Academy of Sciences
the European Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities
and fellow of the American Physical Society

Egyptian born and educated, Dr Ahmed Zewail whose current research is devoted to developments of ultra-fast lasers and electrons for studies of dynamics of complex systems with atomic-scale resolution was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented the £600,000 Nobel Prize awarded to Ahmed Zewail for developing what amounts to a highly sophisticated form of flash photography, in Stockholm on 10th December.

The California Institute of Technology researcher pioneered a laser technique that allows scientists to see, in "slow motion", how atoms and molecules behave in chemical reactions. In a series of groundbreaking experiments in the 1980s, he developed what many have described as the world's fastest camera - a device that provides a laser flash measured in femtoseconds. This is a unit of measurement equal to 0.000000000000001 seconds, which is to a second what a second is to 32 million years. But this is the sort of speed required if chemists want to "freeze" the moment when atoms and molecules come together to form new compounds. This area of physical chemistry is now called femtochemistry.

Announcing the Nobel Prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Ahmed Zewail was being honoured for creating a "revolution" in chemistry. "Scientists the world over are studying processes with femtosecond spectroscopy in gases and in solids, on surfaces and in polymers," it said.

Although much of his research career has been spent in the US, he is well known in Egypt, where postage stamps were issued to honor his contributions to science and humanity.