Ahmed H. Zewail (1946 – 2016)

Ahmed H. Zewail (1946 – 2016)

Author: ChemViews (Photo: Ⓒ Angewandte Chemie)

Ahmed H. Zewail, Linus Pauling Chair Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for Physical Biology at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, USA, has passed away on August 2, 2016.

Professor Zewail pioneered the use of femtosecond spectroscopy. The method uses ultrashort laser pulses and allows the detailed study of chemical reactions and their transition states. For this breakthrough, he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1999.

Ahmed H. Zewail studied chemistry at Alexandria University, Egypt, where he finished his B.Sc. in 1967 and his M.S. in 1969. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, in 1974. After two years as an IBM Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, Zewail joined Caltech as Assistant Professor of Chemical Physics in 1976. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1978 and to Full Professor in 1982. He was named Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Physics in 1990 and Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics in 1995. Professor Zewail was the Director of the National Science Foundation’s Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (LMS), Pasadena, CA, USA, from 1996 to 2007 and had been Director of the Center for Physical Biology at Caltech since 1995.

In addition to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Professor Zewail has received the Wolf Prize in Chemistry from the Wolf Foundation in 1993, the Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry from the Welch Foundation in 1997, the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA, USA, in 1998, the Priestley Medal from the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2011, as well as a large number of honorary doctorates and many other honors. Professor Zewail worked on the Advisory and Editorial Boards of several scientific journals, including Chemical Physics Letters and Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Selected Publications


Also of Interest

  • Priestley Medal Awarded,
    ChemViews Mag. 2011.
    Ahmed H. Zewail, California Institute of Technology, USA, awarded ACS’s highest honor


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