Professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. Back in the 1970's he pioneered techniques in femtosecond (that's 1 quadrillionth of a second!!) molecular spectroscopy. He has published avidly in this field since then. Using this technology, he has been able to directly probe the quantum nature of the chemical bond. For his amazing contributions in this field, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1999.

Dr. Ahmed Zewail was born February 26, 1946, in the city of Damanhur (City of Horus) located in Egypt. Zewail has two biological daughters, Maha and Amani, who are both chemistry students following their father's footsteps. Plus two young step sons, Nabeel and Hani. He married Dema, after meeting her in March 1989 during his stay in Saudi Arabia to recieve King Faisal international prize in science.

Zewail spent his childhood growing in Disuq, known for its mosque Sidi Ibrahim. Disuq is on the rosetta (Rashiydiah) area of the Nile, where the Rosetta stone was discovered. Alexandria, an ancient learning center and now home to the modern Alexandria library is located 60 km away from his home town. Zewail as a boy had a passion towards physics, chemistry and math. He disliked social sciences because of its memorization nature in his days.

After graduating from high school at age 18, in 1958, he applied to several Universities in Egypt through the Central Bureau (Maktab Al Tansiq). The job of the Central Bureau back then was to assign students into universities based on their grades. He was admitted to Alexandria University. After getting high grades in his chemistry courses, at age 21, Zewail became a Mu'aid (demonstrator), which paved the way for a Masters and then a Ph.D. degree. In 8 months time he received his Masters degree. He then followed the recommendation of his academic advisors to obtain his Ph.D. from the United Sates. After several correspondence with several American Universities, he chose the University of Pennsylvania. While attending the University of Pennsylvania, Zewail studied physics courses under Nobel Laureate, Bob Schrieffer.

Since his stay at Caltech in 1976, he recieved many awards and honors from all over the world for his pioneering work on molecular spectroscopy by femtosecond precession. Among the awards and honors are:

Special Honors

1989: King Faisal International Prize in Science.
1990: First Linus Pauling Chair, Caltech.
1993: Wolf Prize in Chemistry.
1995: Order of Merit, first class (Sciences & Arts), from President Mubarak.
1997: Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry.
1998: Benjamin Franklin Medal, Franklin Institute, USA.
1999: Egypt Postage Stamps, with Portrait (1998); the Fourth Pyramid (1999).
1999: Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
1999: Grand Collar of the Nile, Highest State Honor, conferred by President Mubarak.

Prizes and Awards

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1978-1982).
Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1979-1985).
Alexander von Humboldt Award for Senior United States Scientists (1983).
National Science Foundation Award for especially creative research (1984; 1988; 1993).
Buck-Whitney Medal, American Chemical Society (1985).
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (1987).
Harrison Howe Award, American Chemical Society (1989).
Carl Zeiss International Award, Germany (1992).
Earle K. Plyler Prize, American Physical Society (1993).
Medal of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Holland (1993).
Bonner Chemiepreis, Germany (1994).
Herbert P. Broida Prize, American Physical Society (1995).
Leonardo Da Vinci Award of Excellence, France (1995).
Collége de France Medal, France (1995).
Peter Debye Award, American Chemical Society (1996).
National Academy of Sciences Award, Chemical Sciences, USA (1996).
J.G. Kirkwood Medal, Yale University (1996).
Peking University Medal, PU President, Beijing, China (1996).
Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award (1997).
First E.B. Wilson Award, American Chemical Society (1997).
Linus Pauling Medal Award (1997).
Richard C. Tolman Medal Award (1998).
William H. Nichols Medal Award (1998).
Paul Karrer Gold Medal, University of Zürich, Switzerland (1998).
E.O. Lawrence Award, U.S. Government (1998).
Merski Award, University of Nebraska (1999).
Röntgen Prize, (100th Anniversary of the Discovery of X-rays), Germany (1999).

Academies and Societies

American Physical Society, Fellow (elected 1982).
National Academy of Sciences, USA (elected 1989).
Third World Academy of Sciences, Italy (elected 1989).
Sigma Xi Society, USA (elected 1992).
American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 1993).
Académie Européenne des Sciences, des Arts et des Lettres, France (elected 1994).
American Philosophical Society (elected 1998).
Pontifical Academy of Sciences (elected 1999).
American Academy of Achievement (elected 1999).
Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters (elected 2000)

Honorary Degrees

Oxford University, UK (1991): M.A.,h.c.
American University, Cairo, Egypt (1993): D.Sc.,h.c.
Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium (1997): D.Sc.,h.c.
University of Pennsylvania, USA (1997): D.Sc.,h.c.
Université de Lausanne, Switzerland (1997): D.Sc.,h.c.
Swinburne University, Australia (1999): D.U.,h.c.
Arab Academy for Science & Technology, Egypt (1999): H.D.A.Sc.
Alexandria University, Egypt (1999): H.D.Sc.
University of New Brunswick, Canada (2000): Doctoris in Scientia, D.Sc.,h.c.
Universita di Roma "La Sapienza", Italy (2000): D.Sc.,h.c.
Université de Liège, Belgium (2000): Doctor honoris causa, D.,h.c.


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