Professor Ahmed Zewail ForMemRS
Ahmed Zewail was a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who developed a rapid laser technique that allows scientists to study atoms during chemical reactions. An influential voice in science, Ahmed participated in the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a group of leading scientists and engineers who provide recommendations on science, technology, and innovation policy. In the Middle East, Ahmed was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Zewail City of Science and Technology, a project of the Egyptian government.
Ahmed’s technique used ultrashort — femtosecond — laser flashes to enable the control and analysis of transition states in chemical reactions and heralded the new field of femtoscience. By creating new ways to visualise and understand functional behaviour of chemical and biological systems, Ahmed’s work supported improvements in many existing manufacturing processes.
Ahmed won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, at the same time becoming the first Egyptian scientist to win a Nobel Prize in a scientific field. In 2002, he published his autobiography, Voyage through Time: Walks of Life to the Nobel Prize.
Professor Ahmed Zewail ForMemRS died on 2 August 2016.
Interest and expertise
- Chemistry, physical, Chemistry, biological, Chemistry, theoretical
- History of science, Public understanding of science
Lasers, chemical and biological dynamics