Ahmed H. Zewail
Ahmed Hassan Zewail (Arabic: أحمد زويل) (born February 26, 1946) is an Egyptian chemist, and the winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on femtochemistry. Born in Damanhur (60km south-east of Alexandria) and raised in Disuq, he received his first degrees from the University of Alexandria before moving to the US to complete his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. After some postdoctorate work at UC Berkeley, he was awarded a faculty appointment at Caltech in 1976, where he has remained since. In 1990 he was made the first "Linus Pauling Chair in Chemical Physics".
Zewail's key work has been as the pioneer of femtochemistry - i.e. the study of chemical reactions across femtoseconds. Using a rapid laser technique (consisting of ultrashort laser flashes), the technique allows the description of reactions at the atomic level. It can be viewed as a highly sophisticated form of flash photography.
In 1999, Zewail became the third Egyptian to receive the Nobel Prize, following Anwar Sadat (1978 in Peace) and Naguib Mahfouz (1988 in Literature). Other international awards have included the Wolf Prize in Chemistry (1993) and the Robert A. Welch Award (1997). In 1999 he received Egypt's highest state honour, the Grand Collar of the Nile.