Ahmed H. Zewail

Noble Prize

Ahmed H. Zewail

Date of Birth: Feb. 26, 1946

Place of Birth: Damanhur, Egypt

*still living*


Bachelor and Masters degree~University of Alexandria

PHD~ University of Pennsylvania

Place of work when awarded prize: California Insitute of Technology

Field of Work: Chemical Kinetics and Physical Chemistry

Interesting Facts:

-Issued a postage stamp by the country of Gana in 2002

-Name in Arabic: أحمد حسن زويل

-is a professor of physics

Explanation of Work

-used a femotosecond spectroscopy camera (super fast camera) to observe transition states in chemical reactions

---transition states are different states of molecules in the reaction during the time it takes for the reactants to become products

-the camera triggers the reaction by giving off a strong light pulse and then gives off another light pulse to capture an image

-the image captures a spectrum of light during the reaction, not the actual molecules

-the spectrum of light recorded can be used to identify the transition molecules that form during the reaction

Why did he win?

-allowed scientists to see the physical and chemical properties of transition states of molecules

-his method is used by scientists to identify the steps molecules have to go through during a reaction to get to their end state

-now able to understand, predict, and modify the course of a reaction

-in the future we may be able to manipulate molecules in a reaction

-explains why some reactions happen and others don't

-provided understanding of why reactions are temperature dependent

-has kickstarted a new section of chemistry called 'femtochemistry'

-overall, gave greater understanding of how molecules function during a reaction

Current location: with the moose

Self Portrait

Vacation with me