Chemical Heritage Foundation Presents Ahmed Zewail with Othmer Gold Medal

January 27, 2009

The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) has named Ahmed Zewail to receive the 2009 Othmer Gold Medal. The award ceremony and the annual Othmer Gold Medal luncheon will open the seventh annual Heritage Day on Thursday, 14 May 2009.

"For the past century, the greatest chemists have speculated on reaction mechanisms - just what happens when molecules make and break bonds," says Thomas R. Tritton, president and CEO of CHF. "Ahmed Zewail moved beyond speculation by inventing the laser-based tools that allow chemists to study reactions in real time - small fractions of a trillionth of a second. In addition to creating the field of femtochemistry, he is a tireless advocate for science education for the entire world-working and speaking on every continent."

Zewail received the Nobel Prize in 1999 for showing that it is possible with ultrarapid laser technique to see how atoms in a molecule move during a chemical reaction. Zewail's work helped create the new field of femtochemistry, the study of matter on the femtosecond (10(-15)) second) timescale, which makes it possible to observe atoms in motion and the transition states of chemical transformations.

The primary goal of his research since has been in the development of the field of four-dimensional electron microscopy for space-time visualization of materials and biological functions. Zewail is also devoted to enhancing public awareness of the value of fundamental research and helping populations in developing nations through the promotion of science and technology.

He is the third Egyptian-born recipient of the Nobel prize, and the first to receive a Nobel in science.

Source: Chemical Heritage Foundation