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Ahmed Zewail

  • Egyptian scientist
  • Born February 26, 1946

Ahmed Hassan Zewail (Arabic: أحمد حسن زويل‎, Egyptian Arabic: [ˈæħmæd ˈħæsæn zeˈweːl]; February 26, 1946 – August 2, 2016) was an Egyptian-American scientist, known as the "father of femtochemistry". He was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on femtochemistry and became the first Egyptian to win a Nobel Prize in a scientific field. He was the Linus Pauling Chair Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Physics, and the director of the Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science and Technology at the California Institute of Technology.


In today's world, America's soft power is commonly thought to reside in the global popularity of Hollywood movies, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Starbucks.




Higher education should be based on quality, not quantity; receive merit-based funding; and be free of unnecessary bureaucracy. Not the least of the benefits of educational reform is to foster the pride of achievement at national and international levels.

Higher education should be based on quality, not quantity; receive merit-based funding; and be free of unnecessary bureaucracy. Not the least of the benefits of educational reform is to foster the pride of achievement at national and international levels.




As an instructor at Alexandria University, I did research that was published in international journals. Although I left to pursue a doctorate in the United States, it was not for want of a good life.




Curiosity - the rover and the concept - is what science is all about: the quest to reveal the unknown.




Egypt was the first democracy in the Middle East. Women were unveiled in the 1920s. Egypt is a country of civilization, of culture. It shouldn't be suffering.




The co-existence of religious values in the lives of individuals and secular rules in the governance of the state should be clearly defined.




For years, the West supported Mubarak and gave aid for what it hoped was stability - but was actually stagnation - in the Middle East.




As someone from, and directly involved with, this part of the world, I am convinced Arabs are qualified to regain their glorious past.




It turns out all molecular and biological systems have speeds of the atoms move inside them; the fastest possible speeds are determined by their molecular vibrations, and this speed is about a kilometre per second.




In the 1960s, I personally lived the resounding impact of President Nasser's vision of constructing Aswan's High Dam as a 'national project' for controlling the Nile irrigation and the production of electricity.




We must nurture creative scientists in an environment that encourages interactions and collaborations across different fields, and support research free from weighty bureaucracies.




I am not one of the new media experts working all the time with my computers and the PowerPoints and things of that sort.




In adapting to life in the melting pot of America, I discovered that the same soft power of science has a huge influence in building bridges between cultures and religions - and has the potential to do so with the Muslim world.




The dream of my family was for me to be an educated person.




Syria may appear to be a small country, but it is just the type of entangled conflict that can lead to a world catastrophe. It does not take much imagination to see Syria as the Sarajevo of the 21st century, leading to world war.




Besides being a prime cause of poor economic growth, poor governance breeds corruption, which cripples investment, wastes resources, and diminishes confidence.




America was and still is able to make the necessary changes to maintain research institutions that are the envy of the world.




The soft power of science has the potential to reshape global diplomacy.




Investing in science education and curiosity-driven research is investing in the future.




I'd rather have the influence than the power, and the influence to me is to build institutions of independence and democracy, to regain for Egypt prestige in education and science and technology.




Egypt has great potential because of the latent power of its human capital.




I discovered how science is truly a universal language, one that forges new connections among individuals and opens the mind to ideas that go far beyond the classroom.




Egypt had the first constitution in the Middle East that allowed for liberty. And it had democracy.




Reading was and still is my real joy.




As recently as the September 11 event, the majority of Muslims were, as the rest of the world was, against its violence. However, if despair and humiliation continue in the population of more than one billion Muslims, the world will face increasing risks of conflicts and wars.




It is true that Egypt's attempt at democracy after the 2011 revolution encountered many obstacles in governance and infrastructure.




Syria is the proud heir of an ancient civilization that has a unique spectrum of minorities that encompasses Muslims and Christians of various denominations. There are at least ten such ethnic and religious groups.




The youth movement is aware that old visions can not take Egypt into the future.




In the Middle East, it is clear that peace will never be reached without solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A two-state solution must be found and enforced.




Egypt does not possess rich natural resources. Its agricultural area is relatively small - less than 10 per cent of the total land. Its growth relies on tourism, Suez Canal tariffs, and foreign investment.




Investment in education and economic prosperity is the best way to cure fanaticism and for establishing a just peace in the Middle East.




There is no 'master plan' on the road to the Nobel Prize. It represents a lot of hard work, a passion for that work and... being in the right place at the right time. For me, that place was Caltech.




What the U.S. should do consistently is to support the liberty of the Egyptian people.




On Sunday August 5, 2012, I was among a group of people who witnessed the Rover landing on Mars in real time at NASA's Caltech-managed Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.




In Egypt, every family is suffering from the deteriorated schooling and university system of the Mubarak regime. What families want most of all is to secure a good education for their children.




Some leaders think time will solve the problem. Their hope is that Assad's regime will ultimately fall from the heavy toll of the horrors it has spawned. From past experience with such regimes, this scenario is unlikely to happen.



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