American Chemical Society statement on the death of Ahmed Zewail

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2016 — On behalf of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Executive Director and CEO Thomas Connelly Jr., Ph.D., would like to offer condolences to the family of Ahmed Zewail, Ph.D., who died yesterday. The Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry and director of the Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science and Technology at the California Institute of Technology was 70 years old.

“Dr. Zewail was a leader inside and outside the lab,” Connelly says. “His trailblazing research opened up the study of atoms in motion on the femtosecond time scale, while his diplomatic efforts with his native country of Egypt helped U.S. relations in the region. He was an exemplar scholar and statesman who will be greatly missed.”

Over the course of his career, Zewail received numerous awards and honors. Within the science arena, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1999 for his pioneering work in femtoscience. He also received many ACS awards, including the Priestley Medal (2011), which is the Society’s highest honor; the E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy (1997); and the Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry (1996). To honor his contributions to chemistry, ACS created the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology in 2005, which is awarded annually.

On the national and international stages, he served on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the Egypt President’s Advisory Council of Distinguished Scholars and Experts and the United Nations Secretary General’s Scientific Advisory Board. He also served as the U.S.’s first science envoy to the Middle East.

“The world has lost a truly great scientist and humanitarian,” Connelly says. “My deepest sympathies go out to his family during this difficult time.”

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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