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  • The Voyage
  • A. H. Zewail. Voyage Through Time: Walks of Life to the Nobel Prize, American University in Cairo (AUC), Cairo, 2002; so far in 19 languages and editions: English, French, German, Spanish, Romanian, Hungarian, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Bahasa Malaysian, Indonesian, Hindi, and Azerbaijani. For detailed reviews of this book see, for example, articles written by W. Sibbett, B. V. McKoy and C. A. McKoy, and M. Chergui.

    For this journey on the road to the Nobel prize, I have been asked several times to write a biography, or at least a biographical summary of my life. I declined these invitations. I was of the opinion that a traditional biography should represent a lifetime of work and experience and much effort and time are needed to do it well. In July of 1997 while on a trip to Cairo this strong feeling softened to a more moderate one. I was stimulated to ask a few questions by two books I was reading, one titled A History of Knowledge by Charles van Doren and the other Making Waves by Charles Townes. How did I acquire knowledge? Why did I become a scientist? What are the forces that have determined the walks of my own life? What are the meanings of faith, destiny, and luck? In the attempt to answer such complex questions, I began to sketch my thoughts...

    D. L. Smith. Coherent Thinking, Eng. Sci. 62, 7 (1999)

    At 5:40 in the doggone morning on Tuesday, October 12, Ahmed Zewail got a phone call. But it wasn't a wrong number or a particularly ambitious aluminum-window salesman—it was the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences informing him he had won the 1999 Nobel Prize in chemistry. The citation reads, in part, that Zewail "is being rewarded for his pioneering investigation of fundamental chemical reactions, using ultra-short laser flashes on the time scale on which the reactions actually occur"...

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