Nobel Prize

Research Themes

Center for Ultrafast Science & Technology

Laboratory for Molecular Sciences


Research Family

Global Issues and Science Education


  • Back to the Future
  • A. H. Zewail and M. Zewail. Science for the Haves, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Engl. 52, 108 (2013).

    More than a decade ago, one of us wrote a commentary titled Science for the Have-Nots. It was advocated that major reforms of the governing systems, aided by a new type of partnership between the developing world and the developed one, is needed in order to change the plight of the 80% world population of have-nots. In this Essay we raise a concern about the state of education and science in the countries of the haves—the developed world...

    A. H. Zewail. We Must Dream, Cairo Rev. 6, 39 (2012).

    When I came to the United States in 1969, I was not dreaming of a Nobel Prize, nor was I dreaming of acquiring a Bill Gates fortune. Armed with the excellent education I received in Egypt, I was simply on a quest for knowledge and a PhD degree from a reputable institution in the United States...

    A. H. Zewail. Dreaming the Future, Chem. Eng. News 89, 17 (2011).

    I am honored and gratified to receive the Priestley Medal. This highest honor of the American Chemical Society comes from a society I have been associated with for decades and with which I continue to have strong relations, not only as a member and fellow, but also with its institutions, the board of directors, the society journals, and the super-dynamic Executive Director & CEO Madeleine Jacobs...

    A. H. Zewail. Curiouser and Curiouser: Managing Discovery Making, Nature 468, 347 (2010).

    On a recent official visit to southeast Asia, a prime minister asked me: "What does it take to get a Nobel prize?" I answered immediately: "Invest in basic research and recruit the best minds." This curiosity-driven approach seems increasingly oldfashioned and underappreciated in our modern age of science. Some believe that more can be achieved through tightly managed research—as if we can predict the future. I believe this is an unfortunate misconception that affects and infects research funding. History teaches us the value of free scientific inquisitiveness...

    A. H. Zewail. The Future of Chemical Physics, Chem. Phys. 378, 1 (2010).

    In over a century of developments, the discipline of chemical physics, which evolved from physical chemistry, has had a major impact on chemistry and all related molecular sciences, including biology and materials science. While physicists were working to decipher the structure of the atom—and indeed managed to tame it—chemical physicists were trailblazing into the world of molecules with new tools, some from physics, and new concepts. In retrospect the impact is monumental, considering that in 1938 the most versatile organic laboratory instrument was the thermometer...

    A. H. Zewail. The New Age of Structural Dynamics, Acta Cryst. A 66, 135 (2010).

    It is now possible to determine three-dimensional structures, with atomic scale resolution, in systems ranging from small molecules to crystals, and from DNA and proteins to viruses and particles. The latest is the work on the structure of the ribosome protein-making machine which was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. However, a full description of biological functions, chemical reactions or phase transitions requires real-time visualization of the actual events, i.e. the ability to follow a sequence of steps characterizing a given process...

    A. H. Zewail. Perspectives on Knowledge and Humanity, in Twelve Scientists on the Twenty-First Century, eds. I. Szemenyei, I. Goldperger, A. Erdélyi, G. Staar, Tinta Publishing, Budapest, 2009, p. 117.

    As far as the twenty-first century is concerned, the major issues facing the world are many, but I would rather focus on the ones that threaten our peaceful coexistence. The first is education. It is disturbing that in the knowledge-based twenty-first century there are countries with populations approaching 50% illiteracy. And women are not given the appropriate status for education and career opportunities in many countries, so the workforce is reduced in value...

    A. H. Zewail. The World in 50 Years, in The Way We Will Be 50 Years from Today, ed. M. Wallace, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2008, p. 228.

    The world is an uncertain place, which is why the future and the unknown absolutely fascinate us. Veteran television journalist Mike Wallace asked the question "What will life be like 50 years from now?" to sixty of the world's greatest minds. Their responses offer a fascinating glimpse into the cultural, scientific, political, and spiritual moods of the times...

    A. H. Zewail. Science and Technology in the Twenty-First Century, Academy of Sciences of Malaysia (ASM) Public Lecture, ASM, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, October 14, 2002.

    Since the beginning of human civilization, science and technology has progressed in a continuous process. Fire must have been an exciting new technology for the first humans and to this day we are continuing research to fully answer the question, what is fire? But the search for new knowledge is based on rational thinking, which is fundamental for progress and for making new discoveries...

    Site contents © 2013 California Institute of Technology.
    All rights reserved.

    Last modified Sat Jun 29 16:11:47 PDT 2013.