Zewail receiving the Nobel Prize from His Majesty the King of Sweden at
the Stockholm Concert Hall on December 10, 1999.
Dynamics of the Chemical Bond Using Ultrafast Lasers
(Nobel Lecture), Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Engl. 39,
Over many millennia, humankind has thought to explore phenomena on an
ever shorter time scale. In this race against time, femtosecond resolution (1 fs
= 10-15 second) is the ultimate achievement for studies of the
fundamental dynamics of the chemical bond. Observation of the very act
that brings about chemistry - the making and breaking of bonds on their actual
time and length scales - is the wellspring of the field of
Femtochemistry, which is the study of molecular motions in the hitherto
unobserved ephemeral transition states of physical, chernical and biological changes...
Les Prix Nobel: The Nobel Prizes 1999, ed. T. Frängsmyr, Almqvist&Wiksell,
Stockholm, 2000, p. 110; reproduced in Nobel Lectures, Chemistry 1996-2000, ed. I. Grenthe, World Scientific, Singapore, 2003, p. 274.
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