Ahmed Zewail, 1946-2016

Dr. Ahmed Zewail, 1999 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Linus Pauling Chair and professor of chemistry and professor of physics at California Institute of Technology, passed away on Tuesday, August 2.

Dr. Zewail’s scientific accomplishments are extensive, as might be expected of a Nobel Laureate.  I want to acknowledge his work in the area of science policy.  He served on the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST) from 2009-2013, and was one of the first Science Envoys of the Department of State.  He traveled to the Middle East during his service as a Science Envoy, and has worked throughout his life in encouraging science education and research in his native Egypt.  He founded the Zewail City of Science and Technology shortly after being recognized with the Nobel Prize, and it was inaugurated in 2011 in the greater Cairo area.  A new campus has a major opening scheduled for later this year.  He was also working as one of the members of the United Nations Scientific Advisory Board.

As Margaret Warner writes for PBS NewsHour, Ahmed served as a mediator during the 2011 revolution, doing what he could before events overtook nearly everyone.  She reports that Zewail will receive full honors at his funeral in Egypt next week, something reserved for very few, and in Zewail’s case, well deserved.

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