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American Chemical Society's highest honor goes to pioneer in 'ultraslow-motion' imaging
Date:7/27/2010

e to view the ultrafast motion of chemical reactions. But Zewail thought otherwise. In the late 1980s, he performed a series of experiments that provided the first detailed glimpses of chemical reactions in motion. He did this using a high-speed "camera," based on laser technology, with flashes of light that each lasted only some millionth of a billionth of a second. This allowed him to "freeze" the motion of molecules as they reacted with each other, much like rapid flashes of light freeze the motion of a spinning fan blade. For the first time, scientists could actually see chemical reactions as they unfolded.

Since the Nobel Prize, he and his group have developed a new field dubbed four-dimensional (4D) electron microscopy. The methodology enables visualization of materials and biological cells with unprecedented resolutions in both space and time. In recent Science and Nature papers, Zewail and colleagues reported the achievement of 4D tomography and near-field imaging and demonstrated the methodology for visualization of "nanomachines" at work and evanescent bacterium cells. The development is termed by scientists in the field as revolutionary for materials and biological sciences.

Zewail was born in 1946 in Egypt. He studied at the University of Alexandria and earned a Ph.D. in 1974 from the University of Pennsylvania. After two years at the University of California at Berkeley, he was employed at Caltech, where he currently is a chair professor and director of the Physical Biology Center.

He also serves as a dedicated spokesman for science education. He is a member of President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science & Technology. Zewail travels the world lecturing on what he describes as "the beauty and critical role of science in our lives."

The Priestley Medal is an annual award named for Joseph Preistley, who reported the discovery of oxygen in 1774. Since 1923, the ACS has recognized groundbreaking chemists with the a
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Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-6042
American Chemical Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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American Chemical Society's highest honor goes to pioneer in 'ultraslow-motion' imaging
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