Possessions of Nobel laureate Ahmed Zewail to be donated to museum in Giza

The collection will mostly comprise his personal belongings, in addition to a laser machine instrumental in his landmark research

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, May 12: Ahmed Zewail, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry speaking during the inauguration of Arab Media Forum at Atlantis hotel on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai . (Pawan Singh / The National) For News. Story by Ali
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The widow of late Egyptian chemist Ahmed Zewail, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will donate his possessions to a Cairo non-profit research institution at a yet-to-be-built museum in Zewail City of Science and Technology.

The collection will include awards and honours that Mr Zewail received over his three-decade career. The ultra-fast laser machine he used throughout his landmark femtochemistry research, which in 1999 earned him the Nobel prize, will also be on show.

Femtochemistry is the study of chemical reactions occurring in a fraction of a second, a field of study pioneered by Mr Zewail, who wanted to observe rapid atomic-level changes during reactions.

Mr Zewail, who died in 2016 at the age of 70, was the first Egyptian and second African to earn a Nobel prize.

Mahmoud Abd Rabo, the president of Zewail City, told a talk show on Tuesday that the institution’s board of directors and trustees had approved plans to build a museum to house the late chemist's possessions.

The implementation phase would begin imminently, he said.

“We are really grateful to Dr Dema Faham [Zewail ’s widow] who donated his possessions which include the plaque and medal he was awarded by the Nobel committee,” Mr Abd Rabo said.

The collection will mostly comprise Mr Zewail’s personal belongings, which he kept in his US home.

The scientist had lived in the US for around 40 years before returning to Egypt following the 2011 popular uprising that ousted former president Hosny Mubarak.

Mr Zewail was an important figure in the transitional period after the Arab Spring and served as an intermediary between the temporary military council charged with ruling the country during the interim period and young political factions who wanted their demands met in the wake of the uprising.

Launched in 2000, Zewail City was the brainchild of its namesake, who upon returning to Egypt in 2011 intensified his efforts to complete its various sections, which include a university, research institutes and a science park.

The university first welcomed students in 2013.

In 2014, the city was given 198 acres of state land under a presidential decree. The land was given for the construction of a new extension of the university, which is still under construction.

An extensive collection of books, owned by the late chemist, was donated to the Bibliotecha Alexandrina, the coastal city's famed library, in 2018.

Updated: December 22, 2022, 9:43 AM