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Book review voyage through time walks of life to the nobel prize

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Ajouté le : 21 juillet 2011
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BOOKS
Voyage through Time: Walks of Lifechoose America for his PhD. His arrivalcogent and simple way about his walks to the Nobel Prize.ByAhmed A.in the USA in 1969 was the beginning ofthrough life. We read about the trajec-Zewail.American University ofa whole new experience, it sounded liketory of a young man from the small town Cairo Press, Cairo 2002. 288 pp.,! Zewail reminisces viv-of Desuq in the delta of the Nile, cross-changing planets hardcover $22.95.–ISBN 977-424-ing over to another culture and reachingidly about this time of discovering a new 677-2the summits of science. Guided by hisway of life, with hurdles and challenges, brilliant insight and his human qualities,from the language barrier to the new On October 12, 1999, as the an-he became the first Arab and Egyptiantechnology–he had never heard of la-nouncement of the Nobel Prize forto get (unshared! )the Nobel Prize insers before going to the USA! Yet Chemistry came out on the web, I sentscience. Throughout, he enriches histhroughout, one feels his ability to adopt a fax of congratulations to Ahmedexpose¬with anecdotes and stories, whichthe best of the new culture, both in the Zewail (it washe tells using the legendary Egyptiansocial and in the professional life. The dawn in Califor-sense of humor. But the message is clear,remarkable reflection is that none of the nia). Later on, itit underlies a certain philosophy of life inexperiences he went through is told with was impossible tohis voyage as a scientist and a humanist.a negative tone, even when it caused reach him byThe 1950s were a period of immensehardship and injury of feeling. These phone, so I decidedhope in Egypt and the Arab world, withexperiences turned out to be essential to wait for anotherPresident Nasser restoring pride andingredients in the shaping of the person-24 hours and triedtrying to shake Arab societies out ofality and became an asset in facing new the next day. Thiscolonialism and its consequences. Fur-challenges. time I did managethermore, Egypt was (and still is) theBy the end of 1973, Ahmed Zewail to talk to his secre-lighthouse of the Arab world, because ofhad obtained his PhD from the Univer-tary, who told me he couldn×t attend asits cultural, artistic, and journalistic cre-sity of Pennsylvania. Moving from Phil-he was going through an article with twoativity. Ahmed Zewail recollects specif-adelphia to Berkeley was as dramatic as of his postdocs. Life as usual! I wasically the atmosphere of those years,moving from Alexandria to Philadel-flabbergasted !The following day heincluding his enchantment by Oumphia, especially when he set his eyes on called me at 10am (it was 1am inKalthoum, the diva of Arabic music,Telegraph Avenue for the first time! But California) to thank me for the fax andwho so deeply affected his life–later heBerkeley had many opportunities to the call. I was deeply moved. Why wouldwas to be named the ™Oum Kalthoum ofoffer him, and the two-year ™transition he bother to call back when he literallyChemistry∫ by Berlin chemist A. Chem-state∫ there was instrumental in shaping had ™the world over him∫? These twoseddine, a title which I am sure he deeplyhis future career. It was an opportunity facts summarize for me Ahmed Zewail×sappreciates. For the young Ahmed, agedto interact with an exceptional scientific personality :passion and rigor in science,10, these words President Nasser wroteenvironment, and to deepen his ideas generosity andintelligence du coeurabout the concept of coherence and itshim :in toI ask you to continue with™. . . his relations with others. Reaching thepatience and passion in harvesting sci-implications for the behavior of atoms acmes of prestige and international rec-ence and knowledge, armed with goodand molecules. It was also there that he ognition did not change his character.behavior and good thought so you canstarted to work with the newly devel-This conviction is confirmed through-participate in the future of building theoped picosecond lasers, the springboard out the pages of his recently publishedgreat Egypt∫, sound like a prophecyto the new research that he started at autobiography, where he tells us in atoday. This drive towards excellence,Caltech in 1976. matched with the simplicity and gener-Coherence was on his mind, and in a This section contains book reviews and a list ofosity of human relationships in his homeseries of papers which earned him tenure new books received by the editor. Book reviews town of Desuq, and later in Alexandria,after two years at Caltech, he pioneered are written by invitation from the editor. Sug-have undoubtedly shaped his approachstudies of molecular coherence with gestions for books to be reviewed and for book to life in general and to science inlasers and was the first to introduce reviewers are welcome. Publishers should send brochures or (better) books to the Redaktion particular. shapedpulses for the study of molecular Angewandte Chemie, Postfach 1011 61,D-69451 Weinheim, Federal Republic of Germany. TheAfter obtaining his Master×s degree inprocesses. This work was to culminate in editor reserves the right of selecting which books 1969, it was the style of his mentor at thecreating the new field of femtochemistry, will be reviewed. Uninvited books not chosen for University of Alexandria, who had beenwhich is concerned with the visualization reviews will not be returned. trained in the USA, that made himof nuclear motion in molecular edifices. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.2002,411433-7851/02/4123-4583 $ 20.00+.50/0, No. 23¹ 2002 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH& Co. KGaA, Weinheim4583
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