The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1999

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Professor Ahmed H. Zewail for his studies of transition states of chemical reactions by femtosecond spectroscopy.


Ahmed Zewail receives the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for being the first to reveal the decisive moments of a chemical reaction – the moments when chemical bonds are broken and formed.
     Zewail's technique uses what can be thought of as the world's fastest camera. The "shutter speed" of such a camera must be extremely high since molecules are very small (about 10-9m) and move extremely rapidly (1 000 m/s). To obtain a sharp "image" of the molecules in the course of a chemical reaction requires a femtosecond (10-15s) shutter speed.

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