Global Award

Introducing the award

The Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences is awarded on a biennial basis to an individual scientist who has made significant and creative contributions, particularly those of a fundamental nature, to any of the disciplines of molecular sciences. The awardee's research activities may cover theoretical and/or experimental aspects of studies in all phases of matter and biological systems.

The award consists of a monetary amount, a gold medal and a certificate.

The Prize winner will be requested to deliver a lecture at the Ahmed Zewail Prize Award Symposium and invite 3 - 4 colleagues to each deliver a supporting lecture covering their work in a related field.

Winners

2017 Ahmed Zewail Prize

The 6th Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences has been awarded to Professor Michael Graetzel from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland for his outstanding contributions to the field of energy and electron transfer reactions and their use in energy conversion.

Professor Michael Graetzel
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Professor Graetzel pioneered research in the field of energy and electron transfer reactions in mesoscopic systems and their use in energy conversion systems, in particular photovoltaic cells and photo-electrochemical devices for the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen and the reduction of carbon dioxide by sunlight as well as the storage of electric power in lithium ion batteries. He discovered a new type of solar cell based on dye sensitized nanocrystalline oxide films which successfully mimic the light reaction occurring in green leafs and algae during natural photosynthesis. Dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are currently produced by industry and sold commercially on the megawatt scale as light-weight flexible cells for powering portable electronic devices and as electricity producing glass panels for application in building integrated photovoltaics. The DSSC has engendered perovskite solar cells (PSCs) that have revolutionized the whole field of photovoltaics reaching over 22% efficiency only a few years after their inception. This exceeds the performance of polycrystalline silicon solar cells.

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Previous Winners

2015 Ahmed Zewail Prize

Professor Sir John Meurig Thomas
The University of Cambridge, UK

Professor Thomas's early work as a solid-state chemist was concerned with the characterization and chemical consequences of dislocations and other structural defects in molecular crystals, certain minerals and layered solids. He was one of the first to exploit and adapt electron microscopy as an indispensable chemical tool, of which he has since made imaginative use. He also used a variety of photophysical and photochemical techniques to determine the nature of traps for singlet and triplet excitons and charge carriers in organic molecular solids.

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2013 Ahmed Zewail Prize

Professor Noel S. Hush
The University of Sydney, Australia

Professor Hush developed theories with broad applications for predicting and explaining electron transfer processes. His elegant theories take into account both solvent reorganization and the inner structure of a molecular complex. He also explained how electrons transfer between species covalently linked by bridging molecules. His work has had wide impact in fields ranging from corrosion to solar energy to photosynthesis.

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2011 Ahmed Zewail Prize

Professor William H. Miller
University of California, Berkeley, USA

The third Ahmed Zewail Prize was awarded to Professor William H. Miller from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, for his outstanding contributions to the theory of chemical reactions.

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2009 Ahmed Zewail Prize

Professor Mostafa El-Sayed
Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

The second Ahmed Zewail Prize was awarded to Professor Mostafa El-Sayed from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, for his seminal contributions to the understanding of the electronic and molecular dynamics and properties of systems with different length scales, ranging from molecules to nanoparticles to biomedical systems.

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2007 Ahmed Zewail Prize (first Ahmed Zewail Prize)

Professor David Buckingham
Cambridge University, UK

The first Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences was awarded to Professor David Buckingham from Cambridge University, UK, for his pioneering contributions to the understanding of optical, electric and magnetic properties of molecules.

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Application Process

Every two years a call for nominations will be sent out. Nominations for the Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences should consist of a covering letter with a statement of the contributions made (max 2 pages), a brief biographical sketch, and a list of no more than 15 publications. The covering letter should include a citation describing succinctly the contribution(s) of the person nominated. Up to three supporting letters of reference may accompany the nomination.

Nominations are welcomed from all nationalities and should be written in the English language. Self-nominations are not permitted and those involved in the selection process are not eligible to win the Prize. A voting committee totaling 11 individuals composed of authorities, with a representative geographical division, and a good mix of subject knowledge, will rate the nominations.

Award and Ceremony

The award consists of a monetary amount, a gold medal and a certificate. An awards ceremony takes place at the Ahmed Zewail Prize Award Symposium every two years, where the award winner delivers a lecture at the Symposium.