Egypt bids farewell to late Nobel Prize scientist Ahmed Zewail
CAIRO // Egypt on Sunday bid farewell to Ahmed Zewail, the Egyptian-born scientist who won a Nobel Prize in 1999, giving him a military funeral with full honours before his burial in a family cemetery west of Cairo.
President Abdel Fatah El Sisi led some 200 mourners at a military funeral held in a suburb east of Cairo. Zewail’s coffin was wrapped in Egypt’s white, red and black flag and was carried by a gun carriage drawn by six horses mounted by soldiers in ceremonial uniforms.
Egypt’s former mufti Ali Gomaa, who survived an assassination attempt on Friday, led mourners in a prayer for the dead at the end of the military funeral.
Zewail’s coffin was later transported in an ambulance across Cairo to the site of the science academy he founded in the October 6th suburb west of the capital. Hundreds of mourners gathered there before they followed the coffin to the family cemetery where his body was interned amid tight security.
The scientist’s 1999 Nobel Prize was awarded for his work on the study of chemical reactions over immensely short timescales. He is one of four Egyptian Nobel Laureates, following the late president Anwar Sadat for peace in 1978 and the late novelist Naguib Mahfouz for literature in 1988, and preceding Mohamed ElBaradei, former director of the United Nations nuclear watchdog and pro-democracy leader, for peace in 2005.
Zewail’s death was announced on Tuesday by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, where he was the Linus Pauling professor of chemistry and director of the Physical Biology Centre for Ultrafast Science and Technology.
* Associated Press