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Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science & Technology: Stephen R. Leone

by Linda Wang
January 2, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 1

Stephen R. Leone
Credit: University of Warwick Department of Chemistry
Photo of Stephen R. Leone.
Credit: University of Warwick Department of Chemistry

Sponsor: Ahmed Zewail Endowment Fund, established by Newport Corp.

Citation: For his pioneering development of femtosecond and attosecond extreme ultraviolet pulse measurements for chemical dynamics.

Current position: John R. Thomas Endowed Chair in Physical Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley; faculty senior scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Education: B.A., chemistry, Northwestern University; Ph.D., chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Leone on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “An X-ray spectroscopic revolution in chemical dynamics. It is not just working on femtosecond and attosecond short-time observations: In the past few years I have come to realize that one of the biggest contributions could be in extending X-ray spectroscopic measurements to the study of the rates and complete mechanisms of chemical reactions. This means the ability to unravel chemical dynamics to understand charge state changes and to follow charges, essentially studying electronic dynamics by ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy. In the next decade, I would love to be able to pull an electron out of benzene and watch how the orbitals renormalize to their new energies and configurations.”

What his colleagues say: “Professor Leone’s seminal contributions to the dynamics of photophysics and photochemistry are so numerous that it seems incongruous to highlight the particulars. It is best said that his scientific work combines tremendous experience and deep understanding of photodynamics with the development of state-of-the-art laser and device technology. He has been one of the pioneers of the young field of attosecond science, for example revolutionizing time-resolved X-ray spectroscopy, devoted to the study of atomic, molecular, and condensed-matter systems. I cannot think of anyone in this field more deserving of this award.”—Ferenc Krausz, Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and Ludwig Maximilians University



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