Mohammed Yahia, C&EN’s new editor in chief, died Aug. 10 en route to the American Chemical Society’s fall 2023 meeting in San Francisco. He was 41.
Yahia had started as C&EN’s top editor Aug. 1 and was traveling to his first ACS meeting. He had recently sketched out a vision for the magazine in a video call with C&EN staff. He was in the process of moving from his home in Cairo to the Washington, DC, area, where ACS is based. C&EN is published by ACS.
Yahia was previously an executive editor at Springer Nature, where he helped launch several publications, including Nature Middle East. Before that, he held a number of posts in science journalism. He was also president of the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) from 2017 to 2019.
Milica Momčilović, WFSJ president, succeeded Yahia in 2019. “He was always there to guide and support us in all our activities,” she says in an email. “We will miss him deeply as a colleague and a friend.”
“He lit up a story; he lit up a room. He made the profession better and he was poised, at C&EN and beyond, to make it better yet,” says Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in an email. “There are not enough science journalists—there are not enough people in the world—like Mohammed. And he is already missed.”
Sarah Tegen, chief publishing officer for ACS Publications, remembered Yahia on Aug. 14 at the C&EN Centennial and Talented 12 Reception at the ACS Fall 2023 meeting. “In his lone editorial for C&EN, he telegraphed his energy and passion for building on the legacy of the last 100 years and expanding the magazine’s reach to new audiences,” she said.
Yahia is survived by his wife, Ola Al-Ghazawy, and two children, Zeina and Zakaria.
In a call with C&EN staffers Aug. 11, Tegen said that she had spoken with Al-Ghazawy, who told her how excited Yahia was to have joined the magazine.
This article was originally published on Aug. 11, 2023. This story was updated on Aug. 17, 2023, to add remarks from people who knew Mohammed Yahia. The additional reporting was by Gina Vitale.