Professor Ahmed Hassan Zewail of Caltech died unexpectedly on Aug.7 in Pasadena.
Born in Damanhur, Egypt, educated at Alexandria University and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1999. Although Muslims constitute more than 23 percent of the world’s population, as of 2015, only 12 Nobel laureates have been Muslims, whereas 193 (22 percent) of the total 855 laureates have been Jewish, although Jews comprise less than 0.2 percent of the world’s population.
The reason for this disparity is primarily cultural rather than genetic. Jewish youths are encouraged to learn to read in order to study Torah. A Muslim website (https://realdeen.wordpress/2006/09/01/nobel-p) states, “Let’s try to learn only 1% from Jews and we will be ‘heaps better’ than what we Muslims are today! WE SHOULD STOP BLAMING JEWS and must look at ourselves!”
At a time when Donald Trump and others of his ilk are excoriating Muslims, Mr. Zewail’s example and emphasis on education may provide the impetus on education for adherents of the youngest of the three Abrahamic religions to reinstate their former Golden Islamic Age (8th century to 13th century).
Dr. George B. Kauffman, professor of chemistry, California State University, Fresno