King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) recognizes excellence in 5 categories: Service to Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic Language & Literature, Medicine, and Science, since 1979


I am honored tonight to receive one of the world’s most prestigious prizes in science, the King Faisal International Prize. I am honored for the recognition of the science, and for being the first Arab to win this prize. I have been fortunate to obtain other international recognitions and honors, but the King Faisal Prize is special.

Speech of Professor Ahmed H. Zewail

2018 Mathematics Professor Sir John M. Ball 2017 Physics Professor Daniel Loss 2017 Physics Professor Laurens Molenkamp 2016 Biology Professor Stephen Philip Jackson 2016 Biology Professor Vamsi Krishna Mootha 2015 Chemistry Professor Michael Grätzel 2015 Chemistry Professor Omar Mwannes Yaghi 2014 Mathematics Professor Gerd Faltings 2013 Physics Professor Paul B. Corkum 2013 Physics Professor Ferenc Krausz 2012 Biology Professor Alexander J. Varshavsky 2011 Chemistry Professor George M. Whitesides 2011 Chemistry Professor Richard Zare 2010 Mathematics Professor Enrico Bombieri 2010 Mathematics Professor Terence Chi-Shen Tao 2009 Physics Professor Sir Richard H. Friend 2009 Physics Professor Rashid A. Sunyaev 2008 Biology Professor Rudiger Wehner 2007 Chemistry Professor James Fraser Stoddart 2006 Mathematics Professor Mudumbai S. Narasimhan 2006 Mathematics Professor Simon Kirwan Donaldson 2005 Physics Professor Anton Zeilinger 2005 Physics Professor Federico Capasso 2005 Physics Professor Frank Wilczek 2004 Biology Professor Semir Zeki 2003 Chemistry Professor M. Fredrick Hawthorne 2003 Chemistry Professor Koji Nakanishi 2002 Mathematics Professor Yuri I. Manin 2002 Mathematics Professor Peter W. Shor 2001 Physics Professor Sajeev O. John 2001 Physics Professor Chen Ning Yang 2000 Biology Professor Edward O.Wilson 2000 Biology Professor John Craig Venter 1999 Chemistry Professor Ryoji Noyori 1999 Chemistry Professor Dieter Seebach 1998 Mathematics Professor Andrew J. Wiles 1997 Physics Professor Carl E. Wieman 1997 Physics Professor Eric Allin Cornell 1996 Biology Professor Gunter Blobel 1996 Biology Professor Hugh R. Pelham 1996 Biology Professor James E. Rothman 1995 Chemistry Professor K. Barry Sharpless 1994 Mathematics Professor Dennis P. Sullivan 1993 Physics Professor Herbert Walther 1993 Physics Professor Steven Chu 1992 Biology Professor Sydney Brenner 1991 Mathematics (Withheld) 1990 Chemistry Professor Frank A. Cotton 1990 Chemistry Professor Mustafa Amr El Sayed 1990 Chemistry Professor Raymond U. Lemieux 1989 Physics Professor Ahmed H. Zewail 1989 Physics Professor Theodore W. Hanch 1988 Biology Professor Pierre Chambon 1988 Biology Professor Ricardo Miledi 1987 Mathematics Professor Sir Michael Atiyah 1986 Biochemistry Professor Sir Michael J. Berridge 1985 Biochemistry (Withheld) 1984 Physics Professor Gerd Binnig 1984 Physics Professor Heinrich Rohrer 1983 Physics (Withheld)


The Science subcategories cover a broad scope alternating between physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics.

Prizes for Science were added in 1982 and first awarded in 1984.

One is considered qualified to win the King Faisal International Prize for Science if they have carried out and published an original scientific research on the prize’s topic, with major benefits to humanity, and meeting one or more of the prize’s objectives as determined by the respective Selection Committee.

Apply now for the Science Prize


  • Nominations are accepted from universities, scientific institutions and research centers.
  • Nominations are not accepted from individuals or political parties.
  • Nominated works must be published, likely to benefit mankind and enrich human knowledge.
  • The prize is not awarded posthumously.
  • Dissertations are not accepted.
  • Former Laureates of King Faisal Prize shall not be awarded the prize again.
  • More than one candidate may be nominated, irrespective of their affiliation with the nominating institution.


  • An official letter of nomination for each nominee separately, adequately justifying the nomination and outlining the nominee’s achievements in the field of the prize.
  • A list of nominated works.
  • A general information form to be filled by the nominee; this form can be duplicated if more than one candidate is nominated.


  • A CV with a list of the nominee’s publications.
  • A letter of commitment to present two lectures in his/her field of specialization, at academic institutions in the event s/he is awarded the prize.
  • A copy of each nominated paper; the total number of nominated papers should not exceed ten (10).
  • A copy of each nominated book and/or book chapters; the total number of nominated books and/or book chapters should not exceed five (5). The book’stitle cover should be appended with each nominated book chapter.
  • A recent color-photo of the nominee in 13 x 18 cm dimensions.


  • A certificate written in Arabic calligraphy featuring the laureate’s name with a brief description of the work for which s/he is awarded the Prize.
  • A commemorative 24-carat, 200-gram gold medallion.
  • A sum of SR 750,000 (US$ 200,000).


  • Nominations are judged exclusively on the basis of scholarly merit.
  • Any nomination not fulfilling all conditions and requirements shall be excluded.
  • More than one laureate may share the Prize.
  • The decision of the Prize’s Selection Committee is final.
  • Nomination documents and nominated works shall not be returned.
  • Laureates will be announced in January 2020, and the prizes will be presented at an official ceremony later in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • All required documents must be received no later than March 31st, 2019