Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman - Jerusalem
Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman of the Technion in a GPO sponsored briefing at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Jerusalem, Israel. 9th October 2011.
Israel's 10th Nobel Prize goes to chemist Daniel Shechtman, for his discovery of patterns in atoms called quasicrystals - Israel's first sole recipient of a Nobel Prize. The award, which comes with $1.45 million in prize money, was announced October 5.
Shechtman is a professor at the century-old Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. He's also a professor at Iowa State University and is an associate of the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, housed at the university and dedicated to researching solutions to energy-related problems through chemical, engineering, materials, mathematical and physical sciences.
Shechtman, now 70 years old, has described quasicrystals as resembling "fascinating mosaics of the Arabic world reproduced at the level of atoms." This refers to the quasicrystalline-patterned tiling found in two medieval mosques. Found most often in aluminum alloys, quasicrystals are characterized by regular but non-repeating patterns. Until the Israeli professor discovered quasicrystals in 1982, it was believed that atomic patterns in crystals repeat themselves.
Shechtman, who also won the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1999 and the Israel Prize for physics in 1998, was initially widely ridiculed for his claims about quasicrystals by the world scientific community. He continued his research anyway.
His new understanding came to be well respected and has had broad scientific and also practical implications, according to the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, because the unique structure of these particles could help make better frying pans, LED lights and diesel engines.
In a GPO sponsored briefing to foreign press today, Oren Helman, Director of the Government Press Office opened the briefing saying it was symbolic today's event was taking place in an institution dedicated to the life of former Nobel laureate Menachem Begin.
Answering questions from the press Prof. Dan Shechtman said he believes Israelis are getting more than their share of Nobel prizes due to education for freedom of thought. Over the past 45 years, the Jewish state has won 10 Nobel prizes – a major achievement for country of just 7.8 million people.