Dan Shechtman

Prof. Dan Shechtman, Nobel Prize Laureate 2011 / Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science

After receiving his doctorate, Prof. Shechtman was an NRC fellow at the Aerospace Research Laboratories at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, where he studied for three years. He focused his studies on the microstructure and physical metallurgy of titanium aluminides. In 1975 he joined the department of materials science & engineering at Technion. During this study he discovered the icosahedral phase which opened the new field of quasiperiodic crystals. He served on several Technion Senate Committees and headed one of them.

Shechtman first published his discovery in 1984, but was met with widespread skepticism. Two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling stated about Shechtman's discovery of quasi-crystals: “There is no such thing as quasi-crystals, only quasi-scientists." In 2011, the scientific world had finally come around. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to him for his 1984 discovery.

From his Nobel Lauriate bio:

Quasicrystals – or, as Shechtman would prefer, quasi-periodic materials – now have scientists thinking about matter in a new light, but they also have many possible practical applications. Because of their uneven structure, quasicrystals do not have obvious cleavage planes, making them unusually hard. This makes them ideal for making fine but durable instruments. Their low electrical and heat conductivity could also see them used for insulation or even a new non-stick coating for cooking pans.

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