Nobel Prize Laureate Dan Shechtman 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
Dozens of European ambassadors to Israel met with Nobel Prize in Chemistry
laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman over the weekend to wish him luck before he leaves
with his family for Stockholm on Monday to receive his prize. In addition to his
delivery of lectures and attendance at symposia and receptions, the peak event
will be the award ceremony and the gala ball on Saturday night.
– a 70-year-old expert in materials science at Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute
of Technology – discovered in 1982 that atoms in rigid crystals can be packed
together in unusual ways. This breakthrough led to the development of extremely
strong materials from metal surgical tools and razor blades to diesel engines
and as protective coatings and metal alloys. In addition, what have become known
as quasiperiodic or quasicrystals, do not rust or become oxidized and have
almost no surface friction.
The Tel Aviv-born scientist, who is also an
associate of the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and professor at Iowa
State University, found that atoms in crystals could be structured in an
unrepeatable pattern that looked like the Arab-style floor mosaics. In fact, the
structure was described as “the fascinating mosaics of the Arabic world
reproduced at the level of atoms.”
Married and the father of four,
Shechtman earned his three degrees at the Technion.
He was on sabbatical
almost three decades ago at the US National Bureau of Standards in Washington,
DC, when he discovered the icosahedral phase, which opened the new field of
During his sabbatical in the early 1980s at Johns
Hopkins University, he discovered the icosahedral phase. He was amazed to
discover – in an electron microscope – that the new crystal he had uncovered was
symmetrical and could be turned around five times without looking different;
this was considered “impossible” according to existing theory.
arrival, he will attend a reception by Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Benny Dagan
and hold two press conferences. A few hours before receiving the prize, he will
be hosted for Shabbat lunch by the chief rabbi of Sweden and meet members of the
Swedish businessmen have shown much interest in
Shechtman, who, 25 years ago, initiated a course for entrepreneurs and mentored
generations of graduates who became successful businesspeople.
president Prof. Peretz Lavie will lecture in the Swedish capital to a group of
Swedish entrepreneurs about the institute’s activities and its influence on the
During the several days following the award ceremony,
Shechtman will tour universities around Sweden giving lectures.