Nobel Prize awarded for discovery of Quasicrystals

Quasicrystals "fundamentally altered how chemists conceive of solid matter".

Nobel Prize awarded for discovery of Quasicrystals

Dan Shechtman Photo Credit: H. Mark Helfer/NIST

On April 8, 1982 while on sabbatical in Washington, Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman observed crystals with five-fold symmetry.

The problem? This was considered impossible.

He was mocked for his discovery and asked to leave his research group. But he stood by his findings despite criticisms, some from none other than Linus Pauling, one of the towering figures of science and the only person to twice receive the Nobel prize unshared; to the day he died, Pauling never accepted Shechtman's findings.B

“The main lesson that I have learned over the years is that a good scientist is a modest and attentive scientist,” Shechtman said at a press conference in Haifa.

Both Shechtman and Pauling used Zometool for modeling quasicrystals, as all quasicrystalline shapes can be modeled using Zometool.

Paul Hildebrandt says "Marc Pelletier and I glued those balls and painted those struts by hand; quasicrystal researchers were among our very first customers".

Below, a beautiful x-ray of quasicrystals and some related links:

 

Related links

Wall Street Journal: Chemistry's Cinderella Story

MSNBC: Vindicated: Ridiculed Israeli scientist wins Nobel

The Official Website of the Nobel Prize: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2011 - Dan Shechtman

Wikipedia: Quasicrystals

Wired: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/10/chemistry-nobel/

NIST Website 

 

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