A rejected discovery eventually wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2011

A rejected discovery eventually wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2011

2:48 AM, 7th October 2011
A rejected discovery eventually wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2011
Dan Shechtman, winner of Nobel prize in chemistry 2011.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN: Dan Shechtman (70), a researcher at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, received the award for discovering quasicrystals, seen as fascinating mosaics of the Arabic world reproduced at the level of atoms: regular patterns that never repeat themselves. However, the configuration found in quasicrystals was considered impossible and Dan Shechtman had to fight a fierce battle against established science.

On the morning of 8 April 1982, an image counter to the laws of nature appeared in Dan Shechtman’s electron microscope. In all solid matter, atoms were believed to be packed inside crystals in symmetrical patterns that were repeated periodically over and over again. For scientists, this repetition was required in order to obtain a crystal.

Shechtman’s image, however, showed that the atoms in his crystal were packed in a pattern that could not be repeated. His discovery was extremely controversial. In the course of defending his findings, he was asked to leave his research group. However, his battle eventually forced scientists to reconsider their conception of the very nature of matter.

Aperiodic mosaics, such as those found in the medieval Islamic mosaics of the Alhambra Palace in Spain and the Darb-i Imam Shrine in Iran, have helped scientists understand what quasicrystals look like at the atomic level. In those mosaics, as in quasicrystals, the patterns are regular - they follow mathematical rules - but they never repeat themselves.

When scientists describe Shechtman’s quasicrystals, they use a concept that comes from mathematics and art: the golden ratio. This number had already caught the interest of mathematicians in Ancient Greece, as it often appeared in geometry. In quasicrystals, for instance, the ratio of various distances between atoms is related to the golden mean.

Following Shechtman’s discovery, scientists have produced other kinds of quasicrystals in the lab and discovered naturally occurring quasicrystals in mineral samples from a Russian river. A Swedish company has also found quasicrystals in a certain form of steel, where the crystals reinforce the material like armor. Scientists are currently experimenting with using quasicrystals in different products such as frying pans and diesel engines.

An Israeli citizen, Dan Shechtman was born in 1941 in Tel Aviv, Israel. As part of the award, Shechtman receives 10 million Swedish kronor (£934,000).

© WOC News

0 Comments

Login

Your Comments (Up to 2000 characters)
Please respect our community and the integrity of its participants. WOC reserves the right to moderate and approve your comment.

Related News


Amyris, Michelin collaboration for renewable isoprene

  EMERYVILLE, US/PARIS, FRANCE: Amyris and Michelin announced that the two companies have signed a definitive agreement to collaborate in develo ...

Read more
EU policymakers see chemicals sector essential, finds new survey

  MADRID, SPAIN: EU policymakers see an important role for the chemicals sector and its products in society, but public trust remains an issue, ...

Read more
Monsanto acquires Beeologics, a technology start-up

ST LOUIS, US: Monsanto Company has acquired Beeologics, which researches and develops biological tools to provide targeted control of pests and diseas ...

Read more
Cefic revises downward 2011 forecast for EU chemicals sector output

MADRID, SPAIN: Growth in EU chemicals production in 2011 is now predicted to be 2.5 per cent for the EU-27, ex pharma, Cefic said recently. The update ...

Read more
Linde rebrands BOC Pakistan Ltd as Linde Pakistan Limited

  KARACHI, PAKISTAN: An integration process that began five years ago to create a world leading gases and engineering company has reached a new ...

Read more
GAIL India to buy US shale gas asset, to invest $ 300 million over five yrs

  NEW DELHI, INDIA: State-run utility GAIL India said it had agreed to buy a 20 per cent stake in one of Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc’s shale ...

Read more
www.worldofchemicals.com uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X