Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman Lectures at KTH on Discovery of Quasicrystals
A story of vindication
In 1982, Dan Shechtman, the Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, claimed he had discovered a new form of crystalline structure—one that conventional wisdom held to be impossible.
For years, Professor Shechtman was ridiculed by his peers and even asked to leave his research group for continuing to insist that there was only one explanation for the image he had seen in his microscope. But by 2011, the discovery was so firmly established that Professor Shechtman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The discovery “fundamentally altered how chemists conceive of solid matter,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in announcing the $1.5 million prize, which Professor Shechtman received on December 10 from King Carl XVI Gustav in a tradition-rich ceremony at Stockholm’s Concert Hall.
Professor Shechtman’s victory lap to Sweden brought him to Department of Materials Science at KTH the day before the award ceremony to talk about the crystal structure that came to be called “quasicrystal.” His lecture, presented here in full, is largely about his science, but it’s just as much a tale of personal triumph.
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