Nobel Prize 2011- Dan Shechtman
By: Ashlyn and Shreya
- Born: 24 January 1941
- Born in Tel Aviv, British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel)
- Education/ Affiliation at the time of the award: Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
- Scientific field of study: physical chemistry, structural chemistry
- Shechtman has a favorite picture of a line of a dozen German Shepherds. In front of them, with self-assured insouciance, walks a serene cat. (He relates to the cat)
- His first discovery in the field of quasiperiodic crystals made him very unpopular
What Did He Do?
Looked at electrons in a mixture of aluminum and manganese under an electron microscope
Saw concentric circles with 10 dots (atoms) each
It was thought that 4-fold (concentric circles with 4 atoms in each) was the highest symmetry you could have because 5-fold (concentric circles with 5 atoms in each) symmetry and above don’t repeat the pattern when you turn it around a certain number of degrees so scientists thought that it wasn’t possible because asymmetric
At that time, a crystal was defined as a substance in which the constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are packed in a regularly ordered, repeating three-dimensional pattern”
However, he could rotate his pattern 36 degrees and get the same pattern
He discovered that 10-fold symmetry was possible which opened up the doors for discoveries of other-fold symmetry such as 8-fold symmetry and 20-fold symmetry
Discovered quasicrystals- a form of solid matter whose atoms are arranged like those of a crystal but assume patterns that do not exactly repeat themselves.
Lead to the changing of the definition of a crystal to any solid having an essentially discrete diffraction diagram
10- fold Symmetry
This is how the 10-fold symmetry looked.
Path to Discovery
This picture shows the path to the publishing of data about quasicrystals and includes other experiments that helped prove the existence of quasi crystals.
This is how a quasicrystal looks.
Why Did He Win?
He proved all previous beliefs about quasicrystals wrong
Shechtman showed evidence of different symmetry that was previously thought of as impossible
Quasicrystals are used in LEDs and non-stick material such as non-stick pans
The automotive industry is looking at how quasicrystals can be used to recycle wasted heat in cars because quasicrystals are good at converting heat into electricity