Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman has won the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Wednesday.Mazel tov to Dr. Shechtman!
The Academy honored Shechtman for the discovery of "quasicrystals" – patterns in atoms which were thought impossible, adding that Shechtman's discovery in 1982 had fundamentally changed the way chemists look at solid matter.
"Contrary to the previous belief that atoms were packed inside crystals in symmetrical patterns, Shechtman showed that the atoms in a crystal could be packed in a pattern that could not be repeated," the RSAS said.
"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," it said
Shechtman, 70, is a distinguished professor at the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa [Technion].
In 2009, Israeli scientist Ada Yonath was awarded the Nobel Chemistry Prize for showing how ribosomes function, work that has important implications for antibiotics.
Before Yonath eight Israelis have won the prestigious prize: Shmuel Yosef Agnon (Literature); Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres (Peace); Avram Hershko, Aaron Ciechanover (Chemistry); Robert Aumann and Daniel Kahneman (Economics).
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