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Daniel Shechtman wins 2011 Chemistry Nobel

The 2011 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to Daniel Shechtman “for the discovery of quasicrystals”.

Quasicrystals are crystal structures that follow a set pattern but do not repeat themselves*.

“Such a pattern was considered just as impossible as creating a football using only six-cornered polygons, when a sphere needs both five- and six-cornered polygons,” says the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in a press release. “His [Shechtman’s] 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.”

Shechtman works at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

  • Technically, as Ted Janssen wrote in Nature Materials in 2007, “Quasicrystals are perfectly ordered materials, but unlike conventional crystals they do not show lattice periodicity; that is, the atomic structure is not periodic in the three spatial directions.”

Read Nature’s full coverage of the chemistry prize here.

Related content from Nature

Islamic tiles reveal sophisticated maths – Muslim artists were 500 years ahead of western researchers.


  1. Report this comment

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh said:

    Congratulations Daniel Shechtman for winning Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2011 “for the discovery of quasicrystals”.

  2. Report this comment

    Eatbutthin said:

    congratulations.BOTH the medical and physical prizes awarded are shared by three winners,so Daniel is lucky who can enjoy more than 1 million dollar lonely.

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    Joseph Katz said:

    In an interesting paper in Nature on Islamic tiles you printed “In 1984, they were found in metal alloys called quasi-crystals that seemed to break the geometric rules of atomic packing.” and mentioned Penrose, Lu and Steinhart.Not Shechtman. Now you mention that Shechtman works in Haifa. Which is in Israel. You may know that he was born in Tel Aviv. I would be surprised you let this comment go through. Anyway I felt I had to mention this not to mention more.

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    Mohan Reddy Bodireddy said:

    Congratulations Daniel Shechtman sir, you have proved that everything possible for humanbeing but some times same humanbeings laugh at us.

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