Dan Shechtman Biography
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Born in: Tel Aviv, Israel
Spouse/Ex-: Tzipora Shechtman
children: Ella Shechtman-Cory, Ruth Dougoud-Nevo, Tamar Finkelstein, Yoav Shechtman
City: Tel Aviv, Israel
discoveries/inventions: Discovery Of Quasicrystals
awards: Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2011)
European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) 25th Anniversary Award (2008)
EMET Prize in Chemistry (2002)
Gregori Aminoff Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2000)
Wolf Prize in Physics (1999)
Israel Prize in Physics (1998)
Weizmann Science Award (1993)
Rothschild Prize in Engineering (1990)
Physics Award of the Friedenberg Fund for the Advancement of Science and Education (1986)
Dan Shechtman is an Israeli scientist, who was bestowed with the highly-esteemed Nobel Prize for his discovery of quasiperiodic crystals. Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, he did his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering and Material Engineering, respectively from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and later on completed his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from the same institute. It was at his alma mater that he commenced his career. In 1992, he took a sabbatical for two years and enrolled at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Maryland, America, where he studied the effect of the defect structure of CVD diamond on its growth and properties. It was while at NIST that he first discovered the icosahedral phase, which opened the new field of quasiperiodic crystals. Interestingly, Linus Pauling, two-times Nobel laureate and idol of American Chemical Society, opposed his discovery till the very end against quasi-periodicity in crystals. However, scientists finally approved his discovery, for which he was eventually conferred with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2011.
- Dan Shechtman was born on January 24, 1941 in Tel Aviv, Israel
- Completing his preliminary education and formal training, he enrolled at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology where he gained his BSc degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1966 and later followed it up with MSc in Material Engineering in 1968. In 1972, he finally attained his PhD in Materials Engineering.
- Upon gaining his PhD, for three years, he served as a NRC fellow at the Aerospace Research Laboratories at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, studying the microstructure and physical metallurgy of titanium aluminides.
- In 1975, he went back to his alma mater and joined the Department of Materials Engineering at Technion.
- For two years from 1981 to 1983, he took time out and enrolled at the John Hopkins University where he studied solidified aluminium transition metal alloys. It was while studying at the John Hopkins University that he first discovered the Icosahedral Phase which opened the new field of quasiperiodic crystals.
- Taking yet another sabbatical from Technion, he moved to United States where he enrolled at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for two years, between 1992 and 1994. It was while at the NIST that he studied the effect of the defect structure of CVD diamond on its growth and properties
- He conducted an experiment through which he took a molten glob of aluminium and manganese and chilled it rapidly. Taking the general belief into consideration, the maximum that one could expect was atoms to be clubbed together in a random jumble. However, the findings were otherwise as the atoms were packed in a well-defined pattern. What’s more, the pattern was random and never repeated itself.
- Interestingly, when he first discovered the materials in well-defined patterns, none actually believed him. In fact, two times Nobel laureate and idol of the American Chemical Society, Linus Pauling argued that the same was impossible. It was only after the publication of his paper that scientists began to confirm and accept empirical findings of the existence of quasicrystals.
- His discovery led to a change in the definition of crystal as well. The definition which formerly described crystal as a ‘regularly ordered, repeating three-dimensional pattern’ was changed to ‘a solid with discrete diffraction diagram’ by International Union of Crystallography.
- It was after quasicrystals were discovered by him that similar quasicrystals were discovered. Furthermore, they are also found naturally. Quasicrystals have low thermal and electrical conductivity but have high structural stability.
- Interestingly, quasicrystalline materials could be used in a large number of applications, including the formation of durable steel used for fine instrumentation, and non-stick insulation for electrical wires and cooking equipment.
- In 2004, he joined the Iowa State University as the Professor of Materials Science.
- In 2014, he announced his candidacy for President of Israel. He was endorsed by ten Members of Knesset but at the time of elections was awarded with only one vote.
- Currently, he is the Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, an Associate of the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, and Professor of Materials Science at Iowa State University.
- In 2011, he received Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for the discovery of quasicrystals".
- He tied the nuptial knot with Professor Tzipora Shechtman, Head of the Department of Counselling and Human Development at Haifa University.
- The couple has blessed with four children, one son Yoav Shechtman and three daughters Tamar Finkelstein, Ella Shechtman-Cory and Ruth Dougoud-Nevo
- This discoverer of quasicrystals is one of the six Israelis to have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
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