Nobel Laureate Daniel Shechtman at PLIVA
During his visit to Zagreb on 19 April 2013, Prof. Daniel Shechtman, the 2011 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, held a very interesting lecture about quasicrystals at PLIVA's Research Institute.
In a listener-friendly way, Prof. Shechtman talked about his discovery, crowned by many awards and almost thirty years later, i.e. in 2011, by the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He presented his research which changed the way chemists and physicists view solid state chemistry.
This seventy-year old professor emeritus works at the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
When in 1982 he discovered a crystal in which the atoms were packed in a pattern that could not be repeated, and which had been considered as impossible until then, Shechtman had to fight a fierce battle against established science. It took almost thirty years for the shift in paradigm and the recognition of his discovery.
During his research Prof. Shechtman noticed solids with five-fold symmetry axis and called them quasicrystals.
At the beginning, the majority of scientists did not attribute any importance to this discovery. He was a subject of ridicule among many renowned scientists, and even called a quasiscientist. Despite fierce opposition from his colleagues, Prof. Shechtman continued his research, struggled with dogma and finally forced chemists to reconsider their conception of the very nature of matter. Nowadays, quasicrystals are an accepted phenomenon.
In his inspiring speech, Prof. Shechtman emphasized that great discoveries require an exceptional self-confidence and confidence in one's own work, and that true scientists have to be modest because "A good scientist is a modest scientist."