Shechtman, Daniel S.

Shechtman, Daniel S.,

1941–, Israeli materials scientist, Ph.D. Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), 1972. Shechtman, who joined the faculty at Technion in 1975, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2011 for discovering quasicrystalsquasicrystal
or quasiperiodic solid,
solid body that exhibits such crystalline features as symmetry and repeating patterns of unit cells (regular arrangements of atoms, molecules, or ions) but—unlike a crystal—requires more than one type of unit cell to
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, a mosaiclike chemical structure characterized by patterns that are regular but never repeat themselves; this discovery fundamentally altered how chemists conceive of solid matter. Shechtman discovered quasicrystals in 1982 in working with rapidly solidified aluminum transition metal alloys while on sabbatical at Johns Hopkins and the U.S. National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology). Researchers at the time, however, believed that a quasicrystalline structure was impossible, and he was asked to leave his research group. Other scientists have since produced quasicrystals in the lab and also have found them in nature.
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