Dan Shechtman receives Nobel Prize in Stockholm

"It is our duty as scientists to promote education, rational thinking and tolerance."

"On April 8, 1982, I was alone in the electron microscope room when I discovered the Icosahedral Phase that opened the field of quasiperiodic crystals," said Prof. Dan Shechtman at the award ceremony for the Noble Prize in Chemistry for 2011 in Stockholm yesterday. Sweden's King Karl Gustav XVI awarded the prize.

Shechtman is the tenth Israeli to win a Noble Prize. The 70 year old member of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology faculty will receive €1 million.

Shechtman added, "However, today I am joined by many hundreds of enthusiastic scientists worldwide. I stand here as the vanguard of the science of quasi-crystals, but without these dedicated scientists the field would not be where it is today. This supreme recognition of the science we have unveiled over the last quarter century is celebrated by us all."

Shechtman said, "The discovery and the ensuing progress in the field resulted in a paradigm shift in the science of crystallography. A new definition of crystal emerged, one that is beautiful and humble and open to further discoveries. A humble scientist is a good scientist."

Shechtman concluded, "Science is the ultimate tool to reveal the laws of nature and the one word written on its banner is TRUTH. The laws of nature are neither good nor bad. It is the way in which we apply them to our world that makes the difference.

"It is therefore our duty as scientists to promote education, rational thinking and tolerance. We should also encourage our educated youth to become technological entrepreneurs. Those countries that nurture this knowhow will survive future financial and social crises. Let us advance science to create a better world for all."

Asked by a Romanian correspondent, "What is the Technion's secret to win three Nobel Prizes within seven years, "Shechtman replied, "I have been at the Technion for 50 years, and it wasn’t easy for me to get accepted and I had a hard time as a student. On the university's gate an unknown student wrote, 'A city without mercy'."

Earlier Shechtman spoke at the Forum for Innovation Management at the Karl-Adam Bonnier Foundation. "Entrepreneurship education is vital to the survival and growth of a country’s future especially when natural resources are being depleted at an accelerated rate."

He added, "Israel is unique as our students have completed military service where they are already exposed to some of the most sophisticated high-tech in the world. They are also older and more mature when they start their university studies."

Over 25 years, Shechtman has taught 10,000 graduates in his course on technological entrepreneurship, whose guest speakers have included successful and non-successful entrepreneurs and legal, business and marketing experts.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 11, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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