Technion Scientist Wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

October 5, 2011
By: Kevin Hattori

Professor Dan Shechtman of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, it was announced today. The Technion is now home to three of the five Israelis in the country’s history to be awarded the Nobel Prize in science.

Prof. Shechtman, of the Technion Department of Materials Engineering, won the award for his discovery of quasicrystals – an entirely new form of matter. The discovery has important implications for development of high-strength, low-friction surfaces and thin quasicrystalline film with unique thermal and electrical transport properties.

Prof. Dan Shechtman, 2011 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry

Prof. Dan Shechtman, 2011 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry

“That an Israeli has once again been awarded a Nobel Prize is a mark of distinction for Israeli science in general and for the Technion,” said Technion President Peretz Lavie. “And the fact that this is the second Nobel Prize in the sciences for Technion researchers in the last 8 years is a clear indicator of the world-class research being done there.”

Israelis have won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1966, in peace in 1978 and 1994, economics in 2002 and 2005, and chemistry in 2004, 2009 and 2011.

More than 40 scientific books have been dedicated to quasiperiodic crystals, and hundreds of materials are known to exist with the structure discovered by Prof. Shechtman. In the wake of his discovery and its proof, the International Society of Crystallographers changed its basic definition of a crystal.

Prof. Shechtman’s Nobel prize follows many other prestigious awards including the Aminoff Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2000), Wolf Foundation Prize in Physics (1999), Israel Prize in Physics (1998), Weizmann prize in Science (1993), Rothschild Prize in Engineering (1990) and International Award for New Materials of the American Physical Society (1987). He is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

American Technion Society President Joel Rothman said the prize underscores the Technion’s world-class ranking as well as the importance to that ranking of the major support provided by the organization. The American Technion Society Philadelphia Chapter supported the Center for the Study of New Concepts in Materials Science and Technology, founded and directed by Prof. Shechtman, as well as the Louis Edelstein Center for the Investigation of Materials with Quasi-Periodic Structure. ATS Women’s Division member Clara Reiss of New York provided additional major funding for Prof. Shechtman’s laboratory, and the New England Region recognized him with the 1988 New England Academic Award of the Technion, established to help young faculty.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is consistently ranked among the world’s leading science and technology universities. Home to three of the country’s five winners of the Nobel Prize in science, the Technion commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in nanotechnology, computer science, biotechnology, energy, water-resource management, medicine, drug development, and aerospace. Headquartered in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) promotes scientific and technological research and education at the Technion.