: Top politicians lined up to praise Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman for winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called to congratulate him in the name of all Israeli citizens, saying that the win “reflects the intellect of our people. Every citizen in Israel is happy today and every Jew in the world is proud.”
Shechtman is a professor at the century-old Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (http://www1.technion.ac.il/en) in Haifa. He’s also a professor at Iowa State University and is an associate of the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, housed at the university and dedicated to researching solutions to energy-related problems through chemical, engineering, materials, mathematical and physical sciences.
Shechtman, now 70 years old, has described quasicrystals as resembling “fascinating mosaics of the Arabic world reproduced at the level of atoms.” This refers to the quasicrystalline-patterned tiling found in two medieval mosques.
His new understanding came to be well respected and has had broad scientific and also practical implications, according to the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, because the unique structure of these particles could help make better frying pans, LED lights and diesel engines.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni echoed the sentiment in a statement, saying, “Professor Shechtman’s Nobel winning is a matter of pride for the State of Israel and the entire Jewish nation.”
“There’s no end to the pride of today’s great achievements,” Livni continued, “but it is upon us to expand and invest in education and higher education to continue developing Israel’s human capital.”
President Shimon Peres told Shechtman, “If you had asked me what else Israel needs, I would have said another Nobel Prize.”
In a statement, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “This is a day of celebration, pride and great honor for Professor Shechtman, his originality and his perseverance.”
He continued on to say groundbreaking research was “further evidence of the rare human resource that exists in Israel and the keystone of our national strength.”
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar called Shechtman’s achievements “a source of great pride for the higher education system and the entire State of Israel.” Sa’ar told the Technion scientist that, “The future of the State of Israel will be ensured by research on the highest level.”
Shechtman discovered quasicrystals, which have mathematical non-repeating patterns. His discovery flew in the face of conventional scientific wisdom at the time that crystals contained only repeating patterns.
Shechtman was born 1941 in Tel Aviv, and earned his Ph.D. at the Technion in 1972. He is the tenth Israeli or Israeli-born scientist to win a Nobel Prize, and the third to win for chemistry.
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