The Academy honored Shechtman for the discovery of "quasicrystals" – patterns in atoms which were thought impossible, adding that Shechtman's discovery in 1982 had fundamentally changed the way chemists look at solid matter.
Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman (Photo: AFP)
"Contrary to the previous belief that atoms were packed inside crystals in symmetrical patterns, Shechtman showed that the atoms in a crystal could be packed in a pattern that could not be repeated," the RSAS said.
"His discovery was extremely controversial. In the course of defending his findings, he was asked to leave his research group. However, his battle eventually forced scientists to reconsider their conception of the very nature of matter," it said.
Controversial and groundbreaking. Shechtman
Shechtman, 70, is a distinguished professor at the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie congratulated Shechtman on his win.
"This is a day of celebration not just for the Technion but for the entire State of Israel. We are very excited. We always knew that Prof. Shechtman's discoveries changed the face of science, and it was clear to us that he would win the desired prize at some point. We are happy that it happened this year."
Lavie described Shechtman as a "very unique scientist": "On the one hand his exceptional international status, but on the other hand he's one of the must beloved and modest people in the Technion. We heard of his win just like everyone else. The tension was high and within a few minutes the news of his win spread like wild fire," said Lavie.
In Your Face, BDS!!