One of the world’s top awards in science is going to an Iowa State University professor. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2011 is being handed to Danny Shechtman, a professor in I.S.U.’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
Shechtman is credited with discovering what are called quasi-crystals and spearheaded research in crystallography and in the repeating atomic structure of crystals.
I.S.U. chemistry professor Pat Thiel, says Shechtman persisted in his work, even though it was widely criticized at first. “Danny stood his ground,” Theil says. “He said, ‘Look, I observed what I observed. The atoms are arranging themselves in this way.’ As a result, the textbooks were rewritten, scientific terms were redefined. Eventually, Danny won.”
Shechtman is 70 and divides his time between Ames and the Israel Institute of Technology. He’s worked for Iowa State and the Ames Lab since 2004.