From ridicule to Nobel: The quasi-crystals of Daniel Shechtman
November 8, 2011 1:00 PM Subscribe
In 1982, Daniel Shechtman was on sabbatical at Johns Hopkins University studying aluminum-manganese alloys, and discovered that the resulting crystalline patterns of the alloy resulted in five-way symmetry, much like the famed Penrose Tiles. The resulting publication of these "quasicrystals" resulted in scathing ridicule from most of the scientific community, including Linus Pauling saying "There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists.", and his research director claiming he had "Brought disgrace" upon their program. However, by 1987 he had managed to grow large enough crystals to be imaged with electron microscopy, verifying his results. His subsequent studies of quasicrystals eventually earned him the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
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