Shechtman wins 2011 chemistry Nobel for atom pattern work

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 05, 2011 6:13 AM
Shechtman wins 2011 chemistry Nobel for atom pattern work

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman won the 2011 Nobel Prize for chemistry for discovering patterns in atoms which were thought impossible and whose work provoked controversy, the prize committee said on Wednesday.

The Nobel Committee for Chemistry at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Shechtman had discovered "quasicrystals," which it said were like "fascinating mosaics of the Arabic world reproduced at the level of atoms" and which never repeated themselves.

Up until then, scientists had thought the atom patterns inside crystals had to repeat themselves.

The prize of 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.45 million) was the third of this year's Nobel prizes, following awards for medicine on Monday and for physics on Tuesday. ($1 = 6.916 Swedish Crowns)

(Reporting by Patrick Lannin and Simon Johnson)