- 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. He was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for the discovery of quasicrystals.
Education and Work Experience
1972, Ph.D. in Materials Engineering at Technion
1975-1998, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, Professor of Department of Materials Engineering at Technion, Haifa, Israel
1998-Present, Distinguished Professor of the Technion
Honors and Awards
1996, Member of the Israel Academy of Sciences. 1999, The Wolf Prize in Physics.
2000, Member of the American National Academy of Engineering. 2011, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Major Academic Achievements
Shechtman was the sole winner of the Nobel prize for chemistry in 2011, for his discovery of seemingly impossible crystal structures in metal alloys. Instead of the regular pattern seen in other crystallised materials, the atoms in his "quasiperiod materials" were arranged so that they were regular but never repeated. It is a type of pattern seen in the tiled Islamic mosaics at the Alhambra Palace in Spain and the Darb-i Imam shrine in Iran, but which had never been thought could exist in nature. His discovery in the early 1980s changed chemistry, but convincing some parts of the establishment was not
easy. Scientists have subsequently found naturally occurring quasi-periodic crystals in minerals in a Russian river and a Swedish steel company found that these types of
crystal were responsible for the strength of some of its ultra-strong steels. Scientists are now working out ways to use quasi-periodic crystals in everything from diesel engines to frying pans.