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Dan Shechtman interview: What is the biggest challenge for a scientist with a new idea that contradicts the prevailing paradigm?

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First of all, in order to make any discovery, you have to be an expert in something. This is what I tell the students: become experts! Now! Start now! Find a field that interests you, learn about it, read about it, search it – on the internet, in books. Talk to professors who are experts in this subject, and become an expert yourself! If you are an expert, and you know what’s allowed in your field... ...and what’s not allowed in your field, then, when you make a discovery, you know that you’ve made a discovery! If you are not an expert, you don’t know that you’ve made a discovery. So this is number one. Number two, you have to believe in your science. You have to trust your experiments. Science is basically experimental, more so than theoretical. If you have done your experiments well, and you are a professional, then you can protect your ideas. Then you can answer tough questions and then you can convince people. Be open to criticism, talk to people. But if nobody comes with hard evidence that your experiments are wrong, then you are right! Continue to fight for it. Continue to protect it. So you have to have some tenacity. Also, when you find something, hold on to it. Don’t give up. Don’t forget it, don’t give up, don’t just file it and go away. Work on it. Try to convince people. Try to convince yourself that you are right. Try to attack it in a new direction, use different instruments to study the same phenomenon. And then, when you’re an expert, and you have tenacity, you don’t give up, and you believe in yourself, then you have to have some courage, because when a young man finds something new... ...and he is early in his academic career, usually, and there are threats that he will not be promoted – well, never mind. Just be strong, walk tall and protect your findings.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 30 seconds
Country: Sweden
Language: English
Producer: MoleCluesTV
Director: Per Thorén
Views: 107
Posted by: locumele on Jan 23, 2012

Nobel Prize winner Dan Shechtman interviewed for MoleClues. Entire interview available on

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