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Dan Shechtman interview: What happened in the years following your discovery?

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Well, you can divide that period of time into several time periods. First, after my discovery between1982, and late 1983 or beginning of 1984, the community reacted mainly negatively to my findings... ...and the reaction varied from encouragement to total rejection. But nobody joined forces with me to really find out what we had. And then, in 1984, one person... ...who was a professor at Technion, his name is Ilan Blech, joined forces with me... elucidate the structure and he proposed a model, and then we sent the paper for publication late in 1984. The paper was rejected, and I sent it to another journal, and then it was published. But it was published months later, deep into 1985. In the mean time, other scientists joined forces with us – John Cahn and Denis Gratias. We wrote a short paper without the model that Ilan Blech proposed, and that paper was published in PRL – Physical Review Letters – very quickly, and that is the paper that opened the field, really. After that, a growing group of scientists around the world – mainly young scientists – joined forces and made the field great. They discovered more materials and discovered more structures... ...and really started to find out what the properties of these materials are, and what their structure is. That continued until 1987, because in 1987 the International Union of Crystallography... ...accepted quasiperiodic materials into the realm of crystals. Before that, they did not accept it. They did not accept it because we did not have X-ray diffraction results. The science of crystallography, as the name says, was X-ray crystallography. They wanted X-ray results, and we had only electron microscopy results. In 1987 – I did not do that, some friends of mine in France and in Japan did – we had the first X-ray result from a single crystal. And the reason we had to wait for three years for that... that they had to grow large enough quasiperiodic materials... that they could take X-ray diffraction from a single crystal. In 1987, most of the community accepted quasicrystals... ...and an official announcement was made and a new definition, which was a paradigm shift, a new definition of crystals emerged.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 6 seconds
Country: Sweden
Language: English
Producer: MoleCluesTV
Director: Per Thorén
Views: 62
Posted by: locumele on Jan 23, 2012

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

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