Controversy Dogs Israel’s Latest Nobel Laureate
Professor Daniel Shechtman, based at the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa has won this year’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry for groundbreaking research he did almost 30 years ago.
But when Shechtman first published his discovery of ‘quasicrystals’ in 1982, he was derided by many influential colleagues including double Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling who scoffed:
“Danny Shechtman is talking nonsense. There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists."
And even as Professor Shechtman began to enjoy the accolades showered upon him earlier today, commentators on the British Guardian newspaper’s ‘Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2011 – live blog’ accused the Nobel Award Committee of ‘Zionist bias’. Indeed, several comments have been removed for not abiding by the Guardian’s ‘community standards’.
Since Professor Shechtman’s landmark discovery - which has altered forever the way other chemists look at solid matter - quasicrystals have been produced in laboratories. Moreover and, coincidentally for the Nobel Award committee, a Swedish company found them in one of the most durable kinds of steel, which is now used in products like razor blades and thin needles made for eye surgery.