Iowa State hosts Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman for a three week visit from September 24 to October 14, 2021.
Shechtman studied and earned his PhD in materials from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in 1972 and completed his post doctorate in Dayton, Ohio at the Wright-Patterson Airforce Base. He went on to teach at Technion and worked with the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, during sabbatical Technion. He joined the Iowa State University’s faculty in 2004.
“My main expertise is transmission electron microscopy. I study microstructure using transmission electron microscopes,” said Shechtman. “This took me a long way through my career and this is how I made discoveries.”
Shechtman’s discoveries included the discovery of quasiperiodic material, or quasicrystals, in 1982 while working at NBS. Quasicrystals are materials that do not have any periodically repeated structures. The structure of quasicrystals are mathematically regular and lack translational symmetry.
For this discovery, Shechtman won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2011 which he described as, “being dropped on [his] head.”
Since becoming a Nobel Laureate, Shechtman has retired from Technion, but still leads two research projects there. They are currently working on the development of magnesium for commercial purposes.
“My group has been developing magnesium alloys for the last twenty-so years,” said Scechtman. “It started with defence applications, but then it moved to industrial applications, and then to implant applications in the body.”
Shechtman also gives lectures in 30 cities around the world, during a normal year, and visits Iowa State for three weeks every year.
This year his only trip is to Ames, where his activities include meetings with President Wendy Wintersteen, Dean of Engineering Samuel Easterling and the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Beate Schmittman. Shechtman will also be giving various lectures about his work to classes and organizations on campus.
“I like this place…” said Shechtman, “It’s a good place to come and contribute what I can.”