Plenary Session

Danny Shechtman

Danny Shechtman - Technion, Haifa, Israel, and Iowa State University

Monday, November 26
6:30 pm
Sheraton Boston Hotel, 2nd Floor, Grand Ballroom

Danny Shechtman (view biography)
Technion, Haifa, Israel, and Iowa State University

Talk Presentation (view abstract)
Quasicrystals: Discovery, Structure, Properties and Uses


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Danny Shechtman Biography

After receiving his doctorate from the Technion in Haifa, Israel, Danny Shechtman was an NRC fellow at the Aerospace Research Laboratories of Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, where for three years he studied the microstructure and physical metallurgy of titanium aluminides. In 1975, he joined the Department of Materials Engineering at Technion, where he is currently a distinguished professor. Between 1981 and 2004, he visited Johns Hopkins University several times on sabbatical as part of a joint program with NBS-NIST. During this period, he discovered TEM the Icosahedral Phase, which opened the new science of quasiperiodic crystals and performed research on other subjects.

As of 2004, he is also a professor at MSE and Ames Lab at Iowa State University. His current research efforts center on developing strong and ductile magnesium alloys for a variety of applications and deformation mechanisms in B2 intermetallics.

Shechtman is a member of several academies, including the National Academy of Engineering, and he is an honorary member of professional societies around the globe. He has been awarded many prizes, including the Wolf Prize in Physics, the Gregori Aminoff Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the EMRS award and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. 

Quasicrystals: Discovery, Structure, Properties and Uses

Crystallography has been one of the mature sciences. Over the years, the modern science of crystallography that started by experimenting with x-ray diffraction from crystals in 1912 has developed a major paradigm – that all crystals are ordered and periodic. Indeed, this was the basis for the definition of “crystal” in textbooks of crystallography and x-ray diffraction. Based upon a vast number of experimental data, constantly improving research tools and deepening theoretical understanding of the structure of crystalline materials, no revolution was anticipated in our understanding the atomic order of solids.
However, such revolution did happen with the discovery of the Icosahedral phase, the first quasi-periodic crystal (QC) in 1982 and its announcement in 1984. QCs are ordered materials, but their atomic order is quasiperiodic rather than periodic, enabling formation of crystal symmetries, such as icosahedral symmetry, which cannot exist in periodic materials. The discovery created deep cracks in this paradigm, but the acceptance by the crystallographers' community of the new class of ordered crystals did not happen in one day. In fact it took almost a decade for QC order to be accepted by most crystallographers. The official stamp of approval came in a form of a new definition of “crystal” by the International Union of Crystallographers. The paradigm that all crystals are periodic has thus been changed. It is clear now that although most crystals are ordered and periodic, a good number of them are ordered and quasi-periodic.
While believers and nonbelievers were debating, a large volume of experimental and theoretical studies was published, a result of a relentless effort of many groups around the world. Quasi-periodic materials have developed into an exciting interdisciplinary science.

This talk outlined the discovery of QCs and discussed their structure as well as some of their properties and uses.

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