An Israeli scientist, Dr. Dan Shechtman just won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of “quasicrystals”. Most of us do not and will not ever understand what this gentleman did. The fact that we don’t and won’t is a shame. In the US science is what we should be doing — not one-upping each other in politics or studying and re-studying religious mythology.
I’ll skip the “quasicrystals”. What struck me as really interesting was what he had to go through before he had “believers”. Initially his discovery was disbelieved by members of his scientific community in both the USA and Israel (he conducted experiments in both locations). He experienced several years in which he was referred as a “quasi scientist” by members of the scientific community. He was actually laughed at. But he persevered.
After years in which he refined his techniques and others were able to perform the experiments and consistently get the same results the laughter stopped. His discovery was accepted by the scientific community and he is now recognized as a giant in his field.
In 2004 Dr. Shechtman joined the Iowa State faculty in the USA.
Dr. Shechtman’s story is quite interesting and provides a lesson for us all. Extraordinary observations — whether in religion or science — require extraordinary proof. We all know that, don’t we?
Dr. Shechtman’s discovery was, at first, not believed, but, after providing overwhelming proof he will go down in history as one of the world’s great scientists — and a Nobel Laureate.
Congratulations Dr. Shechtman.