Daniel Shechtman wins 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Israeli Scientist Daniel Shechtman won the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for his discovery of quasicrystals, a mosaic-like chemical structure that researchers previously thought was impossible. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Shechtman's discovery in 1982 fundamentally changed the way chemists look at solid matter. It initially faced strong objections from the scientific community, and even got him kicked out of his research group. Contrary to the previous belief that atoms were packed inside crystals in symmetrical patterns, Shechtman showed that the atoms in a crystal could be packed in a pattern that could not be repeated, the academy said. He was studying a mix of aluminum and manganese in his microscope when he found a pattern -similar to Islamic mosaics that never repeated itself and appeared contrary to the laws of nature.
Immune system researchers Bruce Beutler of the US and Frenchman Jules Hoffmann shared the medicine prize Monday with Canadian-born Ralph Steinman, who died three days before the announcement. U.S.-born scientists Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess won the physics prize on Tuesday for discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace. The 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) Nobel Prizes are handed out every year on Dec. 10, the anniversary of award founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.