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Shechtman receives 1999 Wolf Prize

Dan Shechtman (Israel Inst. of Technology in Haifa, Israel) was awarded the 1999 Wolf Prize in Physics “for the experimental discovery of quasicrystals, non-periodic solids having longrange order, which inspired the exploration of a new fundamental state of matter.”

Shechtman discovered macroscopic alloys possessing fivefold symmetry. His claim was initially received with disbelief. Among the novel practical uses of quasicrystalline materials being developed are additives for strengthening steel and aluminum composites and surface coatings for turbine engines and reduced-stick cookware.

The exact structure of these high-symmetry substances remains to be settled, but in the meantime, researchers are investigating quasicrystals’ hardness, corrosion resistance, and other properties and have begun putting them to good use.

Physics Today, March, 1999