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Israeli Scientist Shechtman Wins 2011 Nobel Chemistry Prize

Israeli chemist Daniel Shechtman

Israeli chemist Daniel Shechtman

Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman has been named as the 2011 Nobel laureate for chemistry.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in announcing the award winner on October 5 said Shechtman had discovered "quasicrystals" -- patterns of atoms which were thought impossible and thus "fundamentally changed how chemists conceive of solid matter."

The Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, Lars Thelander, maintained that the discovery has enriched many fields of science.

"Before Shechtman, crystals were considered to be made out of atoms packed in regularly ordered, repeating three-dimensional patterns," he said. "Today, we know that those patterns do not have to repeat themselves."

The prize of 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.45 million) was the third of this year's Nobel prizes, following awards for medicine on October 3 and for physics on October 4.