Prof. Daniel Schechtman Receives Nobel Prize, Gold Medal

December 10, 2011  

Israel’s Professor Dan Schechtman was honored Saturday night by King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden, who awarded a gold medal to the Technion Institute researcher, part of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, in a ceremony that began at 5:30 p.m. local time.

Schechtman is being honored for his discovery of quasicrystals — a pattern in the atom that was previously thought to be impossible.

Schechtman traveled to Stockholm with his wife Tzipi, four children and four of his nine grandchildren, as well as his brother and his niece to receive the Nobel Prize, which includes $1.5 million, in the special ceremony. Technion President Peretz Lavie was also present, as was Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu congratulated the professor, Israel’s 10th Nobel laureate, on receiving the award.

“The people of Israel are proud of you,” Netanyahu said. “Your achievement is a source of pride for an entire nation.”

At the ceremony, the head of the Nobel Peace Prize selection committee took the opportunity to warn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the “wind of history” is about to overtake him.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has charged Assad with crimes against humanity, ruling that he is personally responsible for the horrific actions of his troops carried out against the thousands of citizens murdered, wounded and tortured over the past nine months in an effort to end anti-government protests. The U.N. has estimated that more than four thousands Syrians have died in the government crackdowns.

Thorbjoern Jagland told the gathering, “No dictator can in the long run find shelter from this wind of history. Not even [Yemeni] President [Ali Abdullah] Saleh was able to, and President Assad in Syria will not be able to resist the people’s demand for freedom and human rights,” Jagland said.

“The leaders in Yemen and Syria who murder their people to retain their own power should take note of the following: mankind’s fight for freedom and human rights never stops,” the Nobel prize official said.

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