Prof. Shechtman in Stockholm. 'Rare achievement'
Photo courtesy of Technion
Shechtman family's future generation
Photo: Reuters

Prof. Shechtman gets 'royal treatment'

Israeli professor's career to reach its peak Saturday evening when he receives Nobel Prize in Chemistry from Sweden's king. Ceremony to be broadcast live on Ynet starting 5:30 pm

One man against all odds: The story of Prof. Dan Shechtman, the Israeli winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has already been defined as "an excellent foundation for a Hollywood film." This script will become a reality Saturday evening, as Shechtman bows to Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and receives the gold medal from him, alongside a prize worth $1.5 million.


The Nobel Award Ceremony will be broadcast life on Ynet starting 5:30 pm.


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Shechtman, the 11th Israeli to receive the prestigious prize, is in Sweden with his wife Tzipi, four children, four of his nine grandchildren, his brother and niece. He is also being escorted by Technion President Peretz Lavie and Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz.


On Saturday morning, Shechtman and the other Nobel laureates took part in a general rehearsal ahead of the ceremony.

שכטמן וקרוביו בשטוקוהולם (צילום: באדיבות דוברות הטכניון) 

Shechtman and family in Stockholm (photo courtesy of Technion)


Technion Spokesperson Amos Levav, who has been escorting Shechtman in Sweden, told Ynet that the Israeli researcher was getting the royal treatment.


"It's simply a celebration. He's been receiving the royal treatment like all Nobel laureates," said Levav. "Shechtman is a very restrained person, you don't see him jumping up with excitement, but he did do a little dance when he heard the song written in honor of his award."

חגיגות מרגשות בשבדיה (צילום: באדיבות דוברות הטכניון) 

Celebrating in Sweden (photo courtesy of Technion)


Over the weekend, Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Benny Dagan hosted a festive reception in honor of Shechtman in the presence of dozens of guests, including the Nobel winner's family members.


Dagan and Minister Hershkowitz congratulated Shechtman, who thanked them warmly.

משפחת שכטמן המורחבת באקדמיה השבדית למדעים (צילום: דוברות הטכניון) 

Shechtman family Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (photo courtesy of Technion)


Later, Shechtman delivered a lecture at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. He also met with 85 Swedish economic leaders and discussed ways to teach entrepreneurship and technological innovation.


Shechtman told the participants that Sweden and Israel were similar, both being small populations with entrepreneurship and technology.


He went on to attend different events hosted by the local Jewish community, including a reception at the home of Stockholm's chief rabbi.

שכטמן במסיבת עיתונאים בשבדיה. סוף שבוע גדוש (צילום: EPA) 

Press conference in Sweden. Busy weekend (Photo: EPA)


Before Saturday's ceremony, the Israeli laureate took part in a Kiddush blessing in the Swedish capital's main synagogue and received the Jewish community's congratulations.


The ceremony will be followed by the traditional royal ball, after which Shechtman plans to attend a major student party at Stockholm University. He will remain in Sweden for a week and a half, during which he will deliver a series of lectures on entrepreneurship.

שכטמן וראש הממשלה. גאווה ישראלית (צילום: עמוס בן גרשום, לע"מ) 

With Prime Minister Netanyahu. Israeli pride (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO)


The Technion president said this was the second time in the past seven years that he traveled to Sweden for this joyous occasion. In 2004, as the institutions vice president, he escorted Prof. Aaron Ciechanover and Prof. Avram Hershko, who also won the prestigious prize in the chemistry category.


"This is a rare achievement for the Technion, celebrating a third Nobel Prize within such a short period of time," Lavie said. "We are very proud to be among the small number of universities in the world which can take pride in such an achievement.


"There is no doubt that Shechtman's long road to the Nobel Prize is like a fascinating Hollywood story. Against all odds and despite all the criticism directed at him, he went on to prove that he was right.


"People keep asking us how we do it. Our answer is with a small budget, but with a lot of determination and love for science."


Shechtman is being honored for the discovery of "quasicrystals" – patterns in atoms which were thought impossible, adding that Shechtman's discovery in 1982 had fundamentally changed the way chemists look at solid matter.


"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 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences explained its decision.


"His discovery was extremely controversial. In the course of defending his findings, he was asked to leave his research group. However, his battle eventually forced scientists to reconsider their conception of the very nature of matter."


Gil Naveh contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 12.10.11, 13:25
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