An Israeli Scientist has won the Nobel Prize for chemistry. Dan Shechtman was awarded the prize for his work on quasicrystals – a form of crystal where the atoms are ordered, but not repeating. The story proves that long held scientific beliefs can be overturned in an instant.
Prior to the mid 80’s, the scientific community was certain quasicrystals were impossible. The president of the American Chemical Society, Nancy B. Jackson said Shechtman’s discovery was “one of these great scientific discoveries that go against the rules. People didn’t think that this kind of crystal existed. They thought it was against the rules of nature.” Shechtman was eventually asked to leave his research group and join another after failing to convince his colleagues.
Later, in 1987, he was vindicated by a group of friends who verified his work with an electron microscope. Research in the field of quasicrystals exploded after Shechtman published his first paper on the topic in 1984. His story serves as a stark warning to those who claim scientific results trump faith positions – how many other established “rules of nature” will be overturned in the future? The eroding support for the Theory of Evolution comes to mind…
This story also has something to say about the diversity of Bible opinion. From time to time, critics of the Bible will point to differing interpretations of some Bible passage or the large number of Christian denominations as evidence that the Bible is not from God. If the Bible were written by God (and clear), wouldn’t everyone come to the same conclusion? Certainly an all powerful God would make that happen. Shechtman’s experience show’s that life is a process. Sometimes we understand all the clues and can make the right interpretation, sometimes we can’t – and sometimes we don’t want to. An incorrect interpretation doesn’t make the thing we’re studying incorrect, it makes the interpreter incorrect.
On Dec 10th, Shechtman will receive his prize along with the other award winners in Sweden. This marks the 10th time an Israeli has won the award since 1966. Although that number pales in comparison to the 116 prizes the United Kingdom has won or the 331 the United States has won, it’s extremely impressive considering Israel didn’t become a country until 1948 and only has a population of about 7.8 million people.
Source: Fox News – Israeli Scientist Wins Nobel Chemistry Prize for ‘Quasicrystals’