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vgeorge
+1
Posts: 273
Some of you may be interested in the following:

iconNew-York-Times:

Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for a discovery that faced skepticism and mockery, even prompting his expulsion from his U.S. research team, before it won widespread acceptance as a fundamental breakthrough.
...
Since then, quasicrystals have been produced in laboratories and a Swedish company found them in one of the most durable kinds of steel, which is now used in products such as razor blades and thin needles made specifically for eye surgery, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said. ...


More here: Israeli Wins Chemistry Nobel for Quasicrystals
George
------
Proud owner of Franz Kline Coticule from Ardennes via Bart
Hoping for Edge, Working on Bevel. © 2010
2011-10-05 16:02
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Toff
From: United States
Posts: 240
Thank you! It was a good read and I again learned something.
~Richard
"Life is a journey between birth and death, preferably undertaken with panache!""
2011-10-05 16:20
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Matt
Associate
From: Poland
Posts: 1047
That's an interesting read. Especially the part about the struggle against those who stubbornly refused to accept something that was against their knowledge and beliefs (not the first, nor surely the last time it happens :)).

I also moved the thread to the Miscellaneous section, if you don't mind, Sir. :)

regards,
Matt
"Very interesting indeed :) I did something similar with cheese a while ago" - Dr Ralfson
2011-10-05 16:52
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Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
A great read, though I wish there would have been a more torough explanation of the discovery.

Thanks for sharing,

Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2011-10-05 19:59
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Dr Ralfson Bwhahaha (tat2Ralfy)
Associate
Posts: 3610
My favourite quote from the article is:
"He really was a great scientist, but he was wrong. It's not the first time he was wrong,"

The word "but" in that sentence sort of sums it up for me, IMHO a good scientist should have a completely open mind, however they should also be able to differentiate between a possible discovery, and a complete waste of time, something that is very very difficult to do at times

Just how I see it

Regards
Ralfson (Dr)
We Are All Pioneers In Our Own Right.
The Infamous Coticule Crew
Pip Pip Old Bean
2011-10-05 20:15
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vgeorge
+1
Posts: 273
I too wanted to know a bit more - search mostly comes up with high physics that is indecipherable (for me).

I liked parts of this article from The Industrial Physicist, which you can see here and had this:

iconQuote:
... Still one can reasonably argue that Sandvik Steel’s alloy, which is made into surgical and acupuncture needles and dental reamers, is the first bonafide commercial application.

Sandvik, of course, is the firm in Sweden.

There are some interesting details and pictures in the Wikipedia article on Quasicrystal.

Here is the stunning stuff: Decagonal and Quasicrystalline Tilings in Medieval Islamic Architecture
iconQuote:
The conventional view holds that girih (geometric star-and-polygon) patterns in medieval Islamic architecture were conceived by their designers as a network of zigzagging lines, where the lines were drafted directly with a straightedge and a compass. We show that by 1200 C.E. a conceptual breakthrough occurred in which girih patterns were reconceived as tessellations of a special set of equilateral polygons (girih tiles) decorated with lines. These tiles enabled the creation of increasingly complex periodic girih patterns, and by the 15th century, the tessellation approach was combined with self-similar transformations to construct nearly perfect quasi-crystalline Penrose patterns, five centuries before their discovery in the West.



P.S. Matt, no problem about moving at all - this indeed is a better home.
George
------
Proud owner of Franz Kline Coticule from Ardennes via Bart
Hoping for Edge, Working on Bevel. © 2010
2011-10-06 05:07
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altshaver
Posts: 90
The scientist and two-time Noble Laureate that Dr. Shechtman is referring to is Dr. Linus Pauling, one of the most important scientists in human history. Science is basically a human-created methodology for understanding nature, or the truth, as only humans can understand it. As with anything that has to do with human beings, the practice of Science is far from perfect. Competition, money, and ego, among other things, prevent Science and the people who practice it from being perfect. One irony of this story is that it may be Pauling's heavy criticism of quasicrystals that lead to Dr. Shechtman's Noble Prize in Chemistry.

Of the Nobel Prize: There is a Chapter in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! - Adventures of a Curious Character (This is a great read by the way.), a book about another famous and important scientist, that is entitled Alfred Nobel's Other Mistake. In my opinion, scientific awards like the Noble Prize ruin the integrity of Science and amplify the competition, money, and ego aspects of the Scientific Pursuit. The Noble Peace Prize is a different matter to me, as I believe it has the power to give exposure to problems in the world that just are not apparent to most people.

I must say that I am happy for Dr. Shechtman, though. He is a professor at my Alma Mater, and that will only raise the fortunes of my previous university. It is also nice to see that a truth can overcome adversity from even the most impressive adversaries.
[Last edited by altshaver, 2011-10-07 08:39]
2011-10-07 01:34
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vgeorge
+1
Posts: 273
Wonderful to know that your alma mater would also get a glow from Shechtman's recognition.

Yes, Pauling by all accounts was astonishingly bright, but a difficult and self-certain man. Competition, and the like, seems to be always a double-edged sword. It can be very beneficial up to a point, and beyond that very destructive.

I am curious still about quasicrystallinity on razor edges! Beyond advanced commercial products, is that what we (at least partially) get at the edges of straight razors from stropping (which to my knowledge has least science-based and reliable explanation among all the sharpening activities)? Some kind of quasicrystalline 'order' beyond a thin edge?

The Industrial Physicist says the following:

iconQuote:
Pinpointing the first instance of the commercial use of quasicrystals is a bit tricky, because there were some early “stealth” applications. Dan Shechtman of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Haifa, Israel), who discovered quasicrystals, remarked in passing that 1890—an aluminum–lithium alloy, developed by Alcan Aluminium Limitée in Montreal, that is now one of three standard aluminum–lithium alloys used in the aerospace industry—sometimes contains quasicrystalline precipitates.


Quasicrystals have been hiding in plane sight.
George
------
Proud owner of Franz Kline Coticule from Ardennes via Bart
Hoping for Edge, Working on Bevel. © 2010
2011-10-07 17:52