"Impossible" quasicrystals

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"Impossible" quasicrystals

Unread postby MrAmsterdam » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:40 am

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111005/ ... 1.572.html

A materials scientist who discovered crystals with structures that many believed to be impossible — and who stubbornly held his ground against fierce opposition — has claimed this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

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"It took an enormous amount of courage for Danny to stick to his claim," says Veit Elser, a physicist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

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It took two years for Shechtman to get his discovery published. His work was scorned by luminaries including double-Nobel-prizewinning chemist Linus Pauling, but after it was published, other examples of the crystals flooded in from around the globe. In 2009, researchers reported finding the quasicrystal structure in an alloy of aluminium, copper and iron, acquired by an Italian museum in 1990 but reported to have come from 200-million-year-old rocks in the Koryak Mountains in Russia2.

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"The discovery of quasicrystals has taught us humility," writes Sven Lidin, an inorganic chemist at Stockholm University and a member of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry.

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Others did their best to persuade him that his discovery was wrong. "I told everyone who was ready to listen that I had a material with pentagonal symmetry. People just laughed at me," Shechtman told Haaretz magazine in a profile earlier this year. He was asked to leave his research group, he says.

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When the paper did come out, recalls Elser, "everybody was incredulous. This was what the textbooks had told them wasn't possible." Researchers around the world rushed to confirm the findings. Like Shechtman, they melted alloys of aluminium and manganese and put them onto a cold surface. The same diffraction pattern emerged.

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"Given the relative simplicity of making these materials, it's certain that the five-fold patterns had been seen by numerous scientists before Shechtman, who dismissed them because they didn't fit the rigid rules of crystallography," says Elser.

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Indeed, such 'aperiodic' five-fold structures had been described by mathematicians many decades before — most famously by British mathematician Roger Penrose. Related complex designs are found in Islamic art and architecture.

"Breaking the symmetry laws that we as crystallographers are educated on was difficult to accept," says Ada Yonath


Do not trust your textbooks, but do trust your own eyes (empiricism)...
Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality. -Nikola Tesla -1934
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Re: "Impossible" quasicrystals

Unread postby Sparky » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:32 am

Some things that caught my eye, in bold and highlighted.

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111005/ ... 1.572.html

A materials scientist who discovered crystals with structures that many believed to be impossible — and who stubbornly held his ground against fierce opposition — has claimed this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

-

"It took an enormous amount of courage for Danny to stick to his claim," says Veit Elser, a physicist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

-

It took two years for Shechtman to get his discovery published. His work was scorned by luminaries including double-Nobel-prizewinning chemist Linus Pauling, but after it was published, other examples of the crystals flooded in from around the globe. In 2009, researchers reported finding the quasicrystal structure in an alloy of aluminium, copper and iron, acquired by an Italian museum in 1990 but reported to have come from 200-million-year-old rocks in the Koryak Mountains in Russia2.

-

"The discovery of quasicrystals has taught us humility," writes Sven Lidin, an inorganic chemist at Stockholm University and a member of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry.

-

Others did their best to persuade him that his discovery was wrong. "I told everyone who was ready to listen that I had a material with pentagonal symmetry. People just laughed at me," Shechtman told Haaretz magazine in a profile earlier this year. He was asked to leave his research group, he says.

-

When the paper did come out, recalls Elser, "everybody was incredulous. This was what the textbooks had told them wasn't possible." Researchers around the world rushed to confirm the findings. Like Shechtman, they melted alloys of aluminium and manganese and put them onto a cold surface. The same diffraction pattern emerged.

-

"Given the relative simplicity of making these materials, it's certain that the five-fold patterns had been seen by numerous scientists before Shechtman, who dismissed them because they didn't fit the rigid rules of crystallography," says Elser.

-

Indeed, such 'aperiodic' five-fold structures had been described by mathematicians many decades before — most famously by British mathematician Roger Penrose. Related complex designs are found in Islamic art and architecture.

"Breaking the symmetry laws that we as crystallographers are educated on was difficult to accept," says Ada Yonath
"It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong."
"Doubt is not an agreeable condition, but certainty is an absurd one."
"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire
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Re: "Impossible" quasicrystals

Unread postby tayga » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:22 pm

Much deserved, unlike the Dark Energy BS.

Danny Schechtman is fortunate he works in an area where facts are still senior to theory.
tayga


It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

- Richard P. Feynman

Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none.
- Thomas Kuhn
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Re: "Impossible" quasicrystals

Unread postby MrAmsterdam » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:37 am

Impossible crystals are 'from space'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16393296

Examples of a crystal previously thought to be impossible in nature may have come from space, a study shows.

Quasicrystals have an unusual structure - in between those of crystals and glasses.

Until two years ago, quasicrystals had only been created in the lab - then geologists found them in rocks from Russia's Koryak mountains.

In PNAS journal, a team says the chemistry of the Russian crystals suggests they arrived in meteorites.

Quasicrystals were first described in the 1980s by Israeli researcher Daniel Schechtman, who was awarded last year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery.

Schechtman's ideas were initially treated with doubt or scorn by some of his peers, who thought the structures were "impossible".

Rule breaker
Quasicrystals break some of the rules of symmetry that apply to conventional crystalline structures. They also exhibit different physical and electrical properties.

In 2009, Luca Bindi, from the University of Florence, Italy, and his colleagues reported finding quasicrystals in mineral samples from the Koryak mountains in Russia's far east.

The mineral - an alloy of aluminum, copper, and iron - showed that quasicrystals could form and remain stable under natural conditions. But the natural process that created the structures remained an open question.

Now, Dr Bindi, Paul Steinhardt from Princeton University and others claim that tests point to an extra-terrestrial origin for the Russian minerals.

They used the technique of mass spectrometry to measure different forms - or isotopes - of the element oxygen contained in parts of the rock sample.

The pattern of oxygen isotopes was unlike any known minerals that originated on Earth. It was instead closer to that sometimes found in a type of meteorite known as a carbonaceous chondrite.

The samples also contained a type of silica which only forms at very high pressures. This suggests it either formed in the Earth's mantle, or was formed in a high-velocity impact, such as that which occurs when a meteorite hits the Earth's surface.

"Our evidence indicates that quasicrystals can form naturally under astrophysical conditions and remain stable over cosmic timescales," the team writes in PNAS.


I wonder if natural formation under astrophysical conditions also includes a resonating emf medium of electric-charged low-density low temperature dust plasma?
Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality. -Nikola Tesla -1934
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