This years winner of the Nobel prize in Chemistry goes to Daniel Shechtman of the Israel Institute of Technology for his discovery of the structure of ‘quasicrystals’.

But what are quasicrystals?

Well, quasicrystals are crystals that break all rules of being what a crystal should be.

They are perfectly ordered (OK, so are regular crystals) but made of never repeating units (which is at odds with regular crystals) – they form patterns but lack any symmetry.

It is easier to see an image of a quasicrystal than describe it! (A picture is worth a thousand words after all!)

By J.W. Evans, The Ames Laboratory, US Department of Energy ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Shechtman, like all scientists who make ground breaking discoveries found that his theories were at first ridiculed and treated with much scepticism in the scientific community but slowly, over time, as the ground swell of evidence grew for them opinion changed, ultimately, with Shecchtman being awarded the ultimate prize.