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Prof. Sven Lydin from the Swedish Academy of Sciences: Prof. Shechtman's case demonstrates that the dwarf standing on the giant's shoulders sees and the giant is blind

The words were said in the introduction to the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Prof. Shechtman

Prof. Dan Shechtman receives the Nobel Prize in Chemistry from the King of Sweden, December 10, 2011. Screenshot: from a Channel 1 broadcast
Prof. Dan Shechtman receives the Nobel Prize in Chemistry from the King of Sweden, December 10, 2011. Screenshot: from a Channel 1 broadcast

Prof. Dan Shechtman received the Nobel Prize tonight. Before the awarding of the prize, Prof. Sven Lidin from the Swedish Academy of Sciences spoke about the journey that Shechtman went through. He reminded her that Shechtman's greatest opponent was himself a Nobel Prize laureate, one of the few who won twice.

"Since the dawn of history we have known that pentagonal symmetry is not cyclic. And for almost 300 years we believed that periodicity was a prerequisite for crystallinity. The diffraction pattern of the electron received by Dan Schechtman shows that at least one of the statements to Hello contains flaws. This led to a re-examination of our point of view in the concepts of symmetry and crystallinity. The objects he discovered are periodic crystals. Thanks to the courage to believe, he discussed the nature of the material and reminded us of the importance of the balance between preservation and innovation. Even when talking about the most well-founded examples.

"Science is a theoretical structure based on an experimental basis. Observations are constructive or descriptive. We are like dwarves carried on the shoulders of giants so that we can see more ignorantly not because of our keen eye but because we are carried higher. This image originates from a Greek myth that demonstrates the progress of science. Each generation advances the knowledge a little further on the achievements of the previous generations. The image of the accumulated knowledge as a blind giant carrying on his shoulders a dwarf who is able to see is an idealization of science at its best, a relationship of mutual trust between the bearer and the carried between the blind and the seeing."

"The giant provides established truths and the dwarf strives for new insights. Like any good image, it not only describes the benefit of this arrangement but also hints at the dangers inherent in it. The deviations between the dwarf and the giant are not symmetric. The dwarf can see but the giant decides which way the two will go."

"Sometimes the dwarf has to walk on the floor without the support of the giant and find his way. The Nobel laureate in chemistry set a good example. It is challenging to get down from the mouth of the giant, because those who remain high up are tempted to look down at those who are on the ground."

"The disbelief that Shechtman encountered was appropriate and healthy. Asking these questions should be mutual in order to test if science, but the mockery it suffered from, was not fair at all. We all have a lot to stick to our positions and treat with contempt the fool who claims that we are all wrong. It takes tremendous courage to be that fool. Both Dan Shechtman and the people who spoke on his behalf consider it a great honor."

"Dan Shechtman's discoveries of the quasi-periodic crystals created a new interdisciplinary branch of science that draws on and enriches chemistry, physics and mathematics. This in itself is of great importance. It also reminded us how little we really know and maybe even taught us a little humility. Really a great achievement"

The news is based on a translation made by Channel 1 from the English translation. The original, except for the last paragraph, was in Swedish.

3 תגובות

  1. The title is inappropriate, and certainly not a correct interpretation of Prof. Lidin's lecture.

  2. Recommend proofreading for another 5 minutes. The many spelling and syntax errors hinder reading. Alternatively, it is possible not to read, isn't there really something important here?

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