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How and why did 2011 Nobel winner Dan Shechtman persist despite rejection?
Date:10/14/2011

On April 8, 1982, alone in a laboratory, chemist Dan Shechtman looked through an electron microscope and saw an impossible pattern. He had discovered quasicrystals. But his groundbreaking findings were rejected, even mocked, by the scientific establishment for years.

On October 5, 2011, Shechtman received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

What compelled Shechtman to stand by his research? What drove the men and women behind the most paradigm-shifting findings of the twentieth century? What motivates those few scientists who rise above their peers to achieve breakthrough discoveries?

In order to answer such questions, physical chemist and author Istvan Hargittai examines the careers of fifteen eminent scientists who achieved some of the most notable discoveries of the past century, assessing their motivation. In Drive and Curiosity, Dr. Hargittai provides an insider's perspective on the history of twentieth-century science. The author, who was personally acquainted with all but two of the scientists he profiles, includes:

  • Dan Shechtman, the aforementioned 2011 Nobel laureate and discoverer of quasicrystals
  • James D. Watson, the Nobel laureate and codiscoverer of the double helix structure of DNA
  • Linus Pauling, the Nobel laureate remembered most for his work on the structure of proteins
  • Edward Teller, a giant of the twentieth century who accomplished breakthroughs in our understanding of nuclear fusion
  • George Gamow, a pioneering scientist who devised the initially ridiculed and now accepted Big Bang

"Is there a recipe for research successes reaching the highest pinnacles? What are the common characteristics of discoveries that profoundly alter the world we live in?" asks Richard N. Zare, Stanford University, Wolf Prize laureate. "This fascinating book presents fifteen case studies that explore these questions in a manner both inviting and at once accessible."

In each
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Contact: Meghan Quinn
mquinn@prometheusbooks.com
800-853-7545
Prometheus Books
Source:Eurekalert  

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