Nobel laureates Joachim Frank and Dan Shechtman

Q&A session with Nobel laureates Joachim Frank (Columbia) and Dan Shechtman (Technion, Israel), moderated by Julie Carney.

Professor Shechtman won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of quasicrystals. Professor Frank’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded in 2017 for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution

Prof Dan Shechtman

  • Did you worry when people (such as Linus Pauling) said your work was wrong? I am my own hardest critic of my own work so I verify my work over and over to ensure it is correct.

  • How do you find what to research? What you should pursue comes by chance, learn lots of things, find something you are interested in and become an expert.

  • Did Nobel Prize change your life? Nobel Prize is a license to do whatever you want and you have to choose what you want to do.

  • _How are things changing for the younger generation for the worse and better? _As technology develops we need people that are experts in different things e.g. nobody can make a cellphone by themselves. In the past you could only become an entrepreneur if your father owned a factory, now everybody has the opportunity.

Prof Joachim Frank

  • Is it harder for researchers now than before? Compared to 30 years ago researchers now have tools such as the internet for communications which allow scientific collaborations that were not feasible in the past.

  • How are things changing for the younger generation for the worse and better? Social media has created a dystopic environment. People need to look at their phones every 2 minutes and have serious attention deficit. Awareness has dramatically improved about world events, transcending the idea of nation states.

  • _Advice to a scientist embarking on their career. _If you have an idea that you have checked and believe in, don’t let someone discourage you.

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