College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman to advocate for tech entrepreneurship in public lecture

Danny Shechtman

Danny ShechtmanDan Shechtman, the winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will share his vision for technological entrepreneurship as a tool for world development during a lecture at Iowa State University.

Shechtman, who goes by “Danny,” is an Iowa State University Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, a research scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and the Philip Tobias Distinguished Professor at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

His lecture, “Technological Entrepreneurship: A Key to World Peace and Prosperity,” will be at noon March 13 in the Great Hall of Iowa State’s Memorial Union. The event is free and open to the public.

Shechtman won the Nobel Prize for his 1982 discovery of quasicrystals, crystalline materials whose atoms don’t line up periodically like every other crystal studied by modern crystallography. The discovery is regarded as a revolutionary find that changed ideas about matter and its atomic arrangement

But that won’t be the subject of Shechtman’s talk. He’s going to share his ideas about building up developing countries.

“Is there hope for everybody on the globe to improve their lives?” Shechtman asked in a summary of his talk. “Can technological entrepreneurship be motivated and taught so that generations of determined entrepreneurs will build up thriving economies?

“The clear answer to both questions is yes, but the process will take time and dedication.”

One way to speed up the process is motivating today’s engineers and scientists in developing countries to establish startups and eventually mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs, Shechtman wrote.

“If this nucleus of capable people are motivated toward entrepreneurship,” he wrote, “a process can start that will make a huge difference in the life of a country.”