Technological Entrepreneurship: A Key to World Peace and Prosperity - Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman

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Date/Time:Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013 at 12:00 pm
Location:Great Hall, Memorial Union
Channel:Lecture Series
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Dan Shechtman, an Iowa State Distinguished Professor of materials science and engineering and research scientist at Ames Laboratory, won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The honor was awarded for his discovery of quasicrystals, crystalline materials with a periodic atomic structure deemed impossible in modern crystallography. He is also the Philip Tobias Distinguished Professor of Materials Science at the Technion - Israel Institute of...

Dan Shechtman is a member of several academies, including the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He is an honorary member of professional societies around the globe and has received honorary doctorates from many universities. Prior to the Nobel Prize he was awarded many other prizes, including the Wolf Prize in Physics, the Gregori Aminoff Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science and the European Material Research Society (EMRS) award.

His current research efforts center on developing strong and ductile magnesium alloys for a variety of applications, and deformation mechanisms in B2 intermetallics.

Many countries around the world lack significant natural resources and are characterized by a low standard of living with little hope for improvement due to fast population growth and mismanagement. This is also true for countries that are rich in natural resources but do not use them wisely. On the other hand, in most cases people that enjoy high standard of living are industrious and their countries industrial. The basic reason of this division is technological entrepreneurship nourished by free market economy, and it is the technologically entrepreneurial people that make the difference. So, is there hope for everybody on the globe to improve their lives? 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. It all starts with education in general and scientific-technical education in particular. This is a long process, but there is a way to expedite the process - start with the already educated engineers and scientists. These are the first candidates to open entrepreneurial endeavors. They can make the difference but need motivation, instruction and an encouraging economic environment that foster creation of successful start-ups. These pioneering entrepreneurs can then serve as role models to others. The name of the game is motivation. If this nucleus of capable people are motivated toward entrepreneurship, a process can start that will make a huge difference in a life of a country. Living examples to countries that underwent this process are China, Israel, Singapore, South Korea and Turkey, all of whose societies shifted from agrarian to industrial within several decades thanks to the spirit of entrepreneurship and the motivation to create high-tech industries led and guided by individual engineers and scientists.