Dan Shechtman
Dan Shechtman ©

Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Thursday 11 May 2017 - 19:00
Mtel Arena Hall, John Atanasoff building, Sofia Tech Park

Technological Entrepreneurship – key to world peace and prosperity

Over the past several decades we have witnessed a shift towards national policies that encourage innovation and technological entrepreneurship. The call for more investment in entrepreneurship echoes around the globe as it becomes clear that except for a few countries, natural resources like oil and minerals are not enough to sustain economies, while human ingenuity is indeed the most important, sustainable natural resource.

So, is there hope for everybody around the globe to improve their lives? Can technological entrepreneurship be encouraged and taught so that generations of determined entrepreneurs will build up thriving economies? The clear answer to both questions is yes and 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 it – start with the already educated engineers and scientists. They are the first candidates to open entrepreneurial endeavours. They can make a difference, but need motivation, instruction and encouraging economic environment that fosters 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 for entrepreneurship, a process can start that will make a huge difference in the life of any country. Living examples of countries that underwent this process are China, Israel and Singapore 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. In his talk Prof. Shechtman will explain the need for technological entrepreneurship and describe his involvement in turning Israel into a start-up nation.

Prof. Dan Shechtman won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2011 for his discovery of quasicrystals. After completing his doctorate studies at the Technion in Haifa, Israel, Danny Shechtman was an NRC fellow at the Aerospace Research Laboratories of Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, where he performed research for three years. In 1975 he joined the Department of Materials Engineering at Technion where he is currently a Distinguished Professor. During 1981-2004 he was several times on Sabbatical at the Johns Hopkins University, (joint program with NBS-NIST). During this period he discovered by TEM the Icosahedral Phase which opened the new science of quasi-periodic crystals and performed research on other subjects. As of 2004 he is also a Professor at MSE and Ames Lab, Iowa State University.  His current research efforts centre on developing strong and ductile magnesium alloys for a variety of applications. 

Shechtman is member of several Academies, including the US National Academy of Engineering and the Israel National Academy of Sciences.  He is an Honorary Member of professional societies around the globe and was awarded many prizes including the Wolf Prize in Physics, the Gregori Aminoff Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the EMRS award and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2011. 

He has been teaching Technological Entrepreneurship at the Technion since 1986 to hundreds of students every year.  By now the class was given to about 10,000 engineers and scientists and over that period of time Israel has become a "start-up Nation".

In parallel to his academic activity, Shechtman devotes time and effort to science outreach for kindergarten children and hosts the Israeli TV show for children “Science with Dan”.


This event is organised in partnership with the Embassy of Israel in Bulgaria.


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Sofia Science Festival