- - Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Israeli wins chemistry Nobel for quasicrystals

STOCKHOLM | Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for a discovery that faced skepticism and mockery, even prompting his expulsion from his research team, before it won widespread acceptance as a fundamental breakthrough.

While doing research in the U.S. in 1982, Mr. Shechtman discovered a new chemical structure - quasicrystals - that researchers previously thought was impossible.

He was studying a mix of aluminum and manganese in an electron microscope when he found the atoms were arranged in a pattern - similar to one in some traditional Islamic mosaics - that appeared contrary to the laws of nature.

He concluded that science was wrong - but it would take years for him and other researchers to prove that he was right.

Since then, quasicrystals have been produced in laboratories and a Swedish company found them in one of the most durable kinds of steel, which is now used in products such as razor blades and thin needles made specifically for eye surgery.


Cops nab leader of fading drug cartel

MEXICO CITY | One of the last major leaders of the pseudo-religious La Familia drug gang has been captured, Mexican officials said Wednesday, an arrest that has provided insights into the final days of one of the country’s most bizarre criminal cartels.

Martin Rosales Magana had been on the run since a breakaway gang threatened to kill relatives of those who still sympathized with La Familia, said federal police anti-drug chief Ramon Pequeno.

He is said to have taken refuge in a state bordering La Familia’s stronghold of Michoacan and plotted an alliance with his group’s old enemies, the Zetas.

At one point, Mr. Rosales Magana plotted to lead 200 Zetas and La Familia gunmen in an assault on Apatzingan, a city in western Mexico now dominated by the equally cultlike Knights Templar cartel that broke away from his group, Mr. Pequeno said.

Mr. Rosales Magana and three other men were arrested Tuesday in the neighboring state of Mexico.


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