Science: Luca Bindi awarded by the President of the Italian Republic for the discovery of quasicrystals
Luca Bindi, a geologist from the University of Florence, is the winner of the National Award of the President of the Italian Republic for disciplines included in the Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences Class, assigned by Accademia dei Lincei. The Award was handed out to the researcher by President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella at Quirinale.
Professor of Mineralogy and Petrography at the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Florence, Luca Bindi is a pioneer in research on quasicrystals: a class of new materials that thanks to their characteristics of resistance, hardness and lubricity allow for new promising applications in industry, for example, the development of films that make fighter aircrafts invisible to radars, or application to razor blades to prevent from cutting, and also coatings for non-sticky pots.
As specified by Alberto Quadrio Curzio, President of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, in the reasons that led to judging Luca Bindi as the most deserving scientist in 2015: “Luca Bindi has contributed to the discovery of 47 new mineralogical species. Among these there is icosahedrite, the first natural quasicrystal, found in micrometric grains in Khatyrka meteorite, in the Koryak mountains, in the Kamchatka peninsula, Russia, which had been mentioned as crucial in the awarding of the Nobel Award for Chemistry 2011 to Israeli Dan Schechtman”.
“The discovery of this first quasicrystal, in 2009, has paved the way to a new frontier of research on solid state, not only by providing Material Engineering with a new entire category of compounds to be synthetized having a very large potential of use, but also providing innovative concepts to Geoscience, Astrophysics and Cosmochemistry”, continued Quadrio Curzio, and then added: “This discovery has stopped thirty years of discussions on stability and instability of quasicrystals, which Nobel Laureate Schechtman had synthetized in laboratory in 1984 inspiring the search for new symmetric conformations of solid matter with physical and chemical characteristics that could translate into a leap forward in engineering, ensuring new uses and applications. A new quasicrystal, decagonite, discovered this year by the team led by Bindi, comes as the first confirmation”.
The National Award of the President of the Italian – assigned to Bindi this year – has been awarded every year since 1949 with the aim of encouraging Italian scientists. Accademia dei Lincei, the oldest scientific academy in the world, is responsible for assigning this prestigious recognition, having been since 1992 also the scientific and cultural advisory body to the President of the Italian Republic.