Dan Shectman dabbles in art - Yanai Yechiel
Prof. Dan Shechtman, a Nobel laureate in chemistry, is in the race for Israel's presidency. Photo by Yanai Yechiel
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Nobel Prize-winning scientist Prof. Daniel Shechtman threw his hat into the ring on Friday night, telling a Channel 1 TV interviewer that he regarded himself as a candidate for the presidency of Israel.

The Knesset will elect the next president in the spring, with current President Shimon Peres due to retire at the end of July.

The only announced candidates currently are MKs Reuven Rivlin (Likud) and Benjamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor). Also mentioned as being interested in the job are MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnuah) and former MK Dalia Itzik (Kadima.)

Candidates need to announce their candidacy two weeks before the election.

Shechtman won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2011. He is currently professor of materials science at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He is also an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and professor of materials science at Iowa State University.

"I think I can change things for the better in this country,” he said during the interview on Channel 1. “I’m doing it now as well, in many areas, mostly in education, higher education and technological entrepreneurship. But I think I could do a lot more from a presidential position.”

He added that he would focus mainly on domestic issues if  elected and would remain politically unaffiliated.

“I’m a Zionist. I want to nurture a generation of social individuals who see the needs of others,” Shechtman said. “If you’re president, and especially if you are well-liked by the public, people listen to you.”