Datz was in 1943 at Stuyvesant High School and received his BS in 1950 from Columbia University and an MA in 1951 also there. In 1960 he received the PhD in physical chemistry at the University of Tennessee. From 1951 until his death, he held numerous positions at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, most recently as head of the Atomic Physics Section.
Sheldon Datz investigated the electronic properties of crystals by having them bombarded with high-energy ions. He has published more than 300 papers in scientific publications.