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College of Science & Mathematics

Dean's Lecture Series - Physics

The College of Science and Mathematics presents the Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series featuring Dr. Paul Steinhardt's lecture, Once Upon a Time in Kamchatka: The Extraordinary Search for Natural Quasicrystals

Friday October 25

3:30 pm - 5 pm

Boyd Recital Hall 

Quasicrystals are exotic forms of matter that have symmetries forbidden to crystals, such as five-fold symmetry axes or the shape of a soccer ball in three dimensions. They were first discovered in the laboratory 30 years ago, but could Nature have beaten us to the punch? This talk will describe the search that took over a dozen years to answer this question, resulting in one of the strangest scientific stories you are ever likely to hear, including mystery, intrigue and an expedition to one of the most remote places on Earth. 

About the presenter 

Dr. Paul J. Steinhardt is the Albert Einstein Professor in Science and Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University. He received his B.S. in Physics at Caltech in 1974; his M.A. in Physics in 1975 and Ph.D. in Physics in 1978 at Harvard University. He shared the P.A.M. Dirac Medal from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in 2002 for his contribution to the development of the inflationary model of the universe; the Oliver E. Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society in 2010 for his contribution to the theory of quasicrystals; and the John Scott Award in 2012 for developing the theory of quasicrystals and discovering the first natural quasicrystals. In 2012, he was named Simons Fellow in Theoretical Physics; Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard; and Moore Fellow at Caltech. 

Dr. Steinhardt is the author of over 200 refereed articles, six patents, two patents pending, three technical books, numerous popular articles, and, in 2007, co-authored Endless Universe: The Big Bang and Beyond, a popular book on contemporary theories of cosmology. He is one of the co-discoverers of the first natural quasicrystal and, in 2011, led a geological expedition to Chukotka in Far Eastern Russia to find new information about its origin and search for more samples.