van Winter Memorial Lecture
Title: Once Upon a Time in Kamchatka: The Extraordinary Search for Natural
Speaker: Paul J. Steinhardt, Princeton University
Time / Place: 3:15 p.m., Chemistry-Physics 139
Abstract: Paul J. Steinhardt is the Albert Einstein Professor in Science and Director of the
Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University, where he is also on the faculty of
both the Department of Physics and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences. His research spans
problems in particle physics, astrophysics, cosmology and condensed matter physics. In cosmology he
is one of the architects of the theory of inflation and, more recently, the cyclic model of the universe. In
condensed matter physics, Steinhardt and Dov Levine introduced the concept of quasicrystals, a new
phase of solid matter in which the arrangement of atoms is ordered but not periodic.
Quasicrystals have many unique properties, with applications in photonics, nanotechnology, and
materials science. The first quasicrystalline material was synthesized in 1982, a discovery that was
the subject of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Recently, Steinhardt discovered the first naturally
occuring quasicrystal embedded in a rock found in a remote region of the Kamchatka peninsula.
Steinhardt is the author of over 200 refereed articles, five patents, three technical books, and
numerous popular articles. In 2007, he co-authored Endless Universe: The Big Bang and Beyond, a
popular book on contemporary theories of cosmology. He was awarded 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; and the Oliver E. Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society in
2010 for his contribution to the theory of quasicrystals. He is a Fellow in the American Physical
Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
In this talk Dr. Steinhardt will explain the mathematics and physics of quasicrystals and the incredible
Hosted by Dr. Sumit R. Das, Physics