Indiana Steinhardt and the Quest for Quasicrystals - A Conversation with Paul Steinhardt

by Howard Burton (Author)
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This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Paul Steinhardt, the Albert Einstein Professor of Science and Director of the Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University. This extensive conversation provides a comprehensive account of a marvellous scientific adventure story in the quest for a natural quasicrystal. You will be taken on a fascinating ride through the physics of materials, from theory, to the laboratory, to the discovery of a new state of matter, that culminated in Paul Steinhardt’s dramatic Siberian expedition. Paul Steinhardt talks about his encounters with mineral smugglers, secret diaries and quasi-mythical characters during his “Indiana Jones” expedition from Florence to Israel, Amsterdam to California, Princeton to Kamchatka which led him to find quasicrystals that are quite literally out of this world...This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Informed Authority, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:I. Introducing Quasicrystals - Innovative symmetries through visual disharmoniesII. Building Models - Forcing forbidden symmetriesIII. Out of the Blue - The real world intervenesIV. Competing Explanations - A three-horse raceV. Looking to Nature - Developing a separation algorithmVI. New Year’s Delight - Persistence pays offVII. Confronting the Impossible - Encountering rock-hard scepticism VIII. Tracking Khatyrkite - Smoke, mirrors, and the holotype sampleIX. Kamchatka - Closure, and perhaps another beginning X. Passing It On - How to keep the flame of science burning brightlyAbout Ideas Roadshow Conversations Series: This book is part of an expanding series of 100+ Ideas Roadshow conversations, each one presenting a wealth of candid insights from a leading expert through a focused yet informal setting to give non-specialists a uniquely accessible window into frontline research and scholarship that wouldn't otherwise be encountered through standard lectures and textbooks. For other books in this series visit our website (

Publication date
September 30, 2020
File size
2 MB