Paul Steinhardt

Paul J. Steinhardt is the Albert Einstein Professor in Science at Princeton University, where he is on the faculty of both the departments of Physics and Astrophysical Sciences. He cofounded and directs the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science. In addition to his research on quasicrystals, Steinhardt is known as one of the original architects of the inflationary model of the universe and the leading alternative, called the cyclic universe. He has received the Dirac Medal and other prestigious awards for his work on the early universe and novel forms of matter. He is the author of The Second Kind of Impossible, and the coauthor of Endless Universe with Neil Turok, which describes the two competing ideas in cosmology to which he contributed. With his student, Dov Levine, Steinhardt first invented the theoretical concept of quasicrystals before they were synthesized in a laboratory. More than three decades later, he discovered three different natural quasicrystals in the Kamchatka Peninsula. In 2014, the International Mineralogical Association named a new mineral “steinhardtite” in his honor.

Books by this Author

One of the most fascinating and surprising scientific detective stories of the last fifty years, an exciting quest for a new form of matter, told firsthand. The Second Kind of Impossible reads like James Gleick’s Chaos combined with an Indiana Jones adventure.

When leading Princeton physicist Paul Steinhardt began working in the 1980s, scientists thought they knew all the conceivable forms of matter. The Second Kind of Impossible is the story of Steinhardt’s...