What is a Theoretical Physicist Doing in a Place Like This?
In this talk, Paul Steinhardt will describe one of the three projects he is pursuing at the Radcliffe Institute: the search for and exploration of the first natural quasicrystals. A quasicrystal is an exotic state of matter whose atomic structure has a symmetry that was thought to be forbidden. Examples were first synthesized in the laboratory 20 years ago, but could nature have beaten us to the punch? The endeavor to answer that question makes for one of the stranger scientific stories you are ever likely to hear.