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Paul Steinhardt is a theoretical physicist whose research ranges from the origin, evolution, and future of the universe to new states of matter. He 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.
At the Radcliffe Institute, he plans to pursue three topics: the cyclic theory of the universe, a radical alternative to the conventional big bang inflationary picture; the search for and analysis of natural quasicrystals, the first minerals to exhibit fivefold symmetries; and hyperuniform disordered solids, a new class of synthetically designed materials with isotropic electronic, photonic, and phononic band gaps. In addition, he hopes to draft a popular book describing the quasicrystal search.
Steinhardt received his BS in physics at the California Institute of Technology and his AM and PhD in physics at Harvard University. He was a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. He shared the 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 Condensed Matter Prize of the American Physical Society in 2010, for his contribution to the theory of quasicrystals.