College of Arts and Sciences

Sigma Xi Research Symposium

2014 SJU Sigma Xi Student Research Symposium

The 2014 Keynote Speaker and Recipient of the Christopher Clavius, S.J. Award is Dr.Paul Steinhardt, The Albert Einstein Professor of Science and Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science, Princeton University

Date and Time: Keynote Address - 2:00 pm, Saturday April 12, 2014

Presentation Title: "Seeking the Impossible."

   Location: Wolfington Teletorium, Mandeville Hall

Prof. Paul Steinhardt

Paul Steinhardt, Ph.D.
The Albert Einstein Professor of Science
Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science
Department of Physics
Department of Astrophysical Science
Princeton University



Quasicrystals are exotic forms of matter that have symmetries once thought to be forbidden, such as five-fold symmetry in two dimensions or icosahedral symmetry in three dimensions.  They were first hypothesized and discovered in the laboratory 30 years ago, but could Nature have beaten us to the punch? This talk will describe the dozen-year search that eventually answered this question, one of the strangest scientific stories you are ever likely to hear, including mystery, intrigue and an expedition to one of the most remote places on Earth.

SPEAKER INFORMATIONPaul 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. He received his B.S. in Physics at Caltech in 1974; his M.A. in Physics in 1975 and Ph.D. in Physics in 1978 at Harvard University. He was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows from 1978-81 and on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania from 1981-98, where he was Mary Amanda Wood Professor from 1989-98. He is a Fellow in the American Physical Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He shared 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; the Oliver E. Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society in 2010 for his contribution to the theory of quasicrystals; and the John Scott Award in 2012 for his contributions to both fields. In 2012, he was named Simons Fellow in Theoretical Physics; Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard; and Moore Fellow at Caltech.  He is the author of over 200 refereed articles, six patents, two patents pending, three technical books, numerous popular articles, and, in 2007, co-authored Endless Universe: The Big Bang and Beyond, a popular book on contemporary theories of cosmology.  He is one of the co-discoverers of the first natural quasicrystal and, in 2011, led a geological expedition to Chukotka in Far Eastern Russia to find new information about its origin and search for more samples.