Paul Steinhardt

We have developed two distinct books, Indiana Steinhardt and the Quest for Quasicrystals, and Inflated Expectations: A Cosmological Tale, based on Howard Burton’s in-depth, filmed conversations with Paul Steinhardt, the Albert Einstein Professor of Science and Director of the Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University.

The first one is called Indiana Steinhardt and the Quest for Quasicrystals. 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:

  1. Introducing Quasicrystals – Innovative symmetries through visual disharmonies
  2. Building Models – Forcing forbidden symmetries
  3. Out of the Blue – The real world intervenes
  4. Competing Explanations – A three-horse race
  5. Looking to Nature – Developing a separation algorithm
  6. New Year’s Delight – Persistence pays off
  7. Confronting the Impossible – Encountering rock-hard scepticism
  8. Tracking Khatyrkite – Smoke, mirrors, and the holotype sample
  9. Kamchatka – Closure, and perhaps another beginning 
  10. Passing It On – How to keep the flame of science burning brightly

Now available in electronic format on:

Inflated Expectations: A Cosmological Tale is based on a second in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Paul Steinhardt. He is one of the originators of the theory of cosmic inflation and has become one of its fiercest critics. This fascinating conversation covers topics such as Paul Steinhardt’s scientific development, his formative experiences at Caltech including his encounters with Richard Feynman, his development and later scepticism of the theory of cosmic inflation, the response of the scientific community to the failure of this theory, his theory of cosmology, The Ekpyrotic Universe, and more.. 

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Not Even Wrong, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

  1. Scientific Beginnings – Marie Curie, Richard Feynman, and finding one’s path
  2. Inflationary Excitement –  A captivating talk and subsequent insights
  3. Progress, Tuned Appropriately –  The Nuffield Workshop and its aftermath
  4. Two Major Issues – The initial value problem and eternal inflation
  5. Cosmological Denial – Resolutely clinging to a good story
  6. Bouncing Back? – Considering a key change

Now available in electronic format on:

Inflated Expectations is also available as part of the five-part Ideas Roadshow Collection called Conversations About Astrophysics & Cosmology in both paperback and electronic format.

Read more here


We’ve produced a one-hour video of our conversation with Paul Steinhardt called Inflated Expectations: A Cosmological Tale which is available on Vimeo On Demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/inflatedexpectations