Volumes, the MoMath book club: The Second Kind of Impossible by Paul Steinhardt
Princeton physicist Paul Steinhardt will join this special meeting of Volumes to discuss his new book, The Second Kind of Impossible, the true story of his scientific odyssey to prove the existence of “quasicrystal,” a radically new type of matter. His quest begins with a curious geometric pattern and goes on to involve clandestine collectors, corrupt scientists, secret diaries, international smugglers, and KGB agents. It culminates in a daring expedition to a distant corner of the Earth, in pursuit of tiny fragments of a meteorite. Steinhardt’s discoveries not only change our ideas about patterns and matter, but also reveal new truths about the processes that shaped our solar system. The underlying science is important, simple, and beautiful, and his firsthand account is an engaging scientific thriller.