THE SECOND KIND OF IMPOSSIBLE tells one of the strangest scientific stories that you will ever hear – a thirty-five year quest for new forms of matter, known as quasicrystals, that violate scientific principles that had been established for centuries. The talk will describe the scientific odyssey that unfolds over the ensuing decades, first to prove the validity of the idea, and then to pursue Steinhardt’s wildest conjecture: that nature made quasicrystals long before humans discovered them. Along the way, his team encounters clandestine collectors, corrupt scientists, secret diaries, international smugglers, and KGB agents. Their quest culminates in a daring expedition to a distant corner of the Earth, in pursuit of tiny fragments of a meteorite forged at the birth of the solar system.
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