Paul Steinhardt

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Paul J. Steinhardt
Paul Steinhardt.jpg
Paul J. Steinhardt
Born December 25, 1952
Washington, D.C.
Residence U.S.
Fields Physics
Institutions Princeton University
University of Pennsylvania
Harvard Society of Fellows
Harvard University
California Institute of Technology
Doctoral advisor Sidney Coleman
Known for Cosmic inflation, Cyclic Model, Ekpyrotic universe, Quintessence, Quasicrystals
Notable awards Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize (2010)

Paul J. Steinhardt is the Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University and a professor of theoretical physics. He received his B.S. at the California Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in Physics at Harvard University. He was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and Mary Amanda Wood Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the faculty at Princeton University in 1998. He is currently the Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science.[1]

Academic work[edit]

Steinhardt is best known for his work in theoretical cosmology, where he helped develop the theory of cosmic inflation, which attempts to explain the homogeneity and geometry of the universe and the origin of the fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies and large-scale structure.[2] He introduced the concept of quintessence, a time-varying form of dark energy to explain the current accelerating expansion of the universe. His recent work has been on brane cosmology, especially the ekpyrotic and cyclic models. The cyclic theory of the universe is a radical alternative to big bang/inflationary cosmology in which the evolution of the universe is periodic and the key events shaping the large scale structure of the universe occur before the big bang.[3]

Steinhardt also works in condensed matter physics, where he coined the name quasicrystal, a novel phase of matter which has symmetries forbidden to ordinary periodic crystals. He has made numerous contributions to understanding their mathematical and physical properties.[4] Recently, he has helped develop a photonic quasicrystal (the quasicrystal analogue of a photonic crystal) for efficiently trapping and manipulating light in selected wavebands.

He is a Fellow in the American Physical Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He received the P.A.M. Dirac Medal from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in 2002 for his contributions to inflationary cosmology and the 2010 Oliver Buckley Prize from the American Physical Society for his work on quasicrystals.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Array of Contemporary American Physicists, American Institute of Physics
  2. ^ Member Election Citation, National Academy of Sciences
  3. ^ Brian Greene, Walter Isaacson, and Paul Steinhardt (2007) Einstein: An EDGE Symposium
  4. ^ 2010 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize recipient biography

External links[edit]