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The Second Kind of Impossible: The Extraordinary Quest for a New Form of Matter by [Paul J.  Steinhardt]
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The Second Kind of Impossible: The Extraordinary Quest for a New Form of Matter Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 138 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A rare and compulsively readable blend of science and thriller, The Second Kind of Impossible tells of the quest to find a new type of matter that would rewrite the rules of reality. Paul Steinhardt, one of the world's leading theoretical physicists, takes readers on a wondrous odyssey across multiple decades and continents as, against all odds, he helps to topple scientific orthodoxy.”
—Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe

“Scientists, smugglers, and spies—this book is an exciting and enlightening scientific detective story. The tale is about far more than a new form of matter; it is also a thrilling and wonderfully written look at how science works.”
—Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein

“An epic account of two scientific triumphs: a thirty-year theoretical search for understanding and a real-world expedition into the wilds of Kamchatka. It is as if The Origin of Species and The Voyage of the Beagle had been published together in one volume.”
—Freeman Dyson, author of Maker of Patterns

“A truly amazing adventure story, full of twists and turns, right up to the very end. It has my strongest recommendation.”
—Sir Roger Penrose, author of The Emperor’s New Mind

“An intriguing blend of science and international adventure. [Steinhardt] takes readers on a wild ride in search of a new kind of matter…full of intrigue and adventure, culminating with the epic Kamchatka journey....A general audience can and should enjoy this original, suspenseful true-life thriller of science investigation and discovery.” 
Publishers Weekly

“A gripping scientific quest…an admirable popular account of the quasicrystal, an oddball arrangement of atoms that seems to contradict scientific laws.…Steinhardt [is] a pioneer in the field and a fine writer.”
Kirkus Reviews

"[A] memoir and rollercoaster adventure, packed with discovery, disappointment, exhilaration and persistence...This book is a front-row seat to history as it is made."
Nature Magazine

"Part physics primer, part fantastic adventure...Steinhardt’s affection and admiration for the journey’s colorful cast of characters infuse every page. Although his excitement is palpable, he is also careful and methodical, often reminding himself that he could be wrong. The Second Kind of Impossible shows the benefit of a slow and steady approach to science, where determination and luck are just as important as insight." 
Science News

"A thrilling mix of scientific memoir and true detective story."  
—Physics Today

"A rip-roaring adventure tale...a book that I could not put down because it was fast-paced and had genuine surprises in every chapter. Steinhardt deserves his place on the A-list." 
Physics World

About the Author

Paul J. Steinhardt is the Albert Einstein Professor in Science at Princeton University, where he is on the faculty of both the departments of Physics and Astrophysical Sciences. He cofounded and directs the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science. He has received the Dirac Medal and other prestigious awards for his work on the early universe and novel forms of matter. He is the author of The Second Kind of Impossible, and the coauthor of Endless Universe with Neil Turok, which describes the two competing ideas in cosmology to which he contributed. With his student, Dov Levine, Steinhardt first invented the theoretical concept of quasicrystals before they were synthesized in a laboratory. More than three decades later, with Luca Bindi, he guided the team that led to the discovery of three different natural quasicrystals in the Kamchatka Peninsula. In 2014, the International Mineralogical Association named a new mineral “steinhardtite” in his honor.

Product details

  • ASIN : B075RPF24F
  • Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (January 8, 2019)
  • Publication date : January 8, 2019
  • Language : English
  • File size : 78460 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 389 pages
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 138 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
138 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2019
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28 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on March 25, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2019
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15 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on July 7, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on September 7, 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

Steph Ward
3.0 out of 5 stars The adventure sometimes masks the reality
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 20, 2020
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6 people found this helpful
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peegeejay
4.0 out of 5 stars Good balance of science and adventure
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 10, 2020
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2 people found this helpful
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S
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 29, 2021
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bmju
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good popular science book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 30, 2020
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RussW
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for nerds
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 5, 2019
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