Radio Show, Aired 9/17/2015

This is my first show at my new time slot: 2-4am on Thursday mornings. I played about a half hour of tunes, then the first 15 minutes of my interview on quasicrystals with Princeton Professor Paul Steinhardt.

Artist Song Album Label
Nina Simone Everyone’s Gone to the Moon The Essential Nina Simone RCA Records
NOFX The Brews Punk in Drublic Epitaph
Modern Lovers Astral Plane The Modern Lovers Sanctuary Records Group
Young Fathers Liberated White Men are Black Men too Big Dada
Potty Mouth Cherry Picking Potty Mouth ep Planet Whatever
Lila Downs, Juanes La Patria Madrina Balas y Chocolat Sony
Worriers Glutton for Distance Imaginary Life Don Giovanni
Ratatat cream on chrome magnifique xl recordings
Paul Steinhardt Interview Quasicrystals
Reviver Bukowski Versificator Exigent Records
Fitz of Depression Everybody and their dog Kill Rock Stars Kill Rock Stars
Los Cojolites El Conejo Frida (Original Motion Picture) Deutsche Grammophon
Blind Willie Johnson John The Revelator Dark Was the Night Sony
Chelsea Wolfe Survive Abyss Sargent House
Flesh World Your love is like a house The wild animals in my life Iron Lung
Beirut Nantes Flying Cup Club EMI Music Publishing
Bully Sharktooth Feels Like Columbia Records
Bitter Bloom Don’t Know Enough Demo
Guantuanamo Baywatch Too Late Darling…it’s too late Suicide Squeeze
Shirelles Dedicated to the One I Love The Very Best of Shirelles United Artists
Colleen Green Things that are bad for me, part 1 I want to grow up Hardly Art
Unknown Oaxaca Band Unknown (I recorded this at a bar) N/A
Daniel Bachman Leaving Istanbul (4am) Jesus I’m a Sinner Tomkins Square
Desaparecidos Von Maur Massacre Payola Epitaph
Off with their heads 1612 Havenhurst From the bottom No Idea Records
Beach Slang Punk or Lust Who would ever want something so broken? Dead Broke Rekerds
Palehound Healthier Folk Dry Food Exploding in Sound Records
Makeshift Shelters (This Song is Definitely Not about a Boy) Something So Personal Broken World Media
John Darnielle + The Mountain Goats Choked Out Beat the Champ Merge

Interview with Professor Paul Steinhardt on the Quest for Quasicrystals

Featured image is of a two-dimensional organic quasicrystal. Source: Natalie Wasio et al., Nature, 2014 via Wired
Image accompanying the Mixcloud link below is an actual image of a “Real Decagonal Quasicrystal with Quasi-unit cell tiling superposed.” Source: Paul Steinhardt (website)
Paul Steinhardt

This is my full interview with Paul Steinhardt, Albert Einstein professor of physics at Princeton University. We spoke about the magnificent quasicrystal – what it is, why they’re special and fascinating, and their incredible discovery (both of the synthetic and natural varieties). This is a fast-moving and hot area of research, and there is surely more to come soon.


Update: This was one of my (Stevie’s) first science interviews on WPRB (read: first interviews ever), and Paul was gracious enough to come in and spend the time with me, nonetheless. Sitting at the mic in the mirror studio, he relayed the whole story of how he became fascinated by quasicrystals, a crystal with a quasi-periodic structure and ten fold symmetry that is both mathematically interesting and, it turns out, can have desirable physical properties, like as coating on airplane wings and non-stick frying pans. This eventually led Steinhardt and his team on a quest to the farthest reaches of Russia for a naturally occurring sample that scientists had previously thought couldn’t exist as it would be too fragile. (Though! Quasicrystals were accidentally made in a lab in 1982.)

Listen to the whole story by clicking on the link at the top.

Indeed, the first naturally occurring quasicrystal was found by Paul and his team in 2009, and the second just last year in March 2015. The origins of the crystal are unknown, but due to its atomic makeup and the conditions required for its formation, the best theory involves meteors colliding in space. Steinhardt explained the theory in this interview, and further in an excellent Scientific American article on the topic (emphasis added):

The ratios of isotopes of oxygen in silicate and oxide minerals around the quasicrystal grain are typical of minerals found in meteorites called carbonaceous chondrites, the team reports. This indicates that the rock is of extraterrestrial origin and very old: virtually all chondrites formed at the birth of the Solar System. It is likely, but not certain, that the quasicrystal grain within the meteorite is of roughly the same age. It was found entwined with a silica mineral that forms only at high pressures and temperatures—such as might be created by a collision with the chondrite body.

From “World’s Only Known Natural Quasicrystal Traced to Ancient Meteorite,” Scientific American, Jan. 3, 2012.

More resources:

Cosmology, Astronomy, and the Oldest Light in the Universe (Interview with Dr. Renée Hlozek, Princeton University)

The Mixcloud embed isn’t working at the moment, so you can find the audio here. (WordPress is a fickle, but free, beast.)

This was a weird thing for me to do – interview a cosmologist – because I’m a cosmologist. I tried to ask her questions to get her to explain what we do and why we do it. For your perusal, this is part 1 of out interview:

Extra links:

The electromagnetic spectrum. Notice that red light has a longer wavelength than blue.

The dashes are the polarization directions (the color is the intensity).^^ Polarization of the CMB from the BICEP2 results last year (primarily due to the CMB light filtering through dust in our galaxy before it reaches out telescopes).