Quasicrystals: A brief history of the impossible

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The 30-year history of quasicrystals is one in which, time after time, the conventional scientific view about what is possible has been proven wrong. First, quasicrystals were thought to be mathematically impossible; then, physically impossible; then, impossible unless synthesised in the laboratory under carefully controlled conditions. One by one, these strongly held views have been disproven, the last only recently as the result of the discovery of a natural quasicrystal found in a meteorite dating back to the formation of the solar system. This paper is a brief personal perspective on this history of misunderstanding and discovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S85-S91
JournalRendiconti Lincei
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - Mar 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Diffraction
  • Icosahedral symmetry
  • Icosahedrite
  • Quasicrystals


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