Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
Graduate Student

Will Steinhardt
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Will Steinhardt is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University and is broadly interested in the behavior of earth materials at extreme conditions. As an undergraduate at Caltech, he worked with Jennifer Jackson using diamond anvil cells to measure the equation of state of ferropericlase, a main constituent of the earth’s lower mantle. The summer after graduating, Will was part of an expedition to northern Kamchatka, Russia, in search of a meteorite that contained the world’s first natural quasicrystal. This project has led to the discovery of two new minerals so far, both of which are in a new class of natural minerals. He then began graduate school at Harvard working with Sarah Stewart on developing a new equation of state for different compositions of olivine, in order to constrain the behavior of the earth’s mantle during giant impacts. After Stewart moved to UC Davis, Will began studying earth materials in a new and unique way using brittle hydrogels. Working in a MRSEC IRG1 collaboration with Shmuel Rubinstein and David Weitz, he has developed a technique for measuring the extent and propagation of hydraulic fractures, as well as the three-dimensional strain field surrounding these fractures at tens of thousands of frames per second. He is also studying how the dynamics of the fracture affect the roughness of the fracture surface and fracture front. Will has participated in the MRSEC REU program as a graduate student mentor, help prepare and demonstrate our lab discoveries for local middle schoolers as part of Project TEACH (photo), and is the lead laboratory and project teaching fellow for the undergraduate fluid dynamics course this semester