Glass is anything that’s rigid like a crystal, yet made of disordered molecules like a liquid. To understand why it exists, researchers are attempting to create the perfect, still-hypothetical “ideal glass.” In studying materials like amber in the hope that they might provide part of the solution.

Key Takeaways:

  • Physicist Miguel Ramos acquired some amber samples from nearby paleontologists in order to use them to research the concept of ideal glass.
  • Any rigid material composed of disordered molecules — including many plastics, hard candy, and other materials — is technically a type of glass.
  • A cooling liquid will either crystallize or form a glass, which is why avoiding the former is a significant challenge to glassblowers.

“Inconveniently, ideal glass would take so long to form that it may not have done so in all of cosmic history.”

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