PROGRAMS - SUMMER 2015

Deadline for Applications is January 31
* denotes the organizer responsible for participant diversity in the workshop

May 24 – September 13
Individual Research

Physicists are encouraged to apply as individual researchers to work on their own projects at the Aspen Center for Physics for up to five weeks at any time during the summer. We provide a serene atmosphere to complete work. The individual researcher may also choose to attend any workshop meetings or chat with other scientists in residence in addition to working on his or her own research. Click here for more information.


May 24 – September 13
Working Group


Working groups of between two and six physicists are encouraged. Click here for more information.


May 24 - June 14
Understanding Strongly Coupled Systems in High Energy and Condensed Matter Physics 


Organizers:
Richard Brower, Boston University
Simon Catterall, Syracuse University
Shailesh Chandrasekharan*, Duke University
Anders W. Sandvik, Boston University
Richard Scalettar University of California, Davis
Uwe-Jens Wiese, University of Bern

Understanding strongly coupled quantum systems has become a unifying theme for both condensed matter and particle physcists. The possibility of finding that Higgs could be a composite particle that emerges from a new strongly interacting sector is encouraging particle physicists to explore a variety of gauge theories. At the same time the discovery of many materials that show strong correlation effects is forcing condensed matter physicists to look for explanations that go beyond the standard paradigms, including emergent gauge fields, non-Fermi liquids and topological phases. Interestingly, the challenges that the two communities face are quite similar and the goal of the workshop is to bring together experts from both communities to facilitate discussion. Topics of common interest include phase structure and dynamics in strongly coupled systems, especially in the vicinity of quantum critical points. Questions related to these topics appear in the study of quantum antiferromagnets, superconductors, metal-insulator transitions, dense nuclear matter, conformal and near conformal gauge theories, holographic models, and topological field theories. Through the exchange of ideas involving theoretical insights and advances in computational algorithms, and by exploring the possibility of developing quantum simulators to study the underlying problems, the hope is to initiate future collaborations between the two communities and to encourage younger scientists to see their work within a broader framework.


May 24 - June 14
The Dynamic Universe; Understanding ExaScale Astronomical Synoptic Surveys


Organizers:
Conny Aerts, Leuven University
Ryan Chornock, Ohio University
Paul Groot*, Radboud University
Mansi Kasliwal, California Institute of Technology
Selma de Mink, California Institute of Technology
Brian Schmidt, Australian National University

The aim of the Dynamic Universe workshop is to bring together those researchers working on a variety of synoptic surveys that are currently ongoing or about to start. The workshop addresses issues in common to all synoptic surveys, in particular concentrating on sample homogeneity, derivations of occurrence rates, selection biases, proper sample statistics, machine-learning algorithms, and propagation of uncertainties. We will also include 'lessons-learnt' sessions to allow a maximal flow of information among the various project teams. It is the aim to bring together members from a large variety of (optical) surveys, communities that normally are not always in direct interaction with each other, due to different astrophysical foci of the synoptic surveys. E.g. we aim to get together representatives from supernovae searches, asteroseismology, eclipsing binaries, exoplanetary transit searches, together with members from mathematical stochastics and machine-learning computer scientists.


May 24 - June 21
CSI PTA: Computation, Systematics, and Inference for Pulsar-Timing Arrays, and Beyond


Organizers:
Michael Kramer, Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy
Andrea Lommen*, Franklin & Marshall College
Samaya M. Nissanke, Radboud University
Xavi Siemens, University of Wisconsin
Michele Vallisneri*, California Institute of Technology

The precision timing of an array of millisecond pulsars across several years offers the opportunity of searching for nanohertz gravitational waves from supermassive black-hole binaries as well as primordial sources. Achieving the first detection requires advances in three crucial research directions (designing computation, controlling complex physical systematics, and structuring astrophysical inference for maximum insight), which are common to many other areas of modern astronomy and astrophysics. This program focuses on these general problems for the specific case of pulsar-timing arrays, and it aims to bring together pulsar experts with other specialists (such as CMB analysts, exoplanet observers, gravitational-wave phenomenologists, and more) who deal with computation/systematics/inference to search for weak signals in noisy data.


June 7 - July 5
Primordial Physics

Organizers:
Daniel Baumann, Cambridge University
Eiichiro Komatsu, Max-Planck-Institut fur Astrophysik
Liam McAllister, Cornell University
Matthew Reece*, Harvard University

Observations of the cosmic microwave background and of the distribution of large-scale structure have given compelling evidence for the idea of inflation. Detecting primordial gravitational waves would provide further decisive support for inflation, while either a detection or a stringent upper bound would open an observational window on quantum gravity. These experimental advances have revealed how much still remains to be understood about the physics of the very early universe: the clarity and simplicity of the maps produced by the Planck satellite stand in stark contrast to the diverse and changeable literature on inflationary models, whose connections to the rest of particle physics, and ultimately to quantum gravity, are poorly characterized. Extracting information on the physics of inflation from the coming generation of experiments will require close collaboration among theoretical astrophysicists and cosmologists, particle theorists, and string theorists. The goal of this workshop is to bring these communities together to address fundamental problems in early universe cosmology.


June 14 - July 5
Physics and Mathematics of Viral Assembly


Organizers:
Robijn Bruinsma*, University of California, Los Angeles
William Gelbart, University of California, Los Angeles
William Klug, University of California, Los Angeles
Vinothan Manoharan, Harvard University
Roya Zandi, University of California, Riverside

Viruses are the simplest biological organisms. Many consist of nothing more than a one-protein-thick shell, called the capsid, which surrounds and protects the genome that can be RNA or DNA. New microscopy and single-molecule-manipulation techniques have led over the past decade to physical characterization of viruses, now the subject of the emerging field of "physical virology". The time is ripe for a critical dialogue between physicists and biologists to explore the fundamental aspects of finite‐system self‐assembly and maturation (structural phase transformation) phenomena that are crucial to the life cycles and infectivity of a wide variety of RNA and DNA viruses. The focus of the workshop will be on recent experiments, both in vitro and in vivo, and on most recent developments in the physics and mathematics of viral structure and assembly which have begun to delineate the role played by protein-nucleic acid interactions and have stimulated new theoretical approaches to understanding how viruses "work".


June 21- July 12
The Physics of Accretion and Feedback in the Circum-Galactic Medium


Organizers:
Romeel Dave, University of the Western Cape
Crystal Martin, University of California, Santa Barbara
Guinevere Kauffmann*, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
Norman Murray, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics
Charles Steidel, Caltech
Jason Tumlinson,Space Telescope Science Institute

In the modern paradigm of galaxy evolution, the key physical processes that modulate the growth of galaxies are accretion and feedback: the former delivers new gas withwhich to form stars and grow supermassive black holes, while the latter suppresses and/or expels accreted material. This workshop is aimed at exploring galactic accretion and feedback processes from the present-day back to the peak epoch of galaxy growth at redshifts 2-3. We will gather top theorists with expertise spanning topics ranging from models of stellar evolution and interstellar medium, to hydrodynamical simulations and semi-analytic models of galaxy formation, to the energetic processes occurring in the vicinity of black holes. We will discuss our models in the context of emerging observations that are providing new physical constraints and insights. We aim to chart a forward-looking course for solving the most crucial problems in this field by using state-of-the-art models to help interpret the data from current and future facilities.


July 5 - July 26
From Scattering Amplitudes to the Conformal Bootstrap


Organizers:
Henriette Elvang*, University of Michigan
David Poland, Yale University
Leonardo Rastelli, Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics
Jaroslav Trnka, Caltech

The workshop will be devoted to new methods in quantum field theory, with a special emphasis on the exciting recent developments on the structure of perturbative scattering amplitudes and on the conformal bootstrap. The two subjects have a conceptual kinship and it will be fruitful to bring together experts of both camps. The workshop will also cover related areas of interest, such as integrability, and the general realm of exact results in supersymmetric fi eld theory.


July 12 - August 9
Ultra-Cold Quantum Matter with Atoms and Molecules


Organizers:
Gordon Baym, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Randall Hulet, , Rice University
Carlos Sa de Melo, Georgia Institute of Technology
Ian Spielman, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Henk Stoof, Utrecht University

While research with ultra-cold atoms and molecules has its technical underpinnings in atomic and molecular physics, itsintellectual framework is deeply rooted in condensed matter, high energy and astrophysics. The manipulation of ultra-cold atoms and molecules allowed for the creation of several ultra-low-temperature quantum matter systems with an unprecedented degree of control over interaction strength; atom/molecule density; magnetization; artificial gauge and spin-orbit fields; lattice strength, structure, and dimensionality. This ability to tune the parameters of a given system allows not only for the establishment of connections to known Hamiltonians in various areas of quantum matter physics, but also allows for invention of new Hamiltonians not encountered in any other area of physics. This degree of control enables the exploration of the phase space of interacting bosons and fermions, and permits the characterization of their quantum phases via spectroscopic, thermodynamic, transport, and non-equilibrium measurements. In this setting, we aim in this workshop to nurture a partnership between experimentand theory and to develop the underlying organizational principles by which we can understand all quantum matter: equilibrium, steady-state and non-equilibrium, alike.


July 26 - August 16
Neutrinos from Space and on Earth


Organizers:
Scott Dodelson, Fermilab
Graciela Gelmini*, University of California, Los Angeles
Silvia Pascoli, Durham University
Kate Scholberg, Duke University

Neutrino physics has a central position in the near-future plans of High Energy Physics worldwide. This Aspen Summer Workshop will bring together experts to examine a number of currently relevant questions in neutrino physics and astrophysics, and the connections between them and to related areas of physics and cosmology such as dark matter. Topics covered will include neutrino oscillation experiments, neutrinoless double beta decay searches, neutrino properties from CMB and galaxy searches, sterile neutrinos, supernova neutrinos, terrestrial neutrinos, and very-high and ultra-high-energy neutrinos from astrophysical sources.


August 9 - September 13
New Directions to Shed Light on Dark Matter


Organizers:
Laura Baudis*, Zurich - ETH
Nathaniel Craig Rutgers University
Maxim Pospelov, University of Victoria
Stefano Profumo, University of California, Santa Cruz
Maria Spriopulu, Caltech
Gabrijela Zaharijas, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Italy

This workshop aims to bring experimentalists in the fields of searches for dark matter with direct, indirect and collider detection methods together with theorists from particle physics and astrophysics. Emphasis will be given to all three experimental routes to discovering dark matter, across the intensity/precision frontier (direct detection), the energy frontier (colliders) and the cosmic frontier (indirect detection). The goal of the workshop is to assess the role of forthcoming experimental results and to chart a future course for the field.


August 16 - September 13
Beyond Quasiparticles: New Paradigms for Quantum Fluids


Organizers:
Silke Buhler-Paschen, Vienna University of Technology
Yong-Baek Kim, University of Toronto
Olexei Motrunich*, Caltech
Qimiao Si, RiceUniversity

Much of our understanding of phases of matter is based on the concept known as �quasiparticles�, which strives for a picture of low-energy excitations as a collection of weakly interacting particle-like entities. However, over the last three decades, many materials have appeared that are �strongly correlated� and dramatically defy the �quasiparticle paradigm� �most famously the so- called �strange metal� phase in the copper based high temperature superconductors, but also the �non-Fermi liquid� state near the border of magnetism in rare earth based metals known as �heavy fermion materials�. New semiconducting magnets known as �gapless spin liquid� phases in quantum antiferromagnets are further examples that defy the concept of quasiparticles. It is widely believed that such quantum fluids with no quasiparticle description are the key to understanding many of these strongly correlated quantum materials.

Recent years have seen tremendous progress in a number of rather diverse directions on both experimental and theoretical fronts. We are planning to bring together researchers in this area and attempt to synthesize diverse strands to take the next steps at this grand challenge in Condensed Matter Physics. Both experimental and theoretical developments will be discussed. Experimental systems will include non-Fermi liquid systems such as the cuprates and heavy electron metals near quantum criticality, non-Fermi liquid realizations in quantum dots, and various candidate quantum spin liquid materials. Theoretical progress using various effective field theories of such systems, dynamical mean field theories, and emerging connections to other areas of physics such as quantum information and gauge-gravity dualities will be discussed.


August 16 - September 13
F-Theory at the Interface of Particle Physics and Mathematics


Organizers:
Mirjam Cvetic, University of Pennsylvania
David R. Morrison, University of California Santa Barbara
Sakura Schafer-Nameki*, King's College
Timo Weigand, Heidelberg

This workshop brings together mathematicians, string theorists, formal field theorists and phenomenologists, with the goal to further our understanding of the conceptual foundations and phenomenological implications of F-theory model building. This includes exploring properties of related classes of string compactifications, novel aspects of string duality and questions of moduli stabilization and supersymmetry breaking in string theory. The proposed activities will concentrate on further extending the very fruitful interplay between string theory/F-theory and mathematics, most notably algebraic geometry and topology, as well as strengthening the connections and relevance of this field to particle physics, field theory and cosmology.



* Organizer in charge of Diversity
For more information about the Aspen Center for Physics, call (970) 925-2585 or email acp at aspenphys. org.