In the above photo, some of those who attended the Aspen Center for Physics' June 6, 2013 public lecture on The Physics of Cooking by David Weitz made ice cream after the lecture by tossing salt and ice and a bag of milk, cream and sugar until it solidified.

Click the colored dates for more information on each lecture.
View a 13-minute Video about the Aspen Center for Physics



Nick and Maggie DeWolf Public Lectures

Winter 2015

Wednesdays - 5:30 pm

Wheeler Opera House

Before each lecture, plan to attend Physics Cafés, chats with physicists co-hosted with the Aspen Science Center, at 4:30 pm in the Wheeler Mezzanine

Lectures and Cafés are Free

Click the dates for more information on each lecture.
View a 13-minute Video about the Aspen Center for Physics


  • January 7
    Nature's Smallest Rotary Engine: Why We Eat and Why We Breathe
    Kazuhiko Kinosita, Waseda University, Japan

    Each one of us is a heater of about 100 watts. We burn the food we ingest with the oxygen we inhale, though not in the literal sense, of course. We oxidize the food slowly to minimize heat production while synthesizing ATP (adenosine [ah den ah seen] tri-phosphate). We expend our body weight of ATP each day but you wouldn’t want to eat that much ATP which is not tasty! More than a billion times a billion of Nature’s Smallest Rotary Engine continuously rotate in our body, from head to foot, splitting and then re-synthesizing ATP. We eat and breathe to keep these rotary engines running!
  • January 14
    How Plants and Animals Survive Crashing Ocean Waves
    Mark Denny, Stanford University

    As ocean waves crash on rocky shores and coral reefs, they are accompanied by water velocities as high as 30 miles per second, among the highest in nature. One might suppose that the hydrodynamic forces imposed by these flows -- equivalent to those associated with supersonic flows in air -- would prohibit plants and animals from living in these extreme environments, but just the opposite is true. Next to tropical rain forests, life in wave-exposed habitats is the most diverse on the planet. Professor Denny will use limpets, acorn barnacles, seaweeds and other examples to highlight aspects of fluid dynamics seldom encountered in other habitats.
  • January 21
    Topic: Black Holes in Dense Star Clusters
    Speaker: Andrea Ghez, University of California, Los Angeles
    January 28
  • Topic: Collider Physics
  • February 4
    Topic: Glass Physics/Condensed Matter
  • February 18
    Topic: Quantum Field Theory
  • March 11
    Topic: The Cosmological Model
  • March 25
    Topic: Non-Equilibrium Quantum Matter