Financial Support for the Center and for Participants

Who Supports Us

Called the "most cost effective program of its kind" by a major funding agency, the Aspen Center for Physics takes pride in the fiscal responsibility that has allowed it to grow and prosper since its beginnings in 1961 and first meetings in 1962.

The Aspen Center for Physics' cognizant grant agency is the National Science Foundation (current Grant #PHY-1607611). Since 1972, the NSF has generously provided grant monies annually. NSF funds are used to support the physicists' housing costs in Aspen. This allows some physicists to attend who would not otherwise be able to afford participation. NSF support helps encourage under-represented groups, those whose institutions limit travel funds, and junior scientists.

In the past, the Department of Energy had been instrumental in annual funding of the winter conferences by supporting the publication and secretarial needs. Currently, the DOE generously provides participant support for individual winter conferences.

Several corporations, foundations, laboratories and individuals also donate to the Center for specific programs, building projects, or for our endowment. Their assistance has been invaluable and has made the Center a viable and prospering institution for theoretical physicists to learn, confer and collaborate to increase our knowledge of the world around us.

We are able to conduct business with a small staff thanks to thousands of hours donated annually by ACP Members. We are a center by and for physicists who handle all of the scientific matters, including programming, admissions, financing, and policy making.

How We Support Physicists

A portion of grants and donations received by the Center is used to help support physicists while they are in Aspen. Each summer, physicists staying in ACP-arranged housing receive a discounted rate due to a NSF grant to reduce lodging expenses. In the winter, support varies from conference to conference. Grants from other entities are obtained and distributed by the conference organizers.

The Simons Foundation has generously provided funds to support physicists coming from countries where science funding is not strong or from economically disadvantaged countries. All physicists who would like to participate at the Aspen Center for Physics apply before January 31 of the year preceding the summer they would like to attend. The admissions process is rigorous due to the large number of applications. This results in a 60% acceptance rate. Physicists do not apply for the Simons grant. If the country in which they are working is one that will be supported that year, the physicists will receive letters of acceptance that include information about Simons funding. The Simons grant pays for an accepted individual's registration fee, shared housing while in Aspen (one's own room in a two- or three-bedroom apartment), and a portion of air travel, which will vary from year to year, but may not cover all of one's travel expenses.

The Sloan Foundation has generously provided funds to support early-career scientists belonging to domestic under-represented groups in physics departments across U.S. institutions, including (but not limited to) gender, ethnicity, and race.

Very limited funds that would usually cover the ACP registration fees are also available to qualified early-career participants from the Shaham and Trustee Funds. Email us: for more information. The Block fund for one promising young physicist per winter conference and the Ramond Family fund for families to enjoy Aspen have no application process and are awarded by committee.

If You Would Like to Donate

We are a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation. All donations are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible!

You may give a general donation or target your giving:

Annual Fund is designated by the Board of Trustees to further Center programs.
Bicycle Fund supports the fleet of bicycles which are available free to physicists.
Block Fund, named in honor of Martin and Beate Block, is a prized award given to one promising junior physicist during each winter conference.
The Paula Johnson Family Support Fund will ease the financial burden of bringing physicists' families to Aspen and will provide support where needed, including childcare assistance and family activities.
Ramond Family Fund goes to young families to enjoy their time together in Aspen.
Shaham Fund is given to a young physicist in memory of the late Jacob Shaham.
Tree Fund supports our effort to replace old aspen trees and develop a mixed forest. Originally this fund was used for trees to surround the "Circle of Serenity" creating a calm, outdoor atmosphere in which to contemplate the secrets of the universe.
Trustee Fund is for young physicists and honors late former trustees of the Center.

If you are interested in contributing to the Center, contact us at or call 970-925-2585. You may make donations through our shopping cart. Or mail a check to ACP, 700 W Gillespie, Aspen, CO 81611.

"There is one thing in particular that I find a really strong aspect of the Aspen Physics Center. This is something I realized after my recent move from Europe to the US. Although I really enjoy the strong science climate in the US, the facilities, the dynamics and the speed, there is one thing that is missing here. In the US people are so driven by the next deadline for grants applications that we are always in a hurry. Really taking the time to sit down, think and fully discuss the many aspects of a particular problem with expert colleagues has become a very rare event. Aspen really provides the opportunity to do this. Maybe only for a few intense weeks of the year, but that is enough for the start of high-quality papers that have a real impact."