Long Stays at the Center

The Aspen Center for Physics provides a unique environment for extended discussion and collaborative research of a type not generally possible at shorter workshops and conferences. The Center thus requires that participants stay at the Center for a minimum of two full working weeks, with stays of three and four weeks encouraged and stays of five weeks possible. A limited number of one-week stays are allowed each summer to enable attendance by physicists who are not able to participate for two weeks or longer because of professional or personal commitments such as laboratory management or childcare/eldercare arrangements.

Read more to understand how the benefits of long stays far outweigh the costs.

Benefits of long stays:

quotes from participant exit reports

"I had an overwhelmingly positive experience and plan to apply again. I had originally worried that two weeks would seem like too long a chunk of time. But I now see that two weeks is just enough time to get settled and make real progress."

"This was my first time staying for a full 3 weeks, and I'm very glad that I did.  It let me find a new flow and working pace to really think about something for long days at a time."

"The workshop organization promotes free exchange of ideas, which is one of the highlights of all Aspen programs. At the same time the few informal talks helped to organize a bit the focus of these discussions. Being here for at least two weeks is important, since it gives time to get immersed in the great atmosphere that the center promotes."

"My only disappointment was that I could not stay longer. I am beginning to believe that three weeks is an optimal residence time."

"This workshop put together all the main experts in the field. Having all such people in the same place for a relatively long period of time increased the possibility to form new collaborations on hot topics in the field."

"Being able to stay for several weeks definitely contributed to greater progress toward our research goals. The ease with which family could be accommodated (and entertained!) made the longer stay possible and was very much welcome."

"As a first timer, I applied for Aspen because I was attracted by the long duration of the workshop. I expected that with such a long time, people can really sit down, trying to learn and work on something. What I actually got is much more than my expectation."

"If I had any disappointment about the workshop it is that I did not arrange to stay for a longer period."

"The fact that the workshop spanned several weeks (I stayed for the last two) also contributed to the relaxed atmosphere, as I felt there was ample time for both the larger meetings, smaller discussions and individual work."

"This was my first stay at the Aspen Center. It was a very different workshop than I ever attended because of the lack of structure. At first, I chatted with people but mostly continued with the work that I was doing. After seeing the same people a few days in a row, the chatting turned into more serious discussions about work, and I formed three excellent collaborations that have stuck with me after...It definitely took me a few days to 'get it', but after I did, I really appreciated what it had to offer. I just never had been to a workshop with so much free time. One of my best ideas came from a long walk with a colleague - this may have been my first long walk with a colleague... ever."

Costs of long stays

The fixed costs of participation at the Center include travel to and from Aspen and the registration fee. The extra costs for staying an additional week are mainly housing and food. Housing costs are surprisingly low: in summer 2018, shared housing was almost free ($125 per WEEK) and even the largest (3-bedroom) apartment was cheaper than the $150/night or more that one would pay for a hotel room at a typical conference (more details below).  With the availability of kitchens in the housing, food costs are about the same as they would be at home (noting that supermarket prices are roughly 10% higher in Aspen than in a typical US big-city suburb due to the costs of transport). The costs of getting around town are zero: participants don't need a car, the local buses are free, and bicycles and helmets can be borrowed free from the Center's fleet (if you borrow a bicycle, the Center does encourage you to donate $25 per week to the bicycle fund). If you have children, there will also be childcare costs for staying an extra week. The costs of most day camps in the area, with day-to-day enrollment, range from about $40 to $125 per day.