I was reluctant to commit to three weeks.. but there were a host of interesting talks and discussion sessions going on, people I wanted to chat with about science, and then there was my vision of sequestering myself and finally writing a paper...after I got into the rhythm of Aspen life, I realized that there was time to do all three, and no matter which aspect I was focused on at the moment, it was productive...

Summer in Aspen

The Summer Program at the Aspen Center for Physics is held from mid-May to mid-September. Click Programs on the left for this year's workshop list. Applications are welcome from any physicist or astrophysicist who has a serious program of research to be carried out at the Center. The Aspen Center for Physics is committed to a significant participation of women and under-represented groups in all of the Center's programs. Click the Diversity link on the left to learn more.

Length of Stay and Who Participates

The summer program is unstructured and concentrates on individual research and the informal exchange of ideas. About 500 physicists and astrophysicists from over 100 institutions participate each summer, with 80-90 in residence at a time.

A two-week stay is the minimum, and three- to four-week stays are encouraged. About 40% of participants attend for the first time. The research interests of the participants include astrophysics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, dynamical systems, elementary particle physics, mathematical physics, and statistical physics. The interactions between participants with different interests and backgrounds are one of the most stimulating aspects of the program. Applicants can be sure that colleagues from all subfields of physics will be present throughout the summer. All participants are working physicists from Postdoc to Nobel Laureate. If a graduate student is researching and publishing at a level of a working physicist, he or she might be considered for admission, but this is a rare occurrence.

Individual Research

One need not apply to a specific summer workshop. The Center encourages any physicist to come to the Center to do individual research. The advantages of working in Aspen are unfettered time and the availability of over 80 other physicists, at any one time, in a variety of fields with whom to discuss ideas.

Collaborations or Working Groups

The Center provides a location where physicists from distant institutions can meet in person for intensive research. These small, informal collaborations of two to six physicists, called Working Groups on our application, are encouraged. Efforts are made to accommodate these groups from more than one university or lab who wish to work together. When you complete your summer application by January 31, there is a special page for the Working Group leader to list potential members, desirable dates and a brief description of the research project. All potential Working Group members must apply before the deadline.


Equally important to the Aspen Summer Program are the workshops that serve as focal points on topics of current interest. Workshops are very informal, with an extremely limited number of talks so that participants have ample time for discussion and/or initiating new work. Click Programs on the side panel for current and past workshops.


All participants must apply before the January 31 deadline and must then be accepted. Unfortunately, applications far exceed available spaces. Acceptances are emailed in mid-March. All invited participants are welcome to participate in all workshop sessions held at the Center during their stay.

Financial Aspects

Thanks to continuing support from the National Science Foundation, the costs for summer program participation in 2017 will be $650. The registration fee and a housing deposit of $160 are payable at the time an invitation to participate is accepted. This prepayment is non-refundable if cancellation occurs after May 1. Individual participants are to provide their own salaries from their contracts, grants, fellowships, or regular appointments. Academic and research institutions and the funding agencies have recognized the value of participating in the Center and have been willing to pay summer salaries for work performed here. No funds are available for salaries for physicists. Note also that no food is included in the registration fee.

A lodging subsidy provided by the National Science Foundation (Grant #1607611) is given to each participant using housing arranged through the Center. Limited funds may be available for additional support for visits by foreign participants, especially those from under-represented and developing countries. These grant amounts vary. Participants are urged to obtain travel funds from their own institutions.

For more on Center funds and funding, click here.