2013 Winter Conferences

January 6 - 11, 2013

Single Molecule Biophysics

Steven Block, Stanford University
Thomas Perkins, JILA

This will be the 7th biennial workshop on Single Molecule Biophysics (SMB) held at the Aspen Center for Physics (ACP), building on a successful conference series begun in 2001. The SMB meeting highlights recent progress in the field of single molecule biophysics on both its experimental and theoretical frontiers. Topics vary somewhat every year. Biological systems covered in past meetings have included mechanoenzymes (myosin, kinesin, dynein, ATP synthase, flagellar motors), nucleic acid-based enzymes (polymerases, topoisomerases, helicases, etc.), nucleic acids (DNA & RNA), and aspects of molecular physiology (folding/unfolding, binding, signaling, and other biostructural changes). Featured experimental techniques have included fluorescence, optical trapping, magnetic tweezers, scanned-probe microscopy, and super resolution microscopy. The workshop traditionally admits a mixture of experimentalists and theorists. Biologists and physicists with either newfound or longstanding interests in biophysics are encouraged to apply: all levels of accomplishment are welcome. The meeting features a lively mix of students and professors. The SMB workshop has been oversubscribed in the past, so higher priority will be assigned to applicants presenting important new findings who commit to remain for the duration of the meeting. In the event of oversubscription, a limit of two representatives from each participating scientific group or collaboration will be adopted. We will attempt to award each group or collaboration one short talk based on the applications submitted. All attendees are also invited to present posters. Prospective participants should submit the following:

A short abstract (<200 words) of the proposed contribution along with a title, names, and affiliations of any co-authors. Abstracts will be ranked and used as a basis for admission.
• Indicate if you wish the abstract to be considered for a talk: otherwise, a poster presentation will be assumed • Indicate that you intend to attend the full meeting, if accepted. If a partial attendance is necessary, please be sure to state the reason.

In years past, funds have been raised to help defray a portion of the expenses for junior participants, or for those traveling a very long way. Fund-raising continues and we intend to maintain this tradition. In addition, one junior applicant will receive a merit-based scholarship award from a special endowment fund for the ACP Winter Meetings.

Condensed Matter Physics
January 13 - 18, 2013

Topological States of Matter

Leo Kouwenhoven, Delft Institute of Technology
Roman Lutchyn, Microsoft Station Q
Nadya Mason, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Kirill Shtengel, University of California, Riverside

Topologically ordered phases represent a departure from the well-established Landau paradigm of broken symmetries. They cannot be described by local order parameters, yet they have many peculiar properties clearly distinguishing them from the conventional quantum-disordered phases. One of their most interesting aspects is the appearance of exotic quasiparticles obeying non-Abelian braiding statistics.

This winter conference will focus on topologically ordered phases of matter, their experimental signatures, and possible ways of utilizing them as platforms for topologically-protected quantum computation. It will encompass three major directions of the interdisciplinary research in this field: fractional quantum Hall systems, topological insulators and superconductors, and topological quantum information processing. The aim of this conference is to bring together researchers working on different subjects related to topological states of matter and encourage research driven interaction between them, further stimulating new ideas and approaches in this rapidly developing field.

For more information, please click here.

January 19 - 24, 2013

Physical Applications of Millisecond Pulsars

Maura McLaughlin, West Virginia University
Scott Ransom, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Paul Ray, Naval Research Laboratory
Ingrid Stairs, University of British Columbia
Stephen Thorsett, Willamette University

Millisecond pulsars are exotic, energetic neutron stars which allow us to probe multiple facets of fundamental physics via a variety of measurements at different wavelengths. Since the discovery of the first millisecond pulsar 30 years ago, over 200 of these objects have been discovered, with the population more than doubling in the last decade. These discoveries include many strange and unique systems that challenge our theoretical understanding and serve as powerful physics tools. This conference will be the third in a roughly decadal series of Aspen Winter Conferences on studying physics with pulsars. Among the topics to be discussed are: the acceleration of particles to highly relativistic energies in millisecond pulsar magnetospheres and the production of GeV gamma-rays by those particles, the unknown plasma physics responsible for radio eclipses from certain binary pulsars, the physics of matter at supra-nuclear densities and the equation of state of neutron-rich material, the evolution of binary and isolated millisecond pulsars, pulsars in globular clusters, classical and relativistic orbital dynamics including stringent tests of general relativity, and the likely imminent detection of nanohertz gravitational radiation using a pulsar timing array.

January 28 - February 3, 2013

Closing in on Dark Matter

Jodi Cooley, Southern Methodist University
Stefan Funk, Stanford University
Manoj Kaplinghat, University of California, Irvine
Jason Kumar, University of Hawaii
Jennifer Siegal-Gaskins, Caltech
Anyes Taffard, University of California, Irvine

Dark matter is a cornerstone of the cosmological Standard Model, but we only have evidence for it through its gravitational effects. Experimental results to date have provided inconclusive but tantalizing evidence for the particle nature of dark matter. In the coming months, experimental developments are expected to shed light on some of its fundamental properties. A significant advance in our understanding may follow. The complementary approaches to detecting dark matter are reaching sensitivities which will probe many dark matter theories. At the same time, there has been exciting new research elucidating the possible theoretical frameworks for dark matter. This Aspen Winter Workshop will focus on synthesizing these latest experimental results and theoretical developments, determining the implications for dark matter properties, and pinpointing future directions in this rapidly evolving field.

For more information, please click here.

Particle Physics
February 3 - 9, 2013

New Directions in Neutrino Physics

Andre de Gouvea Northwestern University
Carter Hall, University of Maryland
Gail McLaughlin, North Carolina State University
Ryan Patterson, California Institute of Technology
David Saltzberg, University of California, Los Angeles
Kate Scholberg, Duke University
Cristina Volpe, APC-Astroparticule et Cosmologie, Paris

Nearly a decade ago, a clear path forward was developed by the neutrino physics community. Exciting new results have recently come out as early steps along that path. The time is now ripe to look at new experimental ideas that have arisen and the performance of current experiments. This conference will take the current status of experiments as its launching point. We will examine new accelerator and reactor oscillation results, prospects for learning about the mass hierarchy and leptonic CP violation, and potential for observing new physics in oscillation experiments. We will also cover the latest developments in neutrino physics, astrophysics and cosmology more broadly, including neutrinoless double beta decay, neutrino interactions, and supernovae. The emphasis of the conference will be on how new experimental techniques and theoretical ideas will impact the future directions of the field.

February 9 - 15, 2013

Exoplanets in Multi-Body Systems in the Kepler Era

Eric B. Ford (University of Florida; co-chair)
Nader Haghighipour (Institute for Astronomy, Univ. Hawaii; co-chair)
Eric Agol (University of Washington)
Matthew J. Holman (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
Rosemary Mardling (Monash University/University of Geneva)
Renu Malhotra (The University of Arizona)
Ruth Murray-Clay (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

For centuries, theories of planet formation were guided exclusively by our solar system. However, the discovery of planets orbiting other stars (exoplanets) in the past two decades has demonstrated that nature often produces planetary systems quite different from our own, neither anticipated by nor well-explained by the current theories of solar system formation and dynamics. The diversity of planetary system architectures (the masses and orbital arrangements of planets) has confronted astronomers with many new challenges and reinvigorated the fields of planet formation and orbital dynamics. Among these challenges are planetary systems with multiple planets in close-in orbits, highly eccentric orbits, and planets in binary star systems.

In this one week program, scientists from the fields of planetary science, celestial mechanics, astronomy, astrophysics and astrobiology will meet to discuss new developments in the field of extrasolar multi-planet systems. The goal of our workshop is to provide an environment where these scientists can present new ideas, discuss their implications for identifying the most important problems in the field and chart the field's future direction.

Particle Physics
March 10 - 16, 2013

Higgs Quo Vadis

Sally Dawson, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Anna Goussiou, University of Washington
Eilam Gross, Weizmann Institute of Science (chair)
Sven Heinemeyer, Insituto de Fisica de Cantabria (IFCA/CSIC)
Christoph Paus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Maurizio Pierini, CERN
Lian-Tao Wang, University of Chicago

By winter 2013, the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the LHC will per experiment have results based on 5 inverse fb at 7 TeV and about another 20 inverse fb at 8 TeV. Following the discovery of a Higgs-like particle in mid 2012, the new data will shed light on its properties, such as couplings to other particles, spin and CP properties.

The 2013 Aspen Winter Conference on particle physics will bring together experimentalists and theorists, creating a stimulating environment to present and discuss the implications of the newest Higgs results. A thorough understanding of the implications of this observation is also essential for higher energy runs at the LHC, including mapping out analysis strategies and proposing new relevant measurements. It will also point the new directions in the search for new physics beyond the Standard Model.

The Higgs-Quo-Vadis conference will be formulated to encourage close collaborations and active exchange of information, which will be crucial to unveil the nature of this new particle that constitutes these days the central topic of particle physics.