2014 Winter Conferences

* Denotes physicist in charge of diversity

Condensed Matter Physics I
January 5 - 11, 2014

Unconventional Order in Strongly Correlated Electron Systems

Elihu Abrahams, UCLA
Sudip Chakravarty, UCLA
*Steven Kivelson, Stanford

Strongly interacting quantum systems exhibit an astonishing variety of emergent behaviors, the study of which has long been central to many branches of physics and materials science. In recent years, many of the most intensive studies have been motivated by the discovery of various materials, which exhibit unconventional superconductivity, along with a variety of electronic phases with unusual broken symmetries, and/or behavior beyond the expectations of conventional Fermi-liquid theory. The problems involved are deep and important. The reasons for designing a workshop in this general area are to assess the progress made in the past year or two and to search for promising new directions. This conference will focus on recent advances in the understanding of unconventional forms of electronic order both superconducting and non-superconducting.

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Condensed Matter Physics II
January 12 - 18, 2014

Beyond Quasiparticles: New Paradigms for Quantum Fluids

Olexei Motrunich, Caltech
Satoru Nakatsuji, University of Tokyo
Senthil Todadri, MIT

The quasiparticle concept underlies textbook descriptions of many-body physics. Modern condensed matter physics has, however, increasingly commonly unearthed situations where the low-energy physics defies a description in terms of elementary quasiparticle excitations. Striking examples are various metals where the standard Fermi-liquid theory breaks down. Other examples are novel phases of magnetic matter where the spins form a gapless, fluid-like state with no elementary excitations. Developing ideas and methods to address such states of matter is one of the most fundamental problems in modern quantum many-body physics. This conference will be on recent progress in a number of diverse experimental and theoretical directions on this grand challenge in the field.

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Particle Physics
January 18 - 24, 2014

Frontiers in Particle Physics: From Dark Matter to the LHC and Beyond

Kyle Cranmer, NYU
Kalanand Mishra, Fermilab
Michele Papucci, LBNL
*Tomer Volansky, Tel Aviv University
Jure Zupan, University of Cincinnati

With the recent discovery of the Higgs particle, this workshop will be devoted to the status of our understanding of the Electroweak symmetry breaking and related topics. Particular emphasis will be given to the many possible mechanisms that may be realized in nature, and how these can be tested in the near future. The workshop will provide a broad overview of the latest results in particle physics, bringing together experimental and theoretical particle physicists. Additional topics will include: indirect and direct dark matter searches, SUSY searches, top quark physics, exotic phenomena, flavor physics and improved understanding of standard model processes. An important aspect of the workshop is to provide a look into the future, from the experimental viewpoint, as well as the the theoretical one.

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January 27 - February 1, 2014

Active Fluids: Bridging Complex Fluids and Biofluids

Arezoo Ardekani, University of Notre Dame
Eric Lauga, University of Cambridge
Yuriko Renardy, Virginia Tech
David Saintillan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Jun Zhang, New York University and Courant Institute

Active fluids encompass many branches of physics, mathematics, and engineering, including fluid mechanics, hard and soft condensed matter physics, polymer physics and engineering, biophysics, continuum mechanics, complex fluids, and biologically inspired engineering. This conference will foster cross-fertilization of ideas among researchers with an interest in the areas of complex and non-Newtonian fluids on one hand, and biological fluids on the other, within the common theme of active fluids. The schedule consists of informal in-depth lectures and discussions, with a large number of contributed oral and poster presentations. The scope includes but is not restricted to:

  • How to model active fluids?
  • How to experimentally capture the range of time and length scales in prototypical active fluids?
  • How to adapt these techniques to the study of active matter which typically requires resolution at both the nano scale and at the continuum level?
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February 2 - 7, 2014

Unveiling The Formation of Massive Galaxies - Theoretical and Observational Challenges

Maruŝa Bradač, UC Davis
Charlie Conroy, UC Santa Cruz
Richard Ellis, Caltech
*Oleg Gnedin, University of Michigan
Andrey Kravtsov, University of Chicago
Crystal Martin, UC Santa Barbara
*Thorsten Naab, Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics
Debora Sijaki, Cambridge, UK
Patricia Tissera, IAFE-CONICET, Argentina
Tommaso Treu, UC Santa Barbara
Alexey Vikhlinin, CfA Harvard University
Simon White, Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics

During the last several years traditional theories on the origin of most massive galaxies have been challenged by recent discoveries. Once imagined to be simple systems with old stellar populations, these galaxies are now holding clues to rapid structural evolution, violent galaxy cannibalism, most massive black holes in the universe, giant stellar clusters, environmental factors shaping the initial mass function of stars, and even properties of dark matter. These galaxies are thought to reside deep at the bottom of the potential wells of massive dark matter halos, hosts to galaxy groups and clusters, and provide a unique window into processes that operate at all redshifts in some of the densest regions of the universe. From a string of recent discoveries a new story is emerging, a story of rich and complex evolutionary paths that lead to present day massive galaxies. This new story defies old pre-conceptions, drives progress in our understanding, and poses new challenges for simulations. This Aspen Winter Conference will synthesize the latest theoretical and observational developments and discuss strategies for future surveys and numerical modeling.

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Quantum Computations
March 9 - 14, 2014

Advances in Quantum Algorithms and Computation

Adam Harrow, MIT
*Krysta Svore, Microsoft Research
Matthias Troyer, ETH Zurich

This conference highlights topics at the forefront of quantum computing and underlines the need to foster collaboration and the exchange of ideas among scientists in order to further the possibility of breakthroughs in quantum algorithms.

With the latest advances in quantum devices and quantum algorithms, it is an opportune time to discuss the current challenges and the possibility of breakthrough killer applications for a quantum computer beyond factoring. The primary goal of this winter conference is to bring together experts from a rich diversity of backgrounds to further the prospect of revolutions in quantum algorithms, and to discuss the key challenges in developing new techniques for solving computational problems on a quantum computer.

Quantum algorithms take advantage of methods founded on the laws of quantum physics and promise computational speed-ups over classical methods. Most quantum algorithms draw from a small number of techniques, such as amplitude amplification, quantum annealing, and quantum phase estimation, and offer fast solutions to problems in a variety of fields including number theory, database search, physical simulation, chemistry and physics.

The conference will highlight topics at the forefront of quantum computing and breakthroughs in quantum algorithms. Specific topics to be covered at the conference include:

  • Adiabatic Quantum Optimization and Quantum Annealing
  • Quantum Walks
  • Quantum Algorithms in the Quantum Circuit Model
  • Quantum Query Models
  • Quantum Simulation of Physical Systems
  • Classical Methods for Simulation of Quantum Algorithms
  • Quantum Fault Tolerance and Error Correction
The conference will consist of invited talks and poster submissions. Some poster submissions may be considered for contributed talks.

Interdisciplinary Physics
March 16 - 22, 2014

New Perspectives on Thermalization: Condensed Matter, Quantum Information, QCD and String Theory

Vijay Balasubramanian, University of Pennsylvania
Matthew Hastings, UC Santa Barbara, Microsoft Station Q
Patrick Hayden, McGill University, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

The approach to thermal equilibrium is filled with subtleties. Remarkable new insights into this process are being made at the boundaries between condensed matter, quantum information, particle physics, statistical physics and string theory. This conference will bring together leading researchers from each of these fields to share their insights and learn from each other. The conference will address new and old challenging questions about the relaxation to equilibrium, including:

  • To what extent can the formal understanding of entangled equilibrium from quantum information be given a dynamical underpinning using techniques from condensed matter and string theory?
  • Can typicality help explain rapid thermalization in strongly coupled field theories, including QCD?
  • Can cold atoms be used to simulate the approach to equilibrium in holographic thermalization?
  • Are there firewalls at black hole event horizons? The recent controversy surrounding this issue illustrates our continued inability to carefully understand the structure of the quasi-thermal entanglement generated during black hole evaporation.