2015 Winter Conferences

* Denotes physicist in charge of diversity

Biophysics I
January 4 - 9, 2015

Single Molecule Biophysics

Steven Block, Stanford University
Thomas Perkins, JILA, University of Colorado

This will be the 8th biennial workshop on Single Molecule Biophysics (SMB) held at the Aspen Center for Physics (ACP), building on a successful 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 from year to 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. This 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 a 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.

Biophysics II
January 11 - 16, 2015

Microscale Ocean Biophysics

Stuart Humphries, University of Hull, UK
Thomas Kiorboe, Technical University of Denmark
Roman Stocker, MIT

This highly interdisciplinary meeting will focus on how physical processes affect aquatic organisms at small scales, and thereby the global processes in oceans and lakes that microorganisms overwhelmingly govern. Over the past two decades, there has been a growing realization that the ecology of these organisms depends not only on the bulk environmental conditions, but also crucially on small-scale biophysical interactions and microscale heterogeneity in the physical and chemical conditions. It is becoming clear that physical processes play a fundamental role in shaping the microscale landscapes that form the arena in which these organisms forage, reproduce and encounter each other. A key goal of this meeting is to help advance our understanding of aquatic ecosystems by replacing current statistical and heuristic descriptions with a mechanistic understanding of the component processes. This cannot be achieved without a strong appeal to small-scale fluid physics, mass transport, active suspensions, turbulence, and mechanics in general. The result is a rich landscape of opportunities for physicists, mathematicians, chemists and engineers to be involved in oceanographic and environmental problems, and for oceanographers, biologists and ecologists to inspire and utilize physical concepts and approaches more pervasively. The vision underpinning this meeting is that the interdisciplinary application and advancement of these topics in the context of oceanographic processes will greatly improve our understanding of how organism life is constrained and has evolved to exploit the fundamental laws of physics.

Astro Physics I
January 17 - 22, 2015

Black Holes in Dense Star Clusters

Laura Chomiuk, Michigan State University
Andrea Ghez, University of California, Los Angeles
Vassiliki Kalogera, Northwestern University
Fred Rasio, Northwestern University
Stein Sigurdsson, Pennsylvania State University


- Formation and dynamical evolution of stellar black holes in dense star clusters
- Electromagnetic signatures of black hole binaries in globular clusters and galactic nuclei
- Electromagnetic transients from black hole - star interactions
- Black hole binaries as sources of gravitational waves
- Dense star clusters as gravitational wave source factories and implications for LIGO
- Hydrodynamics of collisions, mergers, and tidal disruptions
- Black hole growth through accretion and mergers
- Dynamics of nuclear star clusters around supermassive black holes
- Intermediate-mass black holes and ultraluminous X-ray sources
- The black hole at the center of our Milky Way

For more information, please click here.

Particle Physics I
January 26 - February 1, 2015

Exploring the Physics Frontier with Circular Colliders

Timothy Cohen, IAS and Princeton Universityy
Shufang Su, University of Arizona
Liantao Wang, University of Chicago
Daniel Whiteson, University of California, Irvine
Frank Zimmerman, CERN

The principal goal of particle physics is to uncover the fundamental building blocks of matter and the structure of their interactions. The most important tools at our disposal are indirect low-energy probes and direct probes at the energy frontier. The end of the first run of the LHC and the beginning of the higher-energy run is the right moment to consider the next phase of the high-energy collider physics program. The community has already begun planning, including initiatives at CERN and at IHEP in China to study the physics case and technological challenges of building the next generation machine. Complementary supporting activities have begun inthe US. The conference will describe the physics potential of the upcoming LHC program, followed by an exploration of all aspects of the next generation circular machine.

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Condensed Matter Physics I
February 1 - 7, 2015

Unifying Concepts in Glass Physics

Patrick Charbonneau, Duke University
Andrea Liu, University of Pennsylvania
Sharon Glotzer, University of Michigan

This workshop series, Unifying Concepts in Glass Physics, brings together researchers conducting theoretical, computational, and experimental investigations of glassy systems to discuss and disseminate their most recent advances. For this edition, the program will include standard themes, such as supercooled liquids, structural glasses, spin glasses, and disordered systems, as well as interdisciplinary themes that have emerged in recent years, such as jamming in colloidal and granular systems and glassiness in information theory and in computer science.

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Particle Physics II
February 16 - 21, 2015

Progress and Applications of Modern Quantum Field Theory

Sung-Sik Lee, Perimeter Institute and McMaster University
John Mc Greevy, University of California, San Diego
Srinivas Raghu, Stanford University
Gonzalo Torroba, Centro Atomico Bariloche and CONICET, Argentina, Balseiro Institute

Quantum Field Theory plays a central role in our descriptions of diverse areas of science, including condensed matter, particle physics, string theory, cosmology, and mathematics. While many significant advances have been made in recent years in the formal aspects of QFT and its applications, many open problems and questions remain, whose resolution would impact considerably the way in which we think about strongly interacting systems. The goal of this conference is to cover a wide array of recent advances in quantum field theory, with a focus on its non-perturbative properties. Topics will include:

- Mathematics of non-perturbative quantum field theory;

- Renormalization group flows, entanglement and conformal field theories;
- New methods for strongly coupled systems at finite density;

- Topological phases of matter;

- Quantum field theory for non-Fermi liquids.

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Astrophysics II
March 8 - 13, 2015

Closing in on the Cosmological Model

Olivier Dore, JPL, NASA
Daniel Eisenstein, University of Arizona
Uros Seljak, Berkeley
David Spergel, Princeton
Licia Verde, IREA and Institute of Space Sciences

The past twenty years have been a period of tremendous progress in cosmology. We now have a simple cosmological model that fits a host of observations. Still, many open questions remain, some of which we may be on the verge of answering in the near future. Among these are the mass of neutrinos, the nature of dark energy, and the nature of the inflationary paradigm. In the community-wide effort to answer these questions, this year promises to be extraordinary. Several experiments have or will release results of lasting legacy, and these experiments should start to reach the required accuracy to answer some of these open questions. The purpose of the Aspen conference will be to assess the current state of cosmological constraints, to identify open issues in the interpretation of these data, and to draw lessons for the next generation of experiments.

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Condensed Matter Physics II
March 22 - 28, 2015

Non-Equilibrium Quantum Matter

Ehud Altman, Weizmann
Wolfgang Ketterle, MIT
Eugene Demler, Harvard
Gil Refael, Caltech

The quantum dynamics of many body systems is an unexplored frontier where new physical laws are waiting to be revealed. In recent years, experiments in cold atoms and in solid-state systems began exploring this field, with the ability to resolve the time evolution of complex interacting quantum systems. On the theoretical side, new paradigms of correlated dynamical behavior are seeking the universal aspects of defect formation, equilibration and thermalization, as well as localization effects. Simultaneously, powerful numerical methods are becoming capable of exploring such problems in a meaningful way. The Aspen winter meeting will bring together the leading practitioners in this field from these three backgrounds to discuss the emerging universal laws governing quantum dynamics of many body systems.

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