2016 Winter Conferences

 *Denotes physicist in charge of diversity

January 3 - 8, 2016

Populations, Evolution, and Physics

Edo Kussell, New York University
Jeff Gore, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
*Oskar Hallatschek, University of California, Berkeley

What are the general principles that govern biological evolution? Is evolution predictable in any sense? Can a theoretical framework be developed for systems whose basic rules and constraints change over time? These are some of the fundamental questions that motivate physicists working on biological evolution.

Physicists are uniquely positioned to make a lasting impact on the understanding of evolution, however this will require a concerted effort in the community. On the one hand, the theoretical tools that were successful in other physical systems that involve collective dynamics need to be fundamentally reformulated to address the unique aspects of evolution. On the other hand, since the basic theoretical structures are still extremely new and “evolving,” experimental tests of theoretical predictions demand very close working relationships between theorists and experimentalists. The main goal of the conference is to enhance these relationships while driving the field towards a new, unifying theory that describes evolving systems.

Particle Physics
January 10 - 16, 2016

Particle Physics on the Verge of Another Discovery?

Marcela Carena, Fermilab & University of Chicago
*Greg Landsberg, Brown University
Matthias Neubert, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Giulia Zanderighi, CERN & University of Oxford

In light of the recent discoveries at the energy, intensity, and cosmic frontiers of physics, and with upgraded facilities now or about to come on line, we are entering a new era of possible major discoveries, which may be as fundamental as the uncovering of the quantum nature of the universe a century ago. This conference will cover a variety of physics topics and provide a forum to discuss theoretical and experimental progress and future plans including:

• Higgs physics – from discovery to precision measurements
• Searches for new phenomena
• Precision electroweak physics, top physics, and QCD at high energies • Physics with boosted objects and jet substructure
• Heavy-flavor physics and CP violation
• Neutrino physics, including the LBNF physics prospects
• Searches for dark matter and dark energy
• Heavy-ion physics
• New developments in theory
• Physics case for future HEP facilities

Astro Physics
February 7 - 12, 2016

Dynamics and Accretion at the Galactic Center

Avery Broderick, University of Toronto

Andrea Ghez, University of California, Los Angeles
*Smadar Naoz, University of California, Los Angeles

The proximity of the Galactic Center provides a unique opportunity to study the variety of physical processes operating in the dense environment surrounding a Massive Black Hole, with immediate impacts for many other galactic nuclei. This has been enabled by a number of recent technological and observational advances, opening a new window on black hole physics. The time is now ripe to collect the broader community of experts on galactic nuclei generally and the Galactic Center specifically to share and build upon this recent progress in our understanding of the role played by and dynamical processes near Massive Black Holes.

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Condensed Matter Physics
February 15 - 21, 2016

Topological Quantum Matter Progress and Applications

Jason Alicea, Caltech

*Kirill Shtengel, University of California, Riverside

Amir Yacoby, Harvard University

Explorations of topological quantum matter—for which topological properties emerge from purely geometric laws—have expanded dramatically in recent years. On the theoretical end, researchers are unraveling the rich interplay between symmetry, disorder, and topology; attempting a complete classification of topological phases; and developing practical routes for their laboratory realization. Experimental tests of several of these predictions are underway and have, not surprisingly, delivered numerous challenges to theory. The conference will assemble experts from diverse backgrounds to (1) advance formal understanding of topological quantum matter, (2) further bridge the divide between theory and experiment, (3) confront existing experimental puzzles, and (4) chart a roadmap towards applications.

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March 6 - 12, 2016

The Re-ionization Epoch: New Insights and Future Prospects

Garth Illingworth, University of California, Santa Cruz

*Pascal A. Oesch, Yale University

Benedetta Ciardi, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics

Stuart Wyithe, University of Melbourne

Jacqueline N. Hewitt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jennifer Lotz, Space Telescope Science Institute
Rychard Bouwens, Leiden Observatory

Guinevere Kauffmann, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics

Fabian Walter, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy

The past few years have seen enormous progress in our ability to observe and characterize the very early universe before the end of cosmic re-ionization within the first one billion years of cosmic history. The first generations of galaxies can now be studied in unprecedented detail using large multi-wavelength datasets from the Hubble, Spitzer, and Chandra Space Telescopes, as well as 8-10 m-class ground-based telescopes. Additionally, ALMA is starting to probe completely new parameter space at millimeter wavelengths, promising revolutionary insights into molecular gas, dust, and dynamics at high redshift. Early galaxy and quasar searches are being pushed into new territory with upcoming deep near-infrared surveys covering several square degrees. New advances in computational astronomy have led to a new generation of early universe simulations reaching unprecedented mass resolution over large volumes. Future capabilities (JWST; SKA precursors; etc), combined with current ground and space observatories, will greatly enhance our ability to explore the re-ionization epoch in even greater detail. The goal of our proposed meeting is to bring together a wide community of observers and theorists to discuss both recent progress as well as future perspectives for galaxy studies within the first billion years and for cosmic re-ionization.

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Quantum Physics
March 20 - 26, 2016

Advances in Quantum Algorithms and Computation

Aram Harrow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

*Krysta Svore, Microsoft

Matthias Troyer, ETH Zurich

This workshop aims to answer the question: if we had a quantum computer, what would we do with it? Already we have dramatic and diverse examples of quantum algorithms that outperform the classical counterparts: Shor's factoring algorithm and its variants break all currently used public-key cryptosystems, and quantum simulations, as initially proposed by Feynman, will have applications throughout chemistry and material science. More recent work suggests that quantum computers may have important applications in machine learning and even in the simulation of classical systems. But quantum algorithms are generally much less well understood than their classical cousins. This winter conference will discuss progress and challenges in the development of quantum algorithms for small-, medium-, and large- scale quantum devices. The conference will highlight topics at the forefront of quantum computing. 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
• Quantum Circuit Optimization

March 27 - April 1, 2016

Physics of Development and Disease

Josef A. Kaes, University of Leipzig

Wolfgang Losert, University of Maryland
*M. Lisa Manning, Syracuse University
Kandice Tanner, National Cancer Institute, NIH

Physics is key to a wide range of biological processes in development and disease, including cancer tumorgenesis, embryonic development, and wound healing. Many cellular processes that are essential elements in embryonic deployment such as the epithelial- mesenchymal transition are reactivated in cancer cells and drive tumor progression. Thus on the cellular scale development and disease are closely related. In these processes, the physical characteristics of cells are quintessential as cells must move, rearrange, change shape, and support stresses and strains. This workshop will aim to bring together a group of experts to discuss new developments in the physics of tissue reorganization during development and disease. Topics covered will include mechanical properties of individual cells and tissues, cell migration, wound healing, interaction of cells with substrates and polymer networks, liquid-to-solid phase transitions in tissues, artificial tissues, and pattern formation and morphogenesis of tissues and related cellular structures. The aim of the meeting is to identify open questions where joint research work may be successful within the next two or three years and better organize our nascent community to support this research.