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Confronting Gravity:

A Workshop to explore fundamental questions in physics and Cosmology

Sponsored by the J. Epstein VI Foundation, and the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University.

The effort to understand the nature of gravity, at both the quantum and classical levels, has played a central role in much of modern physics. For example, gravitational waves could unveil the physical processes associated with the creation of our present universe and also the nature of the ultimate collapse of matter into black holes. The question of precisely how empty space may gravitate will not only help elucidate how general relativity might be reconciled with quantum mechanics, but it might help us understand the ultimate future of our universe, and life within it. The effort to reconcile quantum mechanics with gravity, perhaps the last great unsolved puzzle of 20th century particle physics has led, over the past 30 years, to a remarkable theoretical set of constructions. If the ideas of String Theory are correct, there may be ahost of new dimensions, and even whole new universes, lying right beyond our reach. All of these questions were explored as 21 of the leading theoretical and experimental physicists in the world convened in St. Thomas for five days of meetings in a relaxed setting to present their latest results and explore and debate new proposals to address these outsanding puzzles in physics. Among the attendees were Nobel Laureates, Gerard ‘tHooft, David Gross, and Frank Wilczek, theorists whose work has helped elucidate the nature of two of the four forces in nature, and Stephen Hawking, whose work on gravity and the nature of black holes has helped drive both our theoretical and experimental understanding of gravity over the past 30 years. There were several outreach aspects of the workshop as well. "Home-grown" USVI physicist Edward Thomas, now at Auburn, attended the workshop as an observer. Krauss, Gross, Gerard ‘tHooft, and Wilczek spoke to 300 high school students from around the island at a morning question and answer session. Lawrence Krauss gave an afternoon lecture which was free and open to the public.

Confronting Gravity:
A Workshop to explore fundamental questions in physics and Cosmology
Ritz Carlton, St. Thomas, USVI
March 16-21, 2006

Sponsored by the J. Epstein VI Foundation, and the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics (CERCA) at Case Western Reserve University.

Participants included:
Eric Adelberger, University of Washington
Barry Barish, California Inst. of Technology
J. Richard Bond, Canadian Inst. for Theoretical Astrophysics
Thibault Damour, Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifique
Savas Dimopoulos, Stanford University
David J. Gross, Kavli Inst. for Theoretical Physics
Alan Guth, Mass. Inst. of Technology
Stephen Hawking, Cambridge University
Lawrence M. Krauss, CERCA
P.James Peebles, Princeton University
Lisa Randall, Harvard University
John Ruhl, CERCA
Glenn D. Starkman, CERCA
Maria Spiropulu, European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Gerard ‘tHooft, Utrecht University
Max Tegmark, Mass. Inst. of Technology
Kip Thorne, California Inst. of Technology
Tanmay Vachaspati, CERCA
Alex Vilenkin, Tufts University
Robert Wald, University of Chicago
Frank Wilczek, Mass. Inst. of Technology

Schedule :: Photo Gallery

Press Coverage

St. Thomas Source: March 14th 2006
Great Minds Gather
The Virgin Islands Daily News: March 16th 2006
Krauss captures crowd
St. Thomas Source: March 17th 2006
Agenda: Fun and Physics
St. Thomas Source: March 20th 2006
Antilles School Pulses
The Virgin Islands Daily News: March 21st 2006
Nobelists inspire students