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Note: The public lectures in this column are free and do not require registration

Special associated courses:
Physics 564: "Topics in Contemporary Cosmology"
Profs. Spergel and Steinhardt
MW 11-12, F3; Location TBA- Fall & Spring

Thursday Public Lecture Series:
Sep 25: Jadwin A-10, 4:30 PM, Prof. Eichiro Komatsu (U Texas):

“Testing Inflationary Cosmology”"

Oct 2: Jadwin A-10, 4:30 PM, Prof. Shamit Kachru (Stanford):

“Branes, Strings and Inflation”"

Oct 16: Jadwin A-10, 4:30 PM, Prof. Matthew Strassler (Rutgers):

"The Large Hadron Collider: A New Era in Particle Physics"

Nov 6: Evnin Public Lecture, (Co-sponsored by Council on Science and Technology), McDonnell A02, 8:00 PM, Prof. Neil Turok (Cambridge U., Perimeter Institute):

“What Banged?”

Nov 20: Vanuxem Public Lecture, McCosh 50, 8 PM, Prof. Leonard Susskind (Stanford):

"The Black Hole War"

Dec 4: Jadwin A-10, 4:30 PM, Prof. James Hartle (UCSB):

“Quantum Cosmology and the Initial Singularity”

Feb 12: Sackler Lecture in Astrophysics, McDonnell A-02, at 8 PM, Prof. Alan Guth (MIT):

“Inflationary Cosmology: Is our Universe Part of a Multiverse?”


Big Bang and Beyond: 2008-2009

Organizers: Nima Arkani-Hamed (IAS), Igor Klebanov, Jean-Luc Lehners, David Spergel, Paul Steinhardt, Matt Strassler (Rutgers), and Herman Verlinde

Co-sponsored by The D. E. Shaw Group.

The Big Bang and Beyond program is designed to explore forefront issues concerning the events surrounding the big bang and how they relate to both cosmological observations and particle accelerator experiments. The program is organized around a series of “microsymposia” focused on different aspects in which four or more speakers are asked to introduce the topic and identify the promising areas for progress and the most challenging and profound problems. The microsymposia include a special colloquium or public lecture on Thursday (these public talks are listed in the orange block to the left on this page and do not require registration) and are followed by a Friday of Friday-Monday symposium and, occasionally, additional meetings on Wednesday following.

Brief Format of the Program:

  • Public lectures - Thursdays
    (Registration is NOT required)

  • Microsymposia:
  • Thursdays & Fridays: see Program for times
  • Mondays: 2-4
  • All Meetings held at PCTS Center, Jadwin Hall, 4th floor
  • except for Public Lectures (see Program)

    Additional meeting may be planned impromptu depending on whether there are volunteers to speak or lead discussions.


If you are planning to attend any of the Microsymposia or associated Group Meetings, we ask you to REGISTER HERE so that we can send you useful information and to make plans for food and parking. The activities are open for all; there is no charge but we need your registration.

September 25-26: (two full days)
"Frontiers of Observational Cosmology": Reporting the latest observational results and identifying the most promising directions for improving constraints on models of the very early universe. Confirmed Speakers: Eiichiro Komatsu (Texas), A. Reiss (STSCI); A. Vikhlinin (Harvard); G. Bernstein (Penn); Eisenstein (Arizona); L. Page (Princeton); K. Smith (Cambridge); N. Dalal (CITA), M. Zaldarriaga (Harvard).

NOTE: Additional Meetings scheduled M 2-4 Sept. 29


October 2-3, 6: (Thursday afternoon, Friday, Monday)
"Branes, Strings and Inflation": Exploring progress and problems in combining string theory and M-theory with inflationary cosmology. Confirmed Speakers: C. Burgess (McMaster), E. Silverstein (Stanford), L. Kofman (CITA), R. Bean (Cornell), J. Maldacena (IAS), V. Mukhanov (Munich), L. McAllister (Cornell)

See Program.

Microsymposium continues M 2-4 Oct. 6;
and W 12:30-3, Oct. 8

October 16-17: (two full days)
"Forefronts of LHC Physics": Looking ahead to what will be learned from the LHC about particle physics, dark matter, dark energy and the very early universe. Confirmed Speakers: Zvi Bern (UCLA), Lawrence Hall (LBL, UC Berkeley), Maxim Perelstein (Cornell), Gavin Salam, (Paris, LPTHE), Neal Weiner (NYU)

See Program.

NOTE, also, Meeting M 2:30-3:30 Oct. 20

Nov. 6-7 & 10: (Thursday evening, Friday and Monday)
"Cyclic and Bouncing Universes": Exploring progress and challenges for alternatives to big bang/inflationary models punctuated by bounces from big crunch to big bang. Confirmed Speakers: Neil Turok (Cambridge, Perimeter), Justin Khoury (Perimeter), Robert Brandenberger (McGill), Thibault Damour (IHES), Frans Pretorius (Princeton), Burt Ovrut (Penn), Jean-Luc Lehners (PCTS), Tirthabir Biswas (Penn State)

See Program.

Nov. 20-21: (Thursday evening and Friday)
"String Landscape": Examining how the string landscape alters approaches to fundamental physics and cosmology. Confirmed Speakers: Leonard Susskind (Stanford), Michael Douglas (Stonybrook), Savdeep Sethi (Chicago), Frederick Denef (Harvard), Melanie Becker (Texas A&M), Tom Banks (Rutgers/UCSC), Nima Arkani-Hamed (IAS), Nathan Seiberg (IAS)

Vanuxem Lecture: The Black Hole War by Leonard Susskind, Thursday, November 20, 8pm, McCosh 50

See Program.

Dec. 4-5: (Thursday afternoon and Friday)
"Cosmic Singularities": Is the big bang a beginning of space and time? Investigating different theories of the initial singularity and methods for exploring and distinguishing them. Confirmed Speakers: James Hartle (UCSB), Thomas Hertog, Abhay Ashtekar (Penn State), Gary Horowitz (UCSB), Vijay Balasubramanian (UPenn), Alexander Polyakov (Princeton), Juan Maldacena (IAS)

Joint Physics/PCTS Colloquium: The Quantum Origin of Our Classical Universe by James Hartle, Thursday, December 4, 4:30pm, Jadwin Hall A-10

See Program.

Feb. 12, 16 & 18:
"Eternal Inflation": Examining the properties, advantages and pitfalls of eternal inflation. Confirmed Speakers: Alan Guth (MIT), Henry Tye (Cornell), Anthony Aguirre (UCSC), Alex Vilenkin (Tufts), Andreas Albrecht (UCDavis), Ben Freivogel (Berkeley), Kazuya Koyama (Portsmouth), Leonardo Senatore (IAS)

Raymond & Beverly Sackler Lecture in Astrophysics: Inflationary Cosmology: Is Our Universe a Multiverse? by Alan Guth, Thursday, February 12, 8:00pm, McDonnell A02

See Program.

Big Bang and Beyond March Seminar Series:
Each seminar begins with lunch at 12:30 pm, followed by two or three talks beginning at 1 pm.

Wednesday, March 11:
Daniel Baumann (Harvard), Tanmay Vachaspati (CWRU) & Michael Duff (Imperial)

Wednesday, March 25:
Matt Kleban (NYU) & Gia Dvali (NYU)
and, rescheduled from March 2nd:
Alex Vikman (NYU) & Brian Greene (Columbia)