"Frontiers of Physics in Cosmology"

July 18 - 29, 2011

2011 Program

Prospects in Theoretical Physics (PiTP) 2011 was a workshop intended for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars interested in the interphase between fundamental physics and cosmology covering topics ranging from early universe cosmology to the late time acceleration of the cosmic expansion.  In addition to lectures, it included problem sessions where participants worked through some of the basic calculations underlying our understanding of the field.

The Organizers for PiTP 2011 were: Nima Arkani-Hamed (Institute for Advanced Study), David Spergel (Princeton University), Paul Steinhardt (Princeton University), and Matias Zaldarriaga (Institute for Advanced Study).  This year's lecturers were: Nima Arkani-Hamed, Raphael Bousso (University of California, Berkeley), Paolo Creminelli (The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics), Willam Jones (Princeton University), Juan Maldacena (Institute for Advanced Study), Eva Silverstein (Stanford University), David Spergel, Leonard Susskind (Stanford University), Tanmay Vachaspati (Arizona State University) and Matias Zaldarriaga.

Lecture topics were: 

"Robustness of GR. Attempts to modify gravity" (Nima Arkani-Hamed - 4 lectures)
"Entropy bounds, light-sheets, and the holographic principle in cosmology" (Raphael Bousso - 3 lectures)
"The statistical properties of the primordial fluctuations" (Paolo Creminelli - 3 lectures)
"Probing the Early Universe through Observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background" (William Jones - 1 lecture)
"dS/CFT" (Juan Maldacena - 3 lectures)
"Mechanisms for Inflation" (Eva Silverstein - 4 lectures)
"Tuning of parameters, order of magnitude astrophysics" (David Spergel - 2 lectures)
"Aspects of Eternal Inflation" (Leonard Susskind - 4 lectures)
"Topological defects" (Tanmay Vachaspati - 1 lecture)
"The physics of the CMB and Large Scale Structure" (Matias Zaldarriaga - 4 lectures)

Background on PiTP

Prospects in Theoretical Physics is an intensive two-week summer program typically designed for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars considering a career in theoretical physics.  First held by the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in the summer of 2002, the PiTP program is designed to provide lecture courses and informal sessions on the latest advances and open questions in various areas of theoretical physics.

One of the goals of the program is to help the physics community train the next generation of scholars in theoretical physics.  A special effort is made to reach out to women and minorities, as well as to graduate students in small universities who typically do not have the same opportunities and access to leaders in the field as graduate students in large research institutions.

Prospects in Theoretical Physics builds on the strong relationship of the research groups at the Institute and Princeton University, and many faculty members from the physics departments at both institutions are actively involved in the program together with scientists from neighboring institutions.  

Additional Program History: 2002 - 2010

The pilot program in the summer of 2002 was an introduction to string theory tailored to graduate students entering the field, where much attention was paid also to particle phenomenology and cosmology.  PiTP 2003 was devoted to the problems and techniques at the interface of particle physics and cosmology.  PiTP 2004 was a program for advanced graduate students in string theory, while PiTP 2005 was designed to provide an introduction to collider physics.  The 2006 program covered recent advances in string theory that have found applications to gauge theories, integrable models, cosmology and mathematics, and the 2007 program - "The Standard Model and Beyond" - focused on particle physics phenomenology with special emphasis on model building. In 2008 the program - entitled "Strings and Phenomenology" - was designed for string theorists who wanted to learn about issues of compactification relevant to phenomenology and cosmology, and for phenomenologists who wanted to learn about strings and their applications to phenomenology.  The 2009 program focused on "Computational Astrophysics" and was designed to assist young researchers in honing the numerical methods they employ in their own research and to learn about the techniques used in other areas of computational astrophysics. Last year's 2010 program was on "Aspects of Supersymmetry" and was designed to give a coherent overview of the fundamental theoretical aspects of supersymmetry, emphasizing the common themes running throughout the subject, from the major advances made in the duality revolution of the 90's to the most exciting recent developments (integrability, M2/5 branes, N=2 theories and scattering amplitudes).  An introduction to the formal aspects of SUSY breaking and softly broken SUSY at the weak scale was also given in parallel.

For further information about the PiTP program, please contact Susan Higgins, (609) 734-8198; e-mail: shiggins@ias.edu

(note: We regret that the video of the second lecture given by David Spergel cannot be included, due to corruption of the recorded file.)




2011 Suggested Pre-Readings

2011 Hints for Those Applying for U.S. Visa

2011 PROGRAM APPLICATION FORM The deadline for applications has now passed. We are sorry but we are unable to accept any further applications for this year's program.

Archive (2010 Program)

Archive (2009 Program)

Archive (2008 Program)

Archive (2007 Program)

Archive (2006 Program)

Archive (2005 Program)

Archive (2004 Program)

Archive (2003 Program)

Archive (2002 Program)

Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton, New Jersey 08540
Email: pitp@ias.edu