Arizona State University’s new Origins Initiative is starting off this year with some mind-expanding programs, including an Origins Symposium that will start tomorrow. The number and quality of speakers who will be making the trip to Tempe is remarkably high. The event will be webcast, so the rest of the world can get the inside dope by following along here.
Cosmology will be the main topic on the first full day of the Symposium, with Science Friday broadcasting live at 11am a panel discussion on “Physicists and the Origin of the Universe”. The afternoon program will be in three parts, with the last part about new observational methods. The first two deal more with the chronic heady topics and pipe dreams of theorists (“How Far Back Can We Go?” and “Is our Universe Unique, and how can we find out”), and will have a break for tea and brownies, finishing up at 4:20 with Glashow (whose title is the blunt “Is Particle Physics Over?”) and Vilenkin (“Mediocrity as a principle”).
I hear that refreshments will be provided by Tempe’s own ChebaHut and there will be an exhibit featuring work of local artists. Arizona is putting on quite a show, with a major effort to attract cutting-edge researchers in physics to the state, including the recent announcement of proposed new legislation.
Update: The final paragraph above was inspired by the posting date, and is pure fantasy. In addition, I have no idea whether brownies will be served during the break tomorrow, or what might or might not be in them. I do look forward to seeing what the various speakers will have to say, and am sure they will be addressing the multiverse/pre-big-bang topic without the aid of any mind-altering substances, difficult as that may be to believe.