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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Aspen Center For Physics
  • Hirosi Ooguri
  • (970) 925-2585
  • Joshua A Frieman
Award Date:09/21/2011
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 2,200,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 2,200,000
  • FY 2013=$440,000
  • FY 2011=$440,000
  • FY 2014=$440,000
  • FY 2015=$440,000
  • FY 2012=$440,000
Start Date:10/01/2011
End Date:09/30/2017
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.049
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Programs on Critical Problems in Physics, Astrophysics and Biophysics at the Aspen Center for Physics
Federal Award ID Number:1066293
DUNS ID:848487583
Program:Elem. Particle Physics/Theory
Program Officer:
  • Keith Dienes
  • (703) 292-5314

Awardee Location

Street:700 West Gillespie Street
Awardee Cong. District:03

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Aspen Center For Physics
Street:700 West Gillespie Street
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

This award funds the scientific activities at the Aspen Center for Physics (ACP). The ACP is one of the premier theoretical physics research institutions in the world and fulfills its mission of fostering physics research primarily through its summer program. From mid-May to mid-September the Center brings over 500 of the world's leading physicists each year to Aspen where, within the broad framework of workshops lasting several weeks, they interact, discuss, collaborate, and challenge each other while sharing ideas at the forefront of their disciplines. The ACP is unique in the combination of programs of high scientific quality coupled with an extraordinarily fertile collaborative research environment. The ACP also organizes between five and seven one-week Winter Conferences, bringing together as many as 100 researchers each week to respond rapidly to breaking developments in areas of current interest in physics and interdisciplinary research. The physicists participating during the summer and winter also contribute to a rich and visible public outreach program. This includes public lectures, held off-site in larger auditoria, together with more informal `dialogues' with physicists held at the ACP in the summer (with recordings for all lectures and dialogues available over the internet) and Physics Cafe discussions held in downtown Aspen prior to the Winter public lectures. These are complemented by more `kid-friendly' events such as visits to local schools and, in collaboration with the Aspen Science Center, Physics is for Kids weekly summer picnics (on the ACP campus) with talks by participating physicists and physics-related activities. All public events are free and well-attended.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).

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ACP participants "Journal articles, preprints, proceedings and book chapters" see attached file, v., 2016, p..

ACP participants "Papers in refereed journals" see attached file: papers-2015-ref.pdf, v., 2015, p..

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

Since its inception in 1962, the Aspen Center for Physics has excelled at catalyzing new directions in physics research and at facilitating progress at the borders of traditional physics disciplines. For four months every summer, more than 500 leading international researchers, freed from the usual constraints and distractions of their home institutions, come to Aspen to engage in research at the forefront of their fields. Research at the Center is conducted in a variety of ways: in the context of workshops in areas at the cutting edge of physics research; in small groups focused on specific projects; and by individual investigators carrying out their own theoretical research. The scientific programs emphasize open problems in the vanguard of physics research and are designed to maximize interactions within each area and cross-fertilization between different areas. Each year, the CENTER also organizes seven to nine one-week Winter Conferences, bringing together as many as 100 researchers each week to respond rapidly to breaking developments in areas of current interest in physics and interdisciplinary research.

During the last 5 years, the CENTER held 63 summer and 44 winter programs. These programs have collectively helped change the direction of whole sub-fields of physics. The total number of person-weeks attended during this period was 1506 in particle physics, 1719 in condensed matter physics, 2110 in astrophysics, 469 in biology, and 613 in strings/mathematical physics, respectively. Aspen provides a unique environment in which the next generation of physicists is informed and inspired, seminal ideas are germinated, and new collaborations are forged. Its signature approaches to facilitating the cross-fertilization of ideas and fields, in an environment that fosters contemplation and creativity, distinguish it as a unique resource upon which the physics community, and increasingly the broader scientific community, has grown to rely.

Over the past 5 years, the Center has run highly successful workshops and conferences in the core area of hard and soft condensed matter physics. It is also an important center of activity in the field of quantum computing. It has been encouraging corroboration of condensed matter physics with biology, high energy and atomic physics, and string theory, which have led to papers in these interdisciplinary areas. Mathematicians in Aspen have played important roles in condensed matter physics, in particular in classification of symmetry protected topological phases of matter.

The last five years in astrophysics at the CENTER have included diverse topics such as exoplanets, weak lensing science, galaxy formation and evolution, black holes, transients, cosmic surveys and primordial universe. There have also been collaborative workshops with high energy physics in dark matter, dark energy, and testing the laws of gravity.

Particle physics workshops and conferences at the CENTER have reflected the exciting developments in the Energy, Intensity and Cosmic frontiers, including several LHC related workshops, a neutrino workshop, and three dark matter workshops. Hundreds of papers begun and/or finished at the Aspen Center for Physics describe path-breaking research in theoretical high-energy physics that have resulted from collaborative efforts either initiated or pursued at these summer workshops and winter conferences.

Superstring theory, constructed in Aspen in the early 1970s, continues to bring physicists to the Center with six workshops and one winter conference.

Areas of biophysical research explored at Aspen range from the sequencing revolution and high-throughput biology, functional biological assemblies, and physics of bacteria, and physics of behavior.

In particle, condensed matter, and astrophysics, the Aspen Center for Physics has established itself as one of the most unique and productive research environments in the world. As one of the premiere theoretical-physics research institutions, the CENTER has incubated many revolutionary ideas and continues to help set and promote the agenda for physics world-wide, with its portfolio expanding to include biology, mathematical physics, quantum information, and many emerging fields. While maintaining the highest scientific standards, hallmarks of the CENTER remain organizational flexibility, nimbleness in response to fast-moving scientific developments, and openness. Many physicists can trace the origin of, or inspiration for, seminal ideas and papers to participation in Aspen programs.

This cutting-edge physics is shared with the general public via free lectures, dialogues, summer kids’ talks, school visits, and winter physics’ cafes. The Center has a Youtube page, where we post public lectures


Last Modified: 10/01/2017
Modified by: Hirosi Ooguri

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