Gravitation: a decennial perspective

Jorge Pullin, LSU

On June 8-12 a conference took place at Penn State, coinciding with the 10 years anniversary of the foundation of the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry. It sought to give a perspective of events during the last decade and how they shape the future to come in gravitational physics. About 150 people attended the conference.

Plenary lectures included a first day concentrated on aspects of gravitational waves, ranging from the astrophysical, with Ramesh Narayan, to experimental, with Rai Weiss, and numerical with Masaru Shibata as speakers. The second day had talks by Sean Carroll and Gary Horowitz on dark matter and gravitational aspects of string theory respectively. The third day had lectures by Bernie Schutz, on confronting gravitational wave observations with theory and Badri Krishnan and myself on analytical aspects of numerical relativity. On the fourth day Saul Teukolsky spoke about the next ten years in numerical relativity, Carlo Rovelli on spin foam models and Ted Jacobson on quantum gravity phenomenology. The last day had Roger Penrose speaking about the mathematics of general relativity and ended with a panel discussion.

The afternoons had parallel sessions on quantum gravity and quantum field theory on curved spacetime, gravitational wave physics, quantum geometry and its applications, numerical relativity, mathematical relativity and quantum cosmology.

The conference banquet had an after dinner talk by Ted Newman on the blossoming of general relativity in the 60's and 70's. After the talk, with Jim Hartle as master of ceremonies, several people made impromptu remarks about the impact the PSU Center had had in their lives and many highlighted the leadership role Abhay Ashtekar has played as its director.

Let us wish the PSU Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry ten more years as successful as the first!

Jorge Pullin 2003-09-15