20th Pacific coast gravity meeting

Michele Vallisneri, JPL vallis-at-caltech.edu
The 20th Pacific Coast Gravity Meeting (PCGM20) was held at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, on March 26 and 27, 2004. Faithful to its tradition, this was an informal and relaxed regional meeting where all participants who wished to speak had a chance to engage a welcoming audience for all of twelve intense minutes. As always, the aim was to foster communication and understanding among gravitational physicists with different backgrounds. The conference was organized by the writer of this report with the invaluable help of JoAnn Boyd and Yanbei Chen, and with the wise and benign oversight of Kip Thorne.

This year's meeting was graced by the enthusiastic participation of more than 80 researchers, 45 of which gave talks. The first day began with a session on gravitational-wave astrophysics, with Shane L. Larson, Rick Jenet, Rafael Araya-Gochez, Marc Favata, Sherry Suyu, and Geoffrey Lovelace; the next session, on ground-based interferometers, was animated by Patrick Sutton, Jan Harms, Yi Pan, Akira Villar, Peter Shawhan, and Szabolcs Marka. Vladimir Braginsky opened the afternoon with a charming talk on the ``Adolescent Years of Experimental Physics;'' he was followed by more theoretical talks, by Alfonso Agnew, Ivan Avramidi, William Pezzaglia, Jack Hohner, Steve Giddings, Belkis Cabrera-Palmer, Henriette Elvang, Keith Copsey, and James Dunham. In the evening, the weary participants found refreshment(s) at an animated party at Kip Thorne's house.

The second day began on (or near) cosmology, with talks by Zoltan Perjes, Dominic Clancy, Jim Isenberg, Lior Burko, and Donald Marolf; it continued on research relevant to LISA, with Teviet Creighton, Naoki Seto, Daniel Bambeck, Seth Timpano, Louis Rubbo, and Jeff Crowder. The afternoon sessions dwelt on numerical relativity, with Harald Pfeiffer, Mark Scheel, Robert Owen, Ilya Mandel, Luisa Buchman, and Frans Pretorius; and the meeting closed with Mihai Bondarescu (delivering Pavlin Savov's talk), Richard Price, David Meier, Craig Hogan, Gary Horowitz, and Martin Kaplan. The titles of all talks can be seen on the PCGM20 website, www.tapir.caltech.edu/pcgm20.

Fifteen students competed for the award for the best student presentation, previously known as the Jocelyn Bell Burnell prize, and now sponsored by the APS Topical Group on Gravitation, which was awarded jointly to Henriette Elvang (University of California, Santa Barbara), and Louis Rubbo (Montana State University, Bozeman).

The next PCGM will be held at the University of Oregon, Eugene, most probably on March 25 and 26, 2005. Watch out for the announcement.


Jorge Pullin 2004-09-10