VII Canadian Conference on General Relativity and Relativistic Astrophysics

David Hobill, University of Calgary

This bi-annual conference took place at the University of Calgary on June 5-7. During the three day conference a total of nine invited talks, thirty-five contributed talks and eight posters were presented. In addition a special session was held in the memory of Ken Dunn whose untimely death earlier in the year was met with great sadness in the Canadian relativity community. Ken Dunn helped initiate this series of conferences which began in 1985 at Dalhousie University in Halifax. During the session held in his memory three talks were presented by Jeff Williams, Tina Harriott, and Eric Woolgar (three people closely with associated Ken). All three talks were devoted to recent results obtained from research on ``relativistic kinks''.

The invited talks covered a number of different topics. George F. R. Ellis opened the conference with the first invited talk which covered two different aspects of inhomogeneous cosmological models. While issues regarding the Sachs-Wolfe effect and measurement of the Cosmological Background Radiation were of great interest, a lively discussion was generated by a new proposal for a definition of gravitational entropy.

Other invited talks dealing with cosmological subjects were presented by Bernard Carr who reviewed the status of various self-similar solutions that might represent over- and under-dense compact regions in the Universe and by John Wainwright whose talk was devoted to a review of the evolution of the Bianchi Cosmological models and the extent to which they undergo isotropization.

Black holes (and once again gravitational entropy and self-similar solutions) were the topic of discussion by some of the other plenary speakers. Richard Price discussed some recent results that have been obtained using analytic approximation methods to compute the dynamics of axi-symmetric black hole collisions. Jack Gegenberg spoke on gravitational solitons and how they may be used to represent black hole spacetimes and Valeri Frolov presented a model demonstrating how black hole entropy is generated in Sakharov's theory of induced gravity. In addition a complete review of the status of research on critical phenomena in gravitational collapse was presented by Matt Choptuik.

On the observational/experimental side of general relativity Bruce Allen provided a review of the latest results from, and progress being made on the LIGO project, including an overview of the possible sources. In addition, Carol Christian of the Space Telescope Science Institute presented a number of impressive images from the Hubble Telescope and discussed how they have added to our understanding of the universe around us.

Partial financial support for the conference was provided by the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Science and the University of Calgary whose generosity was much appreciated. Additional thanks go to Leroy Little Bear (of the University of Lethbridge's Native American Studies Department) who presented an interesting perspective on aboriginal cosmological views during the conference banquet and to Big Rock Brewery of Calgary who provided a special bottling of ``Black Hole Ale'' which represented the first known industrial application of black hole research.

Jorge Pullin
Wed Sep 10 15:05:58 EDT 1997