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Albert Einstein developed the general theory of relativity 100 years ago as an answer to fundamental problems of contemporary physics. Yet the theory remained a marginal phenomenon of physics, especially in comparison to quantum theory, until the second half of the 20th century. That's when the renaissance in general relativity combined with the rise of relativistic astrophysics, turning general relativity into a key instrument in astrophysics.
Thousands of exoplanets are known to orbit nearby stars, with further evidence that every star in our Milky Way Galaxy has planets. Beyond their discovery, a new era of “exoplanet characterization” is underway with an astonishing diversity of exoplanets driving the fields of planet formation and evolution, interior structure, atmospheric science, and orbital dynamics to new depths.
In this talk I'll survey the current observational status in
cosmology, highlighting recent developments such as results
from the Planck satellite, and speculate on what we might
achieve in the future. In the near future some important
milestones will be exploration of the neutrino sector, and
much better constraints on the physics of the early universe
via B-mode polarization. In the far future we can hope to
measure a variety of cosmological parameters to much higher precision than they are currently constrained.
The Event Horizon Telescope, global array of millimetre telescopes, has now enabled studies of nearby supermassive black holes on sub-horizon length scales. This unprecedented access opens a window onto not only the high-energy astrophysics of black hole accretion and jet formation, but also the nature of gravity in the heretofore unexplored strongly non-linear regime near the black hole horizon.
For nearly a century, we have known that the majority of matter in the universe is not luminous. In the past few decades we have come to be certain that this matter is not only not luminous but not made out of any of the particle ever observed in a laboratory. I will describe the ongoing hunt for this matter and the prospects for the discovery in the next decade. I will further discuss recent claims the dark matter may have been discovered in various signals, and prospects for resolving these claims in the next few years.
Apart from high temperature superconductivity, the cuprate compounds also display
fascinating new types of metallic states from which the superconductivity descends. These metals have served as a remarkable laboratory for modern ideas on long-range quantum entanglement and its consequences for the properties of quantum matter.
More than 30 years ago, Richard Feynman outlined the visionary concept of a quantum simulator for carrying out complex physics calculations. Today, his dream has become a reality in laboratories around the world. All this has become possible using complex experimental setups of thousands of optical elements, allowing atoms to be cooled to Nanokelvin temperatures, where they almost come to rest. The atoms can then be trapped and manipulated in arrays of millions of microscopic light traps.
Emmy Noether was a giant of mathematics whose work tied together two fundamental concepts: conservation laws and symmetries in nature. But who was she, and why does her work still have such impact? Mathematician Peter Olver explores Noether’s life and career, and delves into the curious history of her famous theorems. Physicist Ruth Gregory looks at the lasting impact of Noether’s theorem, and how it connects with the Standard Model and Einstein’s general relativity.