LIST OF SPEAKERS
Convergence Speaker Bios:
Immanuel Bloch is Scientific Director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Germany. He works on ultracold atoms in artificial crystals of light, and was the first to realize a quantum phase transition from a superfluid to a Mott insulator. He has received multiple awards, including the Korber European Science Prize and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Science Foundation (one of the highest science prizes in Germany). He is a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and an external member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
Watch Immanuel Bloch's Convergence presentation: Probing and Controlling Quantum Matter in Artificial Crystals of Light.
Avery Broderick is an Associate Faculty member at Perimeter Institute and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Waterloo. He completed his PhD at Caltech in 2004. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics from 2004-2007, and then a Senior Research Associate at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) from 2007-2011. Broderick has broad interests in astrophysics, ranging from how stars form to the extreme physics in the vicinity of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. At Perimeter he is leading an initiative to analyze and understand data from the international Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project.
Watch Avery Broderick's Convergence presentation: Photons from the Edge: Revealing Black Holes with the Event Horizon Telescope.
Savas Dimopoulos is a Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at Perimeter Institute and a particle physicist at Stanford University. He is well known for his work on constructing theories beyond the Standard Model. He worked at CERN from 1994 to 1997, and is currently focused on devising small-scale “table-top” experiments for testing fundamental physics. He was featured prominently in the 2013 documentary Particle Fever.
Watch Savas Dimopoulos' Convergence presentation: Experiments Big and Small.
Ruth Gregory is a mathematician and physicist, currently a professor of physics at the University of Durham in England. She specializes in questions of general relativity, strong gravity, and cosmology. She earned her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1988. In 2006, she won the Maxwell Medal and Prize from the Institute of Physics “for her contributions to physics at the interface of general relativity and string theory, in particular for her work on the physics of cosmic strings and black holes.”
Nergis Mavalvala is the Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics and Associate Department Head of Physics at MIT, working on instrument development, precision measurements, and data analysis at LIGO and Advanced LIGO, the gravitational wave interferometer. She previously held a postdoctoral position at Caltech, where she worked on the LIGO project. In 2010, she was named a MacArthur Fellow for showing “exceptional merit for continued and enhanced creative work.”
Watch Nergis Mavalvala's Convergence presentation: Exploring the Warped Side of the Universe.
Peter Olver received his PhD from Harvard University in 1976, and held postdoctoral positions at the University of Chicago and at the University of Oxford. He has been on the faculty of the School of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota since 1980, as full professor since 1985, and serving as head of the department since 2008. He has done research in fluid mechanics, elasticity, quantum mechanics, mathematical physics, and many other fields. He is the author of more 130 papers and five books, including the definitive text on applications of Lie groups to differential equations, published in 1986. His most recent book is an undergraduate text on partial differential equations, published in 2014.
John Preskill is the Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, and Director of the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at Caltech. A leader in quantum field theory and quantum information, he established the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at Caltech, and his lectures on quantum computation – available online since 1997 – continue to profoundly influence the subject. Preskill is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Physical Society, and a two-time recipient of the Associated Students of Caltech Teaching Award.
Watch John Preskill's Convergence presentation: Quantum Information in the 21st Century.
Jürgen Renn is Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. With his research group, he studies structural changes in the system of knowledge, aiming to better understand knowledge evolution. He has studied some of the great transformations of systems of physical knowledge, such as the origin of theoretical science in antiquity, the emergence of classical mechanics in the early modern period, and the revolutions of modern physics in the early 20th century. He has taught at Boston University, the ETH in Zurich, and the University of Tel Aviv.
Watch Jürgen Renn's Convergence presentation: The Genesis and Renaissance of General Relativity.
Subir Sachdev was recently named as The Cenovus Energy James Clerk Maxwell Chair in Theoretical Physics at Perimeter Institute, a position held in conjunction with his position as a physics professor at Harvard University. He is known for his pioneering research on quantum phase transitions, including a surprising connections to the quantum theory of black holes. He was educated in India before obtaining his PhD at Harvard, and has held professional positions at Bell Labs and Yale University.
Watch Subir Sachdev's Convergence presentation: Exploring Quantum Matter with the High Temperature Superconductors.
Sara Seager is an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT. Considered a pioneer in the search for exoplanets, her work has introduced many new ideas to the field of exoplanet characterization, including the first detection of an exoplanet atmosphere. Prior to joining MIT in 2007, she spent four years on the senior research staff at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, preceded by three years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She earned her PhD at Harvard University. Professor Seager is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and was named among TIME magazine’s 25 Most Influential People in Space in 2012.
Watch Sara Seager's Convergence presentation: Exoplanets and the Search for Habitable Worlds.
Kendrick Smith is a Faculty member at Perimeter Institute who describes himself as a “data-oriented” cosmologist; his work is mixture of theoretical physics, phenomenology, computational physics, statistics, and data analysis. He has been a member of a number of large experiments, including the WMAP and CMB satellites, and has made major contributions to the data analysis and phenomenology of the cosmic microwave background. He and the WMAP team earned the 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize, which recognizes researchers “whose groundbreaking work provides new models that inspire and enable fundamental shifts in knowledge and culture.” He has earned PhDs in both mathematics and physics, and completed postdoctoral positions at Cambridge University and Princeton University before joining Perimeter’s faculty in 2012.
Watch Kendrick Smith's Convergence presentation: Planck Results and Future Prospects in Cosmology.
Robert Spekkens has been a Faculty member at Perimeter Institute since 2008. He received his BSc in physics and philosophy from McGill University and completed his MSc and PhD in Physics at the University of Toronto. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at Perimeter Institute and an International Royal Society Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. His research is focused on identifying the conceptual innovations that distinguish quantum theories from classical theories and investigating their significance for axiomatization, interpretation, and the implementation of various information-theoretic tasks.
Watch Robert Spekkens' Convergence presentation: Cause and Effect in a Quantum World.
Maria Spiropulu is a professor of physics at Caltech and an experimental particle physicist who has made leading contributions to the search for dark matter at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and its Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment. She earned her PhD in 2000 from Harvard University, where she pioneered a new double blind analysis method to the search for evidence of supersymmetry at hadron colliders. In 2014, she was elected as vice-chair of the Forum on International Physics of the American Physical Society.
Watch Maria Spiropulu's Convergence presentation: The Richness of Particle Physics.
Neal Weiner is an associate professor of physics at New York University’s Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics. His research focuses on physics beyond the Standard Model. Among the questions he explores: why is gravity so weak compared to other forces? What makes up the missing matter and energy of the universe? What signs could arise from the galaxy, and what theories might explain the interesting signatures already observed? He earned his PhD in 2000 from the University of California, Berkeley.
Watch Neal Weiner's Convergence presentation: Searching for the Dark Universe.