Event Speakers

Professor Fred Adams – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Fred Adams is Professor of Physics at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He received his PhD in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988. For his PhD dissertation research, he received the Robert J. Trumpler Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. After serving as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Cambridge, MA), he joined the faculty in the Physics Department at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) in 1991. Adams was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1996, and to Full Professor in 2001. He is the recipient of the Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society and the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award. He has also been awarded both the Excellence in Education Award and the Excellence in Research Award from the College of Literature, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Michigan. In 2002, he was given The Faculty Recognition Award from the University of Michigan. He has recently been named to as a Senior Fellow for the Michigan Society of Fellows. Professor Adams works in the general area of theoretical astrophysics with a focus on the study of star formation and cosmology. He is internationally recognized for his work on the radiative signature of the star formation process, the dynamics of circumstellar disks, and the physics of molecular clouds. His recent work in star formation includes the development of a theory for the initial mass function for forming stars and studies of extra-solar planetary systems. In cosmology, he has studied many aspects of the inflationary universe, cosmological phase transitions, magnetic monopoles, cosmic rays, anti-matter, and the nature of cosmic background radiation fields. His recent work in cosmology includes a treatise on the long term fate and evolution of the universe and its constituent astrophysical objects.

Professor Anthony Aguirre – University of California, Santa Cruz

Anthony Aguirre is a professor of physics at University of California, Santa Cruz. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He spent three years as a member of astrophysics group at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Professor Aguirre has worked in a wide variety of topics in theoretical cosmology, ranging from intergalactic dust to galaxy formation to gravity physics to the large-scale structure of inflationary universes and the arrow of time.

Professor Itzhak Bars – University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Itzhak Bars is a Professor of Physics at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1971 and after postdoctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley he was appointed to the faculty of Stanford University in 1973. He returned to Yale University in 1975 as a faculty member in the Physics Department, and after a decade he moved to the University of Southern California in 1984 to build a research group in High Energy Physics. He served as the director of the Caltech-USC Center for Theoretical Physics during 1999-2003. His visiting appointments include Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. Professor Bars is a leading expert in symmetries in Physics, which he applies in much of his research on particle physics, field theory, string theory and mathematical physics in over 200 papers. He is the author of a book on “Quantum Mechanics” and co-editor of the books “Symmetry in Particle Physics” and “Strings ’95, Future Perspectives in String Theory”.  Some of his experimentally successful physics predictions include supersymmetry in large nuclei with even/odd numbers of nucleons, and the weak interaction contribution to the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon, in the context of the quantized Standard Model, that was confirmed after 30 years. His contributions to the mathematics of supersymmetry are extensively used in several branches of physics and mathematics. His current interests include String Field Theory, and Two-Time Physics which he originated in 1998.  In 2006 he established that all the physics we know today, as embodied in principle in the Standard Model of Particles and Forces, is better described by a two-time field theory in 4 space and 2 time dimensions projected as a shadow on an emergent 3 space and 1 time dimensions. His honors include Fellow of the American Physical Society, the First Award in the Gravity Research Foundation essay contest (shared with Chris Pope), Outstanding Junior Investigator Award by the Department of Energy, and the A. P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship.

Professor Raphael Bousso – University of California, Berkeley

Raphael Bousso is a professor of physics at University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University and went on to become a Post-doc at Stanford University. He also worked at the Kavli Institute for theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, and he was a fellow at the Harvard University physics department and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Professor Bousso is a leading expert on quantum gravity, cosmology, and string theory. He discovered a general formulation of the holographic principle, telling us, among other things, just how much information there is in the universe. He also proposed, with J. Polchinski, an explanation of the mysterious accelerated expansion of the universe that has recently been observed. He and Polchinski showed that string theory predicts a multiverse containing regions with the right amount of the required dark energy.

Professor Sean Carroll – California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA


Professor Gary T. Horowitz – University of California, Santa Barbara

Gary T. Horowitz is a Professor of Physics at University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. from University of Chicago and continued on his postdoctoral research at UCSB and mathematical Institute at Oxford. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced study at Princeton before joining the faculty at UCSB. Professor Horowitz is a leading expert on gravitational physics. His research is mostly focused on questions involving gravity under the most extreme conditions. These include the big bang in cosmology and the spacetime inside black holes. His research also involves gravitational aspects of string theory including black holes in higher dimensions, quantum properties of black holes, and especially quantum descriptions of singularities. His honors include  Fellow of the American Physical Society, Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, Albert Einstein Fellow, First Prize in Gravity Research Foundation contest (shared with R. Myers), and the Xanthopoulos Prize (an international prize in general relativity).

Professor Lawrence M. Krauss – Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Lawrence M. Krauss is Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Prof of Astronomy, and Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics. Krauss received his PhD from MIT in 1982 and then joined the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. He was appointed to the faculty of physics and astronomy at Yale University in 1985, and then joined Case as Chair of Physics in 1993. The author of 7 popular books including international bestseller, The Physics of Star Trek, and the award winning, Atom, and his newest book, Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions from Plato to String Theory and Beyond, Krauss is also a regular radio commentator and essayist for newspapers such as the New York Times, and appears regularly on television. Krauss is one of the few well known scientists today described by such magazines as Scientific American as a public intellectual, and with activities including performing with the Cleveland Orchestra, he has also crossed the chasm between science and popular culture. At the same time he is a highly regarded international leader in cosmology and astrophysics, and is the author of over 200 papers, winner of numerous international awards for his research accomplishments and his writing (he is, for example, the only physicist to have been awarded the highest awards of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics) and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been particularly active leading the effort by scientists to defend the teaching of science in public schools. His essay in the New York Times on Evolution and Intelligent Design in May 2005 helped spur the recent controversy that has involved the Catholic Church.

Professor Yasunori Nomura — University of California, Berkeley

Yasunori Nomura is a Professor of Physics at University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D from University of Tokyo in 2000. After serving as a Miller research fellow at University of California, Berkeley and as an Associate Scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, he was appointed to the faculty of University of California, Berkeley in 2003. Professor Nomura is a leading theoretical physicist working on particle physics, quantum gravity, and cosmology. He developed theories of grand unification in higher dimensional spacetime and constructed the first realistic composite Higgs model in which the Higgs boson arises from a symmetry breaking. He also proposed that the eternally inflating multiverse is the same thing as quantum many worlds. Professor Nomura is a recipient of the DOE Outstanding Junior Investigator Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, Hellman Family Faculty Fund Award, and Simons Fellowship in Theoretical Physics.

Professor Ken Olum – Tufts University, Medford, MA

Ken Olum is a research associate professor in the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University. He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1997 and has worked at Tufts since then. His interests include cosmic strings, ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, anthropic reasoning in cosmology, and exotic phenomena in general relativity. In his relativity work, Professor Olum investigates the possible distributions of matter and energy in quantum field theory. The configurations of matter and energy control the spacetimes that can arise in general relativity. Knowing the range of possibilities would tell us whether it is possible to construct a wormhole or travel faster than light or backward in time.

Professor L. William Poirier – Texas Tech University

Bill Poirier is Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Research Professor and also Barnie E. Rushing Jr. Distinguished Faculty Member at Texas Tech University, in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and also the Department of Physics. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California, Berkeley, followed by a chemistry research associateship at the University of Chicago. He is also the recipient of a DoE Early Career Award, and the TTU Tribute to Teachers Award. His research interest lies in understanding and solving the Schroedinger equation of quantum mechanics, from both foundational and practical perspectives. In 2009, he developed a new theory of quantum mechanics without wavefunctions, together with an interpretation that has now come to be known as “many interacting worlds.” He is also the recent author of A Conceptual Guide to Thermodynamics (Wiley, 2014).

Professor John Terning – University of California, Davis

John Terning is a Professor of Physics at University of California, Davis. He received his Ph.D. from University of Toronto and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University. He was also a researcher at Boston University, University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University. Professor Terning was a staff member at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. John Terning’s research Interests include theoretical particle physics, electroweak symmetry breaking, supersymmetry, cosmology, extra dimensions, and AdS/CFT correspondence.
He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and his research papers have over eight thousand citations.

Professor Ken Wharton – San Jose State University