May 7, 2004  




SLAC to Host Beyond Einstein Conference in May

By Mason Inman

The upcoming Beyond Einstein conference will center on three themes in astrophysics: the big bang, the properties of black holes and the nature of dark energy. Einsteinís theories are central to all three themes. His theory of general relativity implied that the Universe began in a big bang and that black holes should exist. He was also the first to propose the idea of dark energy.

These theories, however, donít explain what powered the big bang, what dark energy is or what happens to matter at the edge of a black hole. Going beyond Einstein requires pushing his theories to their limits by using increasingly sensitive probes.

Two such probes have launches planned within the next decade. Constellation-X will look at x-rays given off by matter as it is sucked into black holes. LISA will look for gravitational radiation that ripples outward from massive objects, such as black holes as they orbit each other and merge.

Speakers will also discuss plans for another set of missions, called the Einstein Probes. These would survey black holes, search for direct evidence of dark energy and look at the microwave background radiation for evidence of inflation in the early Universe.

ďThe re-organization of NASA makes this a critical time for the Beyond Einstein program,Ē said Roger Blandford (KIPAC), a member of the scientific organizing committee. ďI am confident that this meeting will re-affirm the central importance of the scientific questions that this program will address and we are delighted to be hosting the meeting at Stanford.Ē

Kip Thorne (Caltech) will give a free public lecture on Friday evening, May 14, on the Stanford campus in Braun Auditorium entitled, ĎProbing Black Holes and the Birth of the Universe with Gravitational Waves.í

To register or for more information, contact Jennifer Formichelli (Ext. 2846, For conference details including a list of speakers, see:



The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is managed by Stanford University for the US Department of Energy

Last update Tuesday May 04, 2004 by Emily Ball