SLAC to Host Beyond Einstein Conference
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. Einstein’s 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, don’t 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.
“The re-organization of NASA makes this a critical time for the Beyond
Einstein program,” said Roger Blandford (KIPAC), a member of the
scientific organizing committee. “I 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
Kip Thorne (Caltech) will give a free public lecture on Friday evening,
May 14, on the Stanford campus in Braun Auditorium entitled, ‘Probing
Black Holes and the Birth of the Universe with Gravitational Waves.’
To register or for more information, contact Jennifer Formichelli (Ext.
For conference details including a list of speakers, see: