The major themes for the three-day symposium were inspired by and derived from Professor Townes' own ideas and questions. Special emphasis is on possibilities for investigating new, deep discoveries about the nature of reality, as well as for developing powerful new technologies that - like the laser for which Charles Townes shared the Nobel Prize - may open up new domains of scientific research.
The competition is focused on exploring and advancing the future of innovative research in physics and astronomy. The 18 finalists will present research papers at a special session on October 7, 2005. The talks will be scheduled in 25-minute slots (15 minutes plus 10 Q&A) in three parallel sessions according to the following topical areas:
I. Quantum Physics
II. Astrophysics, Cosmology and Physics Related Interdisciplinary Work
III. Technological Innovation
Judges include distinguished research physicists and cosmologists from around the world whose work is focused on the challenges of exploring the deep structure of reality and the technological innovations. Winners will be selected on the basis of outstanding merit. After evaluating the submitted evidence of research accomplishments and listening to the presentations, the judges will award nine prizes: three first-place prizes of $20,000 each, three second-place prizes of $10,000 each, and three third-prizes of $5,000 each at the gala closing banquet honoring Professor Townes on Saturday evening, October 8, 2005.
Amazing Light: Visions for Discovery will bring together renowned scholars and researchers to explore the extraordinary challenges of 21st century physics and cosmology. Symposium themes include the unknowns in physics and cosmology, the possibilities for innovative technologies, and questions at the boundaries of science. The program also includes the Amazing Light Laser Challenge Website Competition and a future scholarly, scientific research volume based on further exploration of the conference themes. In addition to Charles Townes, his vision and lifework, it also celebrates the 100th anniversary of Einstein's "miracle year" and the United Nations International World Year of Physics. For more information on the symposium and the competition, please go to www.foundationalquestions.net/townes.
Listed alphabetically, the 18 finalists are:
Randy A. Bartels - Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado USA; born November 19, 1974; "Controlling the Dynamics of Complex Quantum Mechanical Systems"
Boris Blinov - University of Washington, Seattle, Washington USA; born February 26, 1972, "Entangled States of Trapped Ions and Single Photons for Quantum Computation and Communication"
Brian L. DeMarco - University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois USA; born February 5, 1974, "Quantum Simulation using Ultra-cold Atoms"
Doug P. Finkbeiner - Princeton University, Henry Norris Russel Fellow, Princeton, New Jersey, USA; born March 31, 1971; "The Milky Way as a Laboratory for Dark Matter Annihilation"
Maurice Garcia-Sciveres - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, USA; born October 19. 1966; "The Development of Silicon Hybrid Pixel Detectors for Particle Physics"
Steven S. Gubser - Princeton University, Joseph Henry Laboratories, Princeton, New Jersey, USA; born May 4, 1972, "Hairy black holes, phase transitions, and AdS/CFT"
Seth A. Hoedl - University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA; born September 2, 1979; "A Torsion Pendulum Axion Search"
Brian G. Keating - University of California, Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences, La Jolla, California, USA; born September 9, 1971; "An Ultra-Sonic Image of the Embryonic Universe"
Bruce O. Knuteson - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Fermilab, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA; born May 17, 1975, "Systematic Analysis of Data Collected at the Energy Frontier"
Marc J. Kuchner - Goddard Space Flight Center, Exoplanets Laboratory, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA; born August 7, 1972; "Band-Limited Image Masks: New Tools for High Contrast Astronomy and Finding Extrasolar Earths"
Paul Kwiat - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana- Champaign, Illinois, USA; born April 16, 1966; "The Entanglement Revolution"
Priyamvada Natarajan - Yale University, Astronomy Department, New Haven, Connecticut, USA; born December 3, 1969; "Contraints on the Nature of Dark Matter using Cluster Lensing"
Adam G. Riess - Space Telescope Science Institute, STScI, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; born December 16, 1969; "Determining the Nature of Dark Energy Now with HST and Sne Ia at Z71"
Keith C. Schwab - National Security Agency, Laboratory for Physical Sciences, College Park, Maryland, USA; born May 18, 1968, "Quantum Effects in Small Mechanical Structures"
Marin Soljacic - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA; born August 7, 1974; "Wireless Non-Radiative Energy Transfer"
Joseph Thywissen - University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; born August 26, 1972; "Micro-electromagnets: an enabling technology for ultra-cold atom research and practical applications"
Wolf von Klitzing - Institute of Electronic Structure & Laser (IESL), Cretan Matter-Waves Group, Heraklion , Crete, Greece; born May 18, 1968, "Guided Mater-Wave Interferometry"
Jun Ye - University of Colorado, JILA and NIST, Boulder, Colorado, USA; born November 7, 1967; "Optical phase control from 10-15s to 15: Precision measurement meets Ultrafast Science"