Workshop for Theorists at Undergraduate Institutions

Coordinators: Mary Alberg, Herbert Bernstein, Alexander Small, Donald Spector

Recent decades have seen an increasing number of theoretical physicists with active research agendas who pursue their careers in primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI). Two previous KITP events have created a network of theorists based at undergraduate institutions, as well as a national professional association, the Anacapa Society. The network and Society contribute to the infrastructure and interactions that enhance the research environment for these individuals and their institutions.

With this mini-program, we aim to take the network into new territory. The primary mission is to bring together clusters of researchers working in common areas.  The topical foci---which will be selected based on the participants who apply and are selected, but are expected to include at least classical and quantum gravity; astrophysics; high energy theory and string theory; condensed matter theory (including biophysics); and AMO/quantum information theory---will form the framework for the workshop, with each week focusing on 2-3 subfields. The importance of the topical foci has historical precedent in quantum information theory, where several physicists from undergraduate institutions played a key founding role and remain central to the field today.  With this history in mind, one of the key questions we seek to explore is what distinguishing features of quantum information theory underlie this history, and how can we use these insights to identify fruitful topics in other subfields where theorists at undergraduate institutions are particularly poised to make advances.

We invite application from all theoretical physicists working at primarily undergraduate institutions. We seek to ensure that we have a critical mass in different research subfields, and to ensure representation of diverse groups among the attendees. While there is a preference for those who can attend for both weeks, we recognize the difficult and divergent schedules and responsibilities faced by potential attendees. Those who can only attend for a shorter time will be considered if they can come during the time of their topical area.

This program is funded by The Research Corporation, the National Science Foundation, the Anacapa Society and the Institute for Science and Interdisciplinary Studies (Hampshire College).