Conferences & Workshops

Past Events

Stephen Hawking Public Symposium

This was held to mark the 75th birthday of Stephen Hawking, and featured public lectures from Brian Cox, Gabriela Gonzalez, Martin Rees, and Stephen Hawking himself.

Gravity and Black Holes

An international conference, entitled "Gravity and Black Holes," marking the 75th birthday of Professor Stephen Hawking, was held at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge, UK, in July 2017.

This meeting discussed recent advances in gravitational physics and cosmology, and the exciting future of this field following the recent direct detection of gravitational waves.

We were very pleased to be able to hold this remarkable event for Stephen whose courage, insight and vision continues to have such an impact on the way we understand fundamental physics at the extremes in black holes and the Big Bang.

New Frontiers in Dynamical Gravity

The AdS/CFT correspondence has led to a vast number of applications of General Relativity that go beyond its traditional applications in astrophysics and cosmology. Via the correspondence, GR now plays a key role in improving our understanding of non-gravitational physics at strong coupling including high energy physics as well as condensed matter physics. In order to explore these exciting new phenomena it is necessary to study GR with AdS boundary conditions and in higher dimensions.

This workshop, held in the week of 24-28 March 2014, made progress on these topics by bringing together experts in numerical and mathematical GR and the AdS/CFT correspondence. Important goals addressed included:

  • Numerical construction of stationary BH solutions in AdS or higher dimensions
  • Improvement of NR codes capable of simulating BHs in AdS or higher dimensional spacetimes
  • Novel properties of stationary AdS black holes, such as solutions with non-Killing
    horizons or the superradiant instability
  • Stability of (asymptotically) AdS spacetimes
  • Perturbative techniques to study GR in higher dimensions.

COSMO 2013

The seventeenth edition of the annual International Conference on Particle Physics and Cosmology - COSMO 2013 - was held at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, Cambridge, UK in the week of September 2-6, 2013.

The COSMO series is one of the major venues of interaction between cosmologists and particle physicists. The year 2013 being the year of the first release of cosmological results from the Planck satellite, it was more important than ever to encourage such interactions between the fields. COSMO 13 had an excellent line-up of plenary speakers. Some of the topics discussed at COSMO included:

  • Results from the Planck satellite
  • Results from the Large Hadron Collider
  • The large-scale structure of the Universe
  • Cosmic acceleration
  • String cosmology
  • Primordial cosmology
  • Numerical cosmology
  • Particle astrophysics
  • Dark matter

2012. The State of the Universe (Scientific Conference and Public Symposium)

'The State of the Universe' was a major international meeting in January 2012 in Cambridge to celebrate the 70th birthday of Professor Stephen Hawking. It featured a world-class line-up of speakers, including two Nobel Laureates. The first part, from 4th to 7th January, was a scientific conference here at CMS. It was followed by a public symposium at Lady Mitchell Hall on Sunday 8th January.

2011. Gravity and Lorentz Violations

"Gravity and Lorentz violations" was a workshop focusing on Lorentz symmetry violations and their possible role in gravitation theory. The topics that will be covered range from Lorentz-violating gravitation theories and experimental constraints on Lorentz invariance to Lorentz violations as probes of quantum gravity phenomenology and the role of Lorentz invariance in black hole physics.

The scope of the workshop was to bring together some of the leading experts in this area, hopefully covering all relevant topics, in a setting that will highly encourage interaction and discussion.

2011. Particles, Strings and Cosmology (PASCOS)

PASCOS 2011, the 17th International Symposium on Particles, Strings and Cosmology, was held in the University of Cambridge's award-winning Centre for Mathematical Sciences from 3rd to 8th July 2011. The aim of the conference is to explore and develop synergies between particle physics, string theory and cosmology. The emphasis was on timely interdisciplinary topics:

  • critical tests of inflationary cosmology
  • advances in fundamental cosmology
  • applications of string theory (AdS/CMT)
  • particle and string phenomenology
  • new experimental particle physics results
  • and cosmological probes such as
  • the cosmic microwave background,
  • galaxies and large-scale structure.

2009. Primordial Gravitational Waves (PGW)

Workshop goals: Gravitational waves could provide an unprecedented view of the earliest moments of our Universe. Forthcoming interferometers, both terrestrial and space-based, CMB polarisation experiments and pulsar timing arrays will probe a wide range of frequencies and of direct relevance to fundamental theory and cosmology. The next few years could provide an extraordinary opportunity to discover new and exciting physics.

The time seems right to re-examine theoretical expectations for primordial gravitational waves in light of these ongoing experiments. Among the aims of this CTC workshop are:

  1. To explore cosmological scenarios in fundamental physics which can produce observable levels of primordial gravitational waves.
  2. To investigate the naturalness of large field inflation models which would leave a detectable tensor mode signature in CMB polarisation experiments.
  3. To refine predictions for the gravitational wave backgrounds and distinct signatures of cosmic superstrings and other violent phenomena in the early universe, such as phase transitions.
  4. To review the experimental prospects of detection from forthcoming experiments and to guide and motivate future detection proposals.

2008. Non-Gaussianity from Fundamental Physics

Workshop goals: Over the last several years, the departure of the CMB from exact Gaussianity has become one of the best measured parameters in cosmology. The imminent launch of the Planck satellite, coupled with surveys of large-scale and 21cm emission, mean that non-Gaussianity is become a focal point for the confrontation between observation and fundamental theory. The time is right to draw together the experimental groups who are currently searching for signatures of non-Gaussianity and the theorists who are predicting what can be observed. There is an extraordinary opportunity to discover new and exciting physics over the next few years.

The aims of this Astrosim/CTC workshop are:

  1. To map out in detail what we can expect from Planck and other experimental probes.
  2. To refine the tools with which predictions of non-Gaussianity can be made from concrete models, particularly intensive computational aspects.
  3. To explore scenarios in fundamental physics which can give testable signatures, such as brane inflation models and cosmic defects.

2007. Very Early Universe (VEU) 25 Years On

In 1982 we held a workshop on the very early universe in Cambridge. This was a time of great excitement in the field...

2006. Non-Gaussianity from Inflation

Workshop goals: The time is right to take a closer look at non-Gaussian signatures from inflation because of three key recent developments:

  1. Observational prospects: Forthcoming observations, notably WMAP and Planck, will improve the precision of NG measures by an order of magnitude.
  2. Inflationary model-building: Recent realistic inflationary model-building (e.g. brane inflation) generically has extra scalar fields which may source observable NG.
  3. Tractability: Recent developments in the study of NG superhorizon evolution in multifield inflation, as well as the study of quantum effects, means that the problem is now becoming tractable and quantitative.

This workshop aims to bring together many of the world's leading researchers actively working on non-Gaussianities from inflation, along with experts in searching for non-Gaussianity in observational data. The primary objectives of the workshop are to push forward the methods by which NG can be quantitatively calculated, to identify inflationary models in which large NG is generic, and to propose observational strategies for finding NG.

2006. Classical Field Theory & Solitons

Workshop goals: The dynamics of phase transitions, the transition from the inflationary to Big Bang eras, and the study of solitons and other extended objects in field theory and M-theory, all require classical or quasi-classical field theory; most of the time progress requires numerical methods. A recurrent theme is non-linearity, often in the form of solitons and other topological defects, spanning many areas of physics: from particle and nuclear physics, through condensed matter physics to cosmology.

2006. Andrew Chamblin Memorial Conference

A one day meeting to commemorate the scientific work of Andrew Chamblin was held in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre at Trinity College, Cambridge, followed by a banquet in the College.


This conference marking Stephen Hawking's 60th birthday is in honour of his many major contributions to science. In the context of these achievements, the conference will focus on the future prospects for fundamental physics and cosmology over the next decades. It divides into a four-day scientific workshop (7-10th January 2002) for leading international practitioners in the field, followed by a symposium (Friday 11th January 2002) with public lectures by distinguished scientists.