Welcome to our workshop “From Quantum to Cosmos 4” (Q2C4) in Bremen.
The purpose of the Q2C4 workshop is to highlight the field of space-based research in fundamental physics and demonstrate how this area of modern science can provide the knowledge needed to address outstanding questions at the intersection of physics, astronomy, and cosmology, thereby leading to major advances in these fields.
Today, physics stands at the threshold of major discoveries. This year new major experiments (like Planck/Herschel or the LHC) are starting and will help to find answers to fundamental questions of today's physics. Still, Einstein's general theory of relativity plus the Standard Model of the strong, electromagnetic, and weak forces, and fundamental particles give not a complete and consistent picture. In fact, our two foundational descriptions of Nature, general relativity and quantum mechanics, are not even compatible with each other. Furthermore, observational support for unknown forms of (dark) matter and energy signals the existence of "new physics" beyond the Standard Model. Some of the discovered phenomena point to a possible breakdown in general relativity and also emphasize the need for new physics to overcome the challenges.
There are two approaches to physics research in space: one can detect and study signals from remote astrophysical objects or one can perform carefully designed in-situ experiments. The two methods are complementary and the latter has the advantage of utilizing well-understood and controlled laboratory environments. Technologies already at hand allow one to take advantage of specific space conditions with the result that space-based experiments have the potential to lead to major advances in our knowledge of fundamental laws of physics thus complementing the observational fields of astronomy and cosmology, the two areas responsible for the recent groundbreaking discoveries.
As was demonstrated at the first three "Quantum to Cosmos" workshops held twice at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia (2006 and 2008) and in the Park Hotel Bremen, Germany (2007) there is an emerging discipline of space-based research in fundamental physics that, in addition to being the frontier of modern physics with a great discovery potential, is also a birthplace to many technologies that are capable of advancing a wide spectrum of space sciences and practical applications.
This fourth Q2C meeting will be organized in the spirit of the previous workshops. We again aim to bring together leading experts from diverse fields of physics including gravitation, cosmology, astrophysics, quantum mechanics and condensed matter to discuss new opportunities for research. The outcome of this workshop will be a document to guide the development of future international mission opportunities and priorities for national space programs.
The conference will be organized as a series of key-note talks and plenary half-day sessions, including: