PHYSICS CONFERENCE "Novel Configurations in Quantum Field Theory


Sponsored by The est Foundation

January 22 through 24, 1977 San Francisco

I. A.


Definition of the Conference The est Foundation is sponsoring and supporting the conference for physicists at Franklin House on January 22, 23, and 24, 1977. The est Foundation, in sponsoring the conference, provides only financial and logistical support. Some of the physicists who will be attending have determined the subject matter of the conference, have selected the other participants, and have extended the invitations to those participants. The topic of the Conference is: ~Novel Configurations in Quantcm Field Theory". This topic was selected, as we have been told by the physicists who did so, because it represents the current IIfrontier" of theoretical physics. Essentially, it is concerned with the nature of the ultimate constituents of matter and the forces that hold those constituents together:


Purpose of the Conference The est Foundation has sponsored this conference in alignment with its own purpose as a foundation, which is to support research and educational projects related to the experience of individual and social transformation. The foundation's purpose in sponsoring this conference, therefore, is two fold: 1) to provide a space for the transformation of the participants' experience of physics; 2) to provide a space for the transformation of physics and its contribution to transformation in general. The intended result of the conference for the participants is the miraculous occurrence of inspiration, communication, and enthusiasm, and the experience of true value for themselves and for the world of physics in having met.


Background A precedent for a small non-academic physics conference was established by The Solvay Conferences. The fo 11 owi ng pa'ragraphs bri ef1y gi ve some i nformation about these conferences.


The Solvay Conferences, which were actually called the Solvay Congresses, were held in Brussels, Belgium. Ernest Solvay, a Belgian industrial chemist who had made a fortune with a new process of manufacturing sodium carbonate, dabbled in physics as a hobby and in 1911 conceived the notion of assembling leading European physicists together, at his expense, and getting their opinions of his ideas. He left the organization of the Congress to his friend Walther Nernst, then a professor in Berlin and a leading physical chemist. By the time the invitations to the first Solvay Congress in 1911 were issued, Nernst had succeeded in broadening the scope of the Congress to a discussion of the central problems of physics. The Congress of 1911, which included such people as H. A. Lorentz, Max Planck, Madam Curie, Ernest Rutherford, as well as Einstein, was a great success and developed into an institution which lasted for many years. During the two decades after 1911, the Solvay Conferences became the single most important forum for the exchange of ideas by the great physicists of the period. It was especially noted for the historic dialogue between Einstein and Bohr, which actually continued over a period of about three decades, concerning Einstein1s growing skepticism about the definitive value of Quantum Theory. Anecdotes from these meetings have become part of the folklore of modern physics. For example, Bohr has recounted one of his most celebrated discussions with Einstein, which took place at the Solvay Conference in Brussels in 1930. For this occasion, Einstein had invented a remarkable imaginary device involving clocks and scales which appeared to violate the Uncertainty Principle. After a sleepless night, Bohr discovered that Einstein had forgotten to take into account the effect of his own discovery that clocks ran at a slower rate in a gravitational field, and that, indeed, the Uncertainty Principle was secure. The highly theoretical discussions at the Solvay Conferences had enormous practical import in determining the direction of inquiry in physics. The issues raised at these conferences continued to be debated in earnest for many years to come. Ehrenfest, for example, who knew both Einstein and Bohr well and witnessed many of their discussions at the Solvay Conferences, was so tormented by his own conflicting feelings about who was right (and therefore in which direction physics should move) that it is generally agreed

that this led to his suicide in 1933. (This information was adapted from Einstein, by Jeremy Bernstein, and Albert Einstein, ed. by Paul Schilpp.) The est Foundation Physics Conference, like the early Solvay Conferences, brings together a relatively small group of renowned physicists who will be in a close working relationship in a supportive and congenial environment outside of a university or professional society setting. Further, this particular group of outstanding physicists has never before met together in a conference. This is the first opportunity for these distinguished physicists to participate directly with each other.

NAMES OF PHYSICS CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS Eduard Brezin C.E.N. Saclay Gif sur Yvette Curt Callan Universite de Paris - Sud Geoffrey Chew University of California at Berkeley Sidney Coleman Harvard University Roger Dashen School for Natural Sciences Institute for Advanced Study Richard Feynman California Institute of Technology David Finkelstein Yeshiva University Jean-Loup Gervais Universite de Paris - Sud Fred Goldhaber State University of New York at Stony Brook David Gross Princeton University Roman Jackiw M.I.T. T. D. Lee Columbia University Claudio Rebbi M.I.T. Stanley Mandelstam University of California at Berkeley Leonard Susskind Yeshiva University J. A. Swieca Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janiero Steven Weinberg Stanford University

NAMES OF PHYSICS CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS Page 2 John Wheeler University of Texas Edward Witten Harvard University

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