First Annual Cosmic Frontiers Event a Huge Success!

First Annual Cosmic Frontiers Event a Huge Success!

First Annual Cosmic Frontiers Event a Huge Success!

The New Mexico Consortium’s first annual Cosmic Frontiers event is in the history books. Held at the SALA Los Alamos Event Center on April 27th and 28th, the event featured these invited speakers:

  • Paul Davies, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist and best-selling author from Arizona State University
  • Laura Mersini-Houghton, a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • Malcolm Perry, a theoretical physicist and emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge and Queen Mary University of London
  • Thomas Hertog, a cosmologist and long-time collaborator of Stephen Hawking, from the Institute for Theoretical Physics, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Kip Thorne (by video) who led a Caltech research group in relativistic astrophysics and gravitational physics from 1967 to 2009
  • Emil Mottola, a former LANL employee now a physicist at the University of New Mexico and the New Mexico Consortium
  • Fumika Suzuki, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Nonlinear Studies and Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Gordon Freedman, President of the National Laboratory for Education Transformation

The event’s theme was “Stephen Hawking & The Universe” and the speakers and audience explored the mysteries of the universe over two days with talks, panel discussions, and interactive sessions. The focus was on the groundbreaking work of Stephen Hawking and the experience of collaborating with him.

Topics covered included “The End of Physics?”, “Before the Big Bang”, “What’s Inside a ‘Black Hole’ and How Would We Know?”, “Tabletop Experiments for Quantum Cosmology”, and ”On the Origin of Time: Stephen Hawking’s Final Theory”. Attendees of the event also heard from Professors Marcia and George Rieke from the University of Arizona [on behalf of the James Webb Space Telescope], and from Professor DezBaa’ of Northern New Mexico College on the Native American perspective on cosmology and our place in the Universe.

The Sunday morning session consisted of a panel discussion on the State of the Universe and How to Communicate Big Science to the Public. Besides invited speakers, participants included Lisa Danielson, Director of the Center for Space & Earth Science at LANL, Chris Fryer, Director of the Center for Nonlinear Studies at LANL, Galen Gisler of the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee and the Pajarito Environmental Education Center, Sharon Sessions, the Chair of the Physics Department at New Mexico Tech, and Yoli Pedraza a professor at New Mexico State University and a NASA Ambassador.

The 1992 Sundance Grand Jury award winning theatrical documentary, “A Brief History of Time”, based on Hawking’s best-selling book of the same name, was screened twice – one on Saturday and once on Sunday.  The Executive Producer of the film, head of the National Laboratory for Education Transformation, and co-creator of Cosmic Frontiers, Gordon Freedman, set the film up both days and gave behind-the-scenes looks about the production, as well as answered audience questions about making the film.

One goal of the event was to bring in “VIP students” from around the state of New Mexico who are studying physics, astronomy, cosmology, film making, and media. These VIPs were encouraged to ask questions, meet with the speakers and learn and immerse themselves in the topic. Students attended from New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico, Northern New Mexico College, and New Mexico Tech.

The event was streamed live on YouTube and recordings of the streams are available for viewing via the @CosmicFrontiers24 channel on YouTube, linked from

See all photos taken at the event at: