Hatched in a swimming pool: 50 years of relativistic astrophysics

November 05, 2013

The scientific discipline of relativistic astrophysics was born in Dallas in 1963, at the first Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics (see below for more history). The field that began with the discovery of quasars now encompasses studies of black holes, exploding stars and colliding galaxies, as well as the mysterious dark energy and dark matter that comprise 95 percent of the universe. New research to be presented at the 50th anniversary meeting - held once again in Dallas - reflects many "hot topics" in astrophysics, including: cosmological models; black holes, pulsars and neutron stars; testing gravity at cosmological scales; galaxy evolution and supermassive black holes; cosmological implications of the Higgs particle and the LHC; alternative theories of gravity; and updates from ongoing and future experiments, such as Planck, NuSTAR and Pan-STARRS.

A special feature of the 27th Texas Symposium will be a roundtable discussion devoted to the history of the conference itself and of relativistic astrophysics, and the impact the symposium has had over the years. The roundtable will include some of the original participants from the 1963 event, as well as historical perspectives from astrophysicists and science historians.
WHAT: 27th Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics, 50th anniversary meeting
WHERE: Fairmont Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas
WHEN: Dec. 8-13, 2013; hotel conference rate available until Nov. 18
WHO: Hosted by The University of Texas at Dallas
FOR MEDIA: Complimentary conference registration for journalists, PIOs




Nobel laureates and distinguished scholars are among those giving scientific talks.



Dr. Rocky Kolb, University of Chicago, will deliver a public lecture, "Mysteries of the Dark Universe," Dec. 11 at The University of Texas at Dallas.



For conference rate, reserve rooms at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel by Nov. 18, 2013.




Complimentary press registration is available for bona fide working journalists and public information officers. Contact: Amanda Siegfried, assistant director for communications, The University of Texas at Dallas, amanda.siegfried@utdallas.edu; (972) 883-4335.


Sitting around a swimming pool in the summer of 1963, three Texas scientists hatched a plan to organize a scientific conference in Dallas. At the time, the field of relativity was just beginning to enter into astrophysics, so the Texas group created a new scientific discipline and called it "relativistic astrophysics." Their plans came to fruition in December 1963 when more than 300 experts from around the world converged on Dallas to discuss, among other topics, quasars - then newly discovered, and now widely studied as the most powerful sources of energy in the universe. The symposium was sponsored in part by the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies, the precursor institution to The University of Texas at Dallas.

Fifty years after that first Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics, experts from across the globe will gather once again in Dallas for the 27th Texas Symposium. Organized by The University of Texas at Dallas's Department of Physics and the Cosmology Group, with input from scientists worldwide, the Jubilee event will be held in downtown Dallas Dec. 8-13, 2013.


GENERAL: Amanda Siegfried, assistant director for communications/media relations, The University of Texas at Dallas, amanda.siegfried@utdallas.edu; (972) 883-4335.

SCIENCE/HISTORY: Drs. Mustapha Ishak and Wolfgang Rindler, professors of physics at The University of Texas at Dallas, co-chair the symposium. Ishak is head of the Cosmology Group at UT Dallas and oversees the symposium's scientific program. Rindler attended the 1963 symposium and will take part in the history panel discussion. Contact: mishak@utdallas.edu, (972) 883-2815; rindler@utdallas.edu, (972) 883-2880.

HISTORY: Dr. Don Salisbury, professor of physics at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, is organizing the history panel. Contact: dsalisbury@austincollege.edu; (903) 813-2480.

University of Texas at Dallas

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