## Conference Organizers

David Farrar |
UBC |

Roger Penrose |
Oxford |

Martin Rees |
Cambridge |

Philip Stamp |
UBC |

## Synopsis

November 2015 saw the centenary of one of the greatest achievements in
human thought, the theory of gravity created by Einstein. And yet the
ideas involved were in many ways so far ahead of their time, that it took
many years for the rest of science to catch up. Eventually, and firmly
based on Einstein's theory, a revolution began to take shape, stimulated
by a remarkable series of predictions by theoretical physicists and
mathematicians. These predictions included ideas about gravitational
waves, about "spacetime singularities" (eventually to be called black
holes), and about the Big Bang and the subsequent evolution of the
universe.

Beginning in the 1960s, observational confirmation finally began to come.
Quasars and pulsars were discovered, along with the microwave background,
and by the early 1970s a completely new picture of an extraordinarily
violent universe was emerging, based in quantum mechanics as well as
General Relativity. Looking back now, in 2017, one can see that a
remarkable transformation in physics and astronomy was initiated between
the 1950s and the 1980s. With the first direct observation of
gravitational waves in September 2015, we can also see that it is still going
on.

This meeting, the opening meeting to be organized in the context of the
new "gravity archive" at UBC, has two main purposes. The first will be to
look back at what has been achieved in the field, and to discuss and
organize our efforts to archive it. This will be a long-term project with
very broad scope, in which very important first steps have already been
taken: it will involve both scientists and historians and philosophers of
science. The second purpose of the meeting will be to look forward, at the
open questions that remain - these will shape the future development of
the field. Perhaps the largest question of all of these is the one that
animated Einstein for so long: the search for a theory which unifies
General Relativity and quantum mechanics, and which might solve the
fundamental problems associated with each.