9-11 January 2019
50 George Square
UTC timezone
A plenary-only interdisciplinary symposium highlighting new approaches to challenges in all areas of theoretical physics.

New Directions in Theoretical Physics is a series of prestigious interdisciplinary conferences organised by the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics, aiming to generate an exchange of ideas and highlight new approaches to challenges in all areas of theoretical physics. All talks in this meeting are plenary review talks and are intended to reach out to the entire community of theoretical physicists, inspire researchers and generate a valuable discussion across disciplines.

The January 2019 meeting is the third meeting in this series, following highly successful meetings in 2017 and 2014. It will cover a broad range of topics including particle physics, quantum field theory, cosmology and dark matter, general relativity and gravitational waves, stochastic thermodynamics, entanglement, disorder, complexity and chaos in quantum systems, principles of machine learning and physics of living systems.

The conference venue is 50 George Square in the city centre campus of the University of Edinburgh. This time the conference extends over three full days, Wednesday 9th - Friday 11th January, consisting of review talks (all talks are 45 minutes) and discussion sessions. The list of speakers is below. In the evening of the first day (Wednesday, 9 Jan) there will be a drinks reception (6:30pm) followed by a public talk -- Higgs Public Lecture -- by Nima Arkani-Hamed (starting at 7:30pm). On the Thursday (10 Jan) all participants will be hosted for a conference dinner.


View full timetable on Indico


  • Ana Achúcarro  (Leiden Univ. / Univ. of the Basque Country UPV-EHU)
    'A new twist on multifield inflation'

  • Ehud Altman (Berkeley)
    'Universal operator growth and emergent hydrodynamics in quantum systems'

  • Nima Arkani-Hamed (IAS, Princeton)
    'Time Without Time'

  • Michael Atiyah (University of Edinburgh)
    'The Fine Structure Constant'

  • Vijay Balasubramanian (University of Pennsylvania)
    'The Power of Random: Information and Emergence From Black Holes to the Brain'

  • Mark Bowick (KITP, Santa Barbara)
    'Statistical Mechanics of 2D Metamaterials'

  • Claudia de Rham (Imperial College London)
    'Physics under the Gravitational Rainbow'

  • Claude Duhr (CERN and UC Louvain)
    'Modern approaches to precision computations in the LHC era'

  • John Ellis (CERN and Kings College London)
    'Prospects for physics at future colliders'

  • Éanna Flannagan (Cornell University)
    'Asymptotic symmetries and charges in general relativity'

  • Gregory Gabadadze (NYU)
    'Beyond Einstein Gravity and Cosmology'

  • Chris Jarzynski (University of Maryland)
    'Scaling down the laws of thermodynamics'

  • Jean-Francois Joanny (Collège de France and ESPCI ParisTech)
    'Physics of Biological Tissues'

  • Satya Majumdar (Université de Paris-Sud, Orsay)
    'Extreme Value Statistics for Random Matrices'

  • Matthew Mccullough (CERN and Cambridge)
    'The hierarchy problem: Exotic signatures from exotic solutions'

  • Priyamvada Natarajan (Yale University)
    'The hunt for the first black holes'

  • Subir Sachdev (Harvard University)
    'Universal low temperature theory of charged black holes and SYK models of strange metals'

  • Udo Seifert (Stuttgart University)
    'From stochastic thermodynamics to thermodynamic inference'

  • George Sterman (YITP, Stony Brook)
    'Making a place for perturbation theory in the non-perturbative strong interactions'

  • Naftaly Tishby (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
    'Information theory and statistical physics of Deep Learning'

  • Frank Verstraete (Ghent University)
    'Quantum tensor networks for modelling quantum many body wavefunctions'

  • Neal Weiner (New York University)
    'Searching for Dark Matter in Time Domain Astronomy'

The Higgs Public Lecture 

On the evening of Wednesday the 9th January you are invited to participate in The Higgs Public Lecture, entitled "The End of Spacetime," by Nima Arkani-Hamed. The lecture will be held at the Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre, 32 George Square, and is free of charge but requires early registration (which is separate to the conference registraion).

Prior to the lecture we invite you to a drinks reception.

Conference Dinner

On the evening of Thursday 10th January you are invited to Surgeons Hall for a delicious three-course meal. Please advise your attendance at the dinner by checking the correct box on the registration form, there is no extra cost to attend.

Delegate Discounts

You will be provided with an Edinburgh Rewards Passport at the registration desk, this gives access to over 100 discounts and exclusive offers at a selection of the city's restaurants, bars, tourist attractions and pre booked taxis. Details of the discounts are at www.edinburghrewards.com as well as the printed passport.


For any practical question regarding the confrence, please contact the Higgs Centre secretary Ines Foidl <ines.foidl@ed.ac.uk>

All venue information can be found here in Google maps (external link)

We expect all delegates to adhere to the Dignity and Respect Policy of the University of Edinburgh while on University premises.



50 George Square
50 George Square, EH8 9JU, Edinburgh
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