Daytona Beach Campus


Noted Physicist Abhay Ashtekar to Speak at Embry-Riddle

Daytona Beach, FL, March 14, 2013

Elston Lecturer Abhay Ashtekar


Abhay Ashtekar, director of the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos and holder of the Eberly Chair at Penn State, will visit Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on Saturday, March 30, to speak on “The Very Early Universe: Explorations beyond Einstein.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Gale Lemerand auditorium in the Willie Miller Instructional Center. The university is located at 600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd. in Daytona Beach.

Ashtekar’s talk is the 12th annual Elston Memorial Lecture on Gravitation, presented by the Embry-Riddle Elston Fund and the Arts and Letters Committee of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. The lecture series commemorates Professor Fred Elston, an expert on general relativity at Embry-Riddle, who died in 2000.

Ashtekar, whose research focuses on classical general relativity and quantum gravity, has given over 125 invited plenary talks in various conferences and workshops worldwide. His research has been widely reported in semi-popular media including Nature, Science, the New York Times, the Economist, U.S. News and World Report, New Scientist, Fox News, MSNBC and Geo and in the Australian, Asian and South American press. He also was featured in the German documentary Kosmos, prepared in 2008 for the celebration of Max Planck’s 150th birthday.

“There has been a great deal of controversy on basic questions such as the beginning of space and time and the origin of the large scale structure of the universe,” Ashtekar says. “Attempts are now being made to go beyond Einstein, using quantum gravity. They predict that the quantum properties of space-time geometry create a brand-new repulsive force, halting the Big Bang and replacing it with a Big Bounce. Space-time becomes much larger than Einstein had us believe.”

A past president of the International Society for General Relativity and Gravitation, Ashtekar is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society, and one of only 51 honorary fellows of the Indian Academy of Sciences, selected worldwide. He won the Senior Forschungspreis of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He has held the Krammers Visiting Chair in Theoretical Physics at the University of Utrecht and the Sir C.V. Raman Chair of the Indian Academy of Science. He is a visiting professor at the Beijing Normal University.

In a long and distinguished service career, Ashtekar has served as a senior consultant on science and technology for the United Nations Development Office, on policy and oversight committees of the National Science Foundation, Max Planck Society of Germany and Science Research Council of the UK, and on scientific advisory boards in Canada, Europe and India.

For more information, please contact Professor Chris Vuille at or (386) 226-6724.

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