The New Frontiers in Astronomy and Cosmology program included 20 awards for 2 year research projects on Big Questions.

The winners are:

  1. Big Question I
    What was the earliest state of the universe?

    1. Detecting Cosmic Superstrings
      David Chernoff, Cornell University

      Co-Investigator: Henry Tye, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

    2. CosmoArchaeology: Digging for the Initial State
      Richard Holman, Carnegie Mellon University

      Co-Investigators: Shirley Ho, Carnegie Mellon University; Sarah Shandera, The Pennsylvania State University; Nishant Agarwal, Carnegie Mellon University; Ross O’Connell, Carnegie Mellon University

    3. Computing the Wave Function of the Universe
      Alexander Maloney, McGill University

      Co‐Investigators: Robert Brandenberger, McGill University; Patrick Hayden, McGill University; Johannes Walcher, McGill University

    4. Probing the genesis of space-time using supercomputers
      Parampreet Singh, Louisiana State University

      Co-Investigator: Peter Diener, Louisiana State University

    5. A holographic theory for the very early universe
      Kostas Skenderis, University of Southampton Southampton

      Co-Investigator: Marika Taylor, University of Southampton

    6. Detecting or Falsifying the Multiverse
      David Spergel, Princeton University

      Co-Investigator: Daan Meerburg, Princeton University

  2. Big Question II
    Is our observable universe unique or is it part of a much larger multiverse?

    1. Testing the Multiverse
      Anthony Aguirre, University of California at Santa Cruz

      Co-Investigators: Hiranya Peiris, University College, London; Matthew Johnson, Perimeter Institute

    2. Measuring the Multiverse
      Raphael Bousso, University of California, Berkeley

    3. Testing the Multiverse with Cosmic Bubble Collisions
      Matthew Kleban, New York University

    4. CMB Polarization, 21-cm Cosmology, and Testing the Multiverse
      Chao-Lin Kuo, Stanford University

      Co-Investigator: Leonardo Senatore, Stanford University

    5. Search for Drifting Constants via Extra-Galactic Alcohol
      Wim Ubachs, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

    6. Global structure of the multiverse and the measure problem
      Alexander Vilenkin, Tufts University

      Co-Investigator: Jaume Garriga, Universitat de Barcelona

  3. Big Question III
    What is the origin of the complexity in the universe?

    1. Emergent Complexity in the Universe: Origin and Limits
      Marcelo Gleiser, Dartmouth College

      Co-Investigator: Robert Caldwell, Dartmouth College

    2. Cognitive Astrophysics: Asking the Hardest Questions
      Barry F. Madore, The Observatories Carnegie Institution of Washington

      Co-Investigators: Wendy Freedman, The Observatories Carnegie Institution of Washington; Juna Kollmeier, The Observatories Carnegie Institution of Washington; Andrew Benson, The Observatories Carnegie Institution of Washington; Thomas J. Cox, The Observatories Carnegie Institution of Washington

    3. Initial Information Folding and Flowing into Complexity
      Mark Neyrinck, Johns Hopkins University

      Co-Investigator: Miguel Aragon-Calvo, Johns Hopkins University

    4. The Emergence of Complex Structural Patterns: A manifestation of increasing cosmic complexity
      Sergei Shandarin, University of Kansas

      Co-Investigator: Rien van de Weygaert, University of Groningen

  4. Big Question IV
    Are we alone in the universe? Or, are there other life and intelligence beyond the solar system?

    1. The search for life in extremely exotic environments: A strict test for Life’s cosmic ubiquity
      Jonathan I. Lunine, Cornell University

      Co-Investigators: David Shalloway, Cornell University; David Usher, Cornell University; Rene Corrales, University of Arizona

    2. Discovery of Earth-like Planets and Signals from Intelligent Life
      Geoffrey Marcy, University of California, Berkeley

      Co-Investigators: Andrew Howard, University of Hawaii; John Johnson, California Institute of Technology

    3. Stellar Lighthouses: Decoding Signatures of Advanced Civilizations in Precision Stellar Photometry
      Lucianne Walkowicz, Princeton University

      Co-Investigators: Edwin L. Turner, Princeton University; Victoria Meadows, University of Washington; Jeffrey Scargle, NASA Ames Research Center; Anthony Zee, University of California, Santa Barbara

    4. Constraining the Abundance of Kardashev Type II and III Civilizations From Large Area Infrared Surveys
      Jason Wright, The Pennsylvania State University

      Co-Investigators: Steinn Sigurdsson, The Pennsylvania State University; Matthew Povich, The Pennsylvania State University

Ok, I like that.
These actually sound like a bunch of really fun research topics and a sharp reminder at how conservative the federal funding can be.
If even one of these pans out, the effort will have been well worthwhile.

Unconfirmed story is that these were selected from about 300 received proposals, so the success rate was appallingly low.
Don’t know if that is the count for the pre-proposals or the solicited full proposals.
Heroic effort by the selection panel in either case.
Good choice…

Comments

  1. #1 Bee
    October 5, 2012

    Congrats :o)

  2. #2 bph
    October 5, 2012

    Congrats!
    and Anthony!

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