Wolfgang Hillebrandt, MPI Garching
Saul Perlmutter, LBL
August 4 - 7, 2004
Systematic studies of type Ia supernovae at high red-shifts give increasing evidence that we are living in an expanding universe which began to accelerate its expansion when it was somewhat older than half its present age. This finding is commonly interpreted as being due to a finite positive cosmological constant $\Lambda$ (interpreted as the energy density of the vacuum) or, alternatively, attributed to a new form of yet unidentified energy density with negative pressure.
Currently, our understanding of the supernova physics is the major systematic uncertainty of this result. The distant supernovae exploded at a time when our solar system was just forming. There is no guarantee that these distant explosions are the same as the nearby ones on which the empirical relations are based. Only once we understand the physics of the explosions will we be able to assess whether they can be used as distance indicators reliably, and whether we have to search for new physics beyond the standard models of particle physics and cosmology.
The workshop on Type Ia Supernovae and Cosmology at INT will discuss all aspects of of thermonuclear supernovae, including models of the progenitors, the physics of thermonuclear burning, radiation transport, light-curves and spectra, and the cosmological and particle physics aspects. It is anticipated to bring together theory and observations, and experts in the field with young researchers. The program will include reviews on all the topics listed above as well as contributed talks.