Slightly over 100 years has passed since Einstein formulated the field equations of General Relativity, revealing a purely classical nonlinear theory of great mathematical richness and profound physical consequences. Nevertheless despite much effort and progress, understanding gravity remains elusive. On the theoretical front, a satisfactory quantum theory of gravity is still lacking, and although great progress has been made in testing the Einstein theory experimentally, we are not sure that its extrapolation to very small and very large scales is the last word. Attempts to incorporate and constrain “modified gravity” in cosmology, with a view toward explaining dark energy and dark matter, has been a very active area of theoretical inquiry. Moreover, by exploiting gravitational lensing, we are able to probe the distribution of mass in the universe directly. On the experimental front, decades of effort to develop gravitational wave detectors capable of detecting the gravitational waves from the coalescence of black holes and neutron star mergers have come to fruition with a first detection, and the years ahead promise to bring us rich data sets, allowing for precise tests of theoretical predictions of gravity in the strong-field regime. This event will consider an overview of these exciting developments.

Conference Dates

This conference will be held online via the Zoom platform from 9 August to 12 August 2021.

Format

There will be a series of Plenary General Talks of 30 – 45 minutes duration each and a series of Plenary Focused Talks of 30 minutes each. A further 15 minutes will be allocated for introductions and question.

In addition, delegates may submit

(a) Contributed talks of 20 minutes duration including 5 minutes for questions.

(b) Flash Talks of up to 10 minutes each including 2 minutes for questions. The talk may be accompanied by a maximum of 3 slides which each speaker will submit to the organisers before the conference commences. The slides will be advanced from the organisers side on instruction from the speaker.

Local organising committee

Sudan Hansraj (Chairperson), Moumita Aich, Gareth Amery, Aroon Beesham (MUT), Martin Bucher, Megan Govender (DUT), Kesh Govinder, Rituparno Goswami, Matthew Hilton, YinZe Ma, Sunil Maharaj, Kavilan Moodley, Selvan Moopanar, Njabulo Mkhize (UniZul), Alfred Msomi (MUT), Sifiso Ngubelanga (DUT), Subharthi Ray

Scientific Organising Committee

Latham Boyle (Perimeter Institute, Canada), Rong Gen Cai (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Brian Chilambwe (Copperbelt University, Zambia), Cynthia Chiang (McGill University, Canada), Naresh Dadhich (IUCAA India), Claudia de Rham (Imperial College, London), George Ellis (UCT), Nick Kaiser (ENS Paris), Roy Maartens (UWC), Bishop Mongwane (UCT), Jonathan Sievers (McGill University, Canada), Jefta Sunzu (Dodoma University, Tanzania), Andrew Tolley (Imperial College London), Amanda Weltman (UCT).

Sponsors

Centre of Excellence (National Research Foundation and Department of Science and Technology, South Africa)

University of KwaZulu Natal (Hanno Rund Fund)