In order of appearance:

Paul Davies is a British-born theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist and best-selling author. He is Regents’ Professor of Physics at Arizona State University, where he is Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science and Co-Director of the Cosmology Initiative. Prior to his move to the USA in 2006, he helped create the Australian Centre for Astrobiology. Davies knew Stephen Hawking from 1970, when they were colleagues at the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. Most of Davies’s research has been in the areas of quantum gravity, black holes and early-universe cosmology, though in recent years he has also been working on the origin of life and the deep evolutionary roots of cancer. He has written over 30 books, many for the general public, the most recent being What’s Eating the Universe? And Other Cosmic Questions. Paul Davies is known worldwide as a television and radio commentator and is the author of hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. He has received many awards and prizes and has an asteroid named after him.

Fumika Suzuki is a postdoctoral researcher under the mentorship of Nikolai Sinitsyn and W. H. Zurek at the Center for Nonlinear Studies and Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory. Originally from Japan, she earned her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia, Canada, under the supervision of W. G. Unruh. Her research interests include the mechanisms of phase transitions in the early universe with related table top experiments. She also explores the theory of matter-wave interferometry to create large Schrödinger cat states of molecules. This research aims to shed light on the mysteries of the transition from quantum physics to classical physics and the interplay between quantum physics and gravity. She collaborates on this endeavor with Markus Arndt at the University of Vienna, Austria.

Laura Mersini-Houghton is an Albanian-American theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author. She is a Full Professor of Physics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a frequent Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge UK, and CITA University of Toronto Canada. Her ground breaking theory of the origin of our universe from a quantum multiverse, vindicated with observational evidence from the Planck satellite data, has turned the multiverse from a philosophical speculation to one of the most compelling and credible explanations of our universe’s origin, now firmly rooted in the scientific realm of research. Her proposal on using quantum entanglement in the wave function of the universe and fast forwarding its traces to present day, provided the scientific tools for investigating the multiverse. For the first time, it gave us the ability to peer beyond the limits of our universe to test our theories and to find our place as a humble member in a vast cosmos. Mersini-Houghton has been the subject of hundreds of articles in leading popular science magazines and has appeared in documentaries on the BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, Science Channel, as well as BBC and NPR radio. Her most recent book is Before the Big Bang: The Origin of Our Universe from the Multiverse.

Emil Mottola

Univ. of New Mexico (adjunct) and New Mexico Consortium

Emil Mottola earned his Ph. D. from Columbia Univ. in theoretical physics in 1979. He was a post-doctoral member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ for 3 years, and subsequently a research fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, CA for 4 years, before joining the staff of the High Energy Physics group of Theoretical Division at Los Alamos in 1986 until 2021. Emil is the author of some 100 publications, with 10,000 citations spanning particle physics, quantum field theory, non-equilibrium and condensed matter physics, general relativity, cosmology, and the physics of black holes.

Emil’s research has focused on reconciling Einstein’s classical theory of general relativity at macroscopic scales, with the quantum Standard Model of particle physics governing matter at the smallest scales. The tension–if not contradiction—between the two becomes acutely apparent in the ‘Information Paradox’ of black holes, as emphasized by Steven Hawking.  With Pawel Mazur, Emil proposed that all black hole paradoxes of this kind are resolved if black holes are not black ‘holes’ at all, but gravitational vacuum condensate stars (or ‘gravastars’), equally compact objects possessing a physical surface and a non-singular dark energy interior. Emil has developed the fundamental basis for gravastars from quantum theory, and investigated the observational signatures that could distinguish them from black holes in the new era of gravitational wave and multi-messenger astronomy.

Kip Thorne led a Caltech research group in relativistic astrophysics and gravitational physics from 1967 to 2009, with special focus on relativistic stars, black holes, the theory of time travel, and especially gravitational waves. Fifty-three students received their PhDs under his mentorship, and he mentored roughly sixty postdoctoral students. He co-authored the textbooks Gravitation (1973, with Charles Misner and John Archibald Wheeler) and Modern Classical Physics (2017, with Roger Blandford), and was sole author of Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy.

With Rainer Weiss and Ronald Drever Kip founded the LIGO Project. In September 2014 LIGO made the breakthrough discovery of gravitational waves arriving at Earth from the distant universe.  For his contributions to LIGO and to gravitational wave research, Kip shared (with Weiss and LIGO Director Barry Barish) the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics and several other major awards.

In 2009, Kip stepped down from his Caltech professorship to ramp up a new career at the interface between the arts and science. This has included, among other things, Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster movie Interstellar (which sprang from a Treatment Kip co-authored, and for which he was Executive Producer); Kip’s book The Science of Interstellarand a recent book of tightly integrated verse (by Kip) and paintings (by Lia Halloran), titled The Warped Side of our Universe.

Malcolm J. Perry is a theoretical physicist and emeritus professor at University of Cambridge and at Queen Mary University of London.  His research mainly concerns quantum gravity, black holes, general relativity, and supergravity.  He was a graduate student at King’s College, Cambridge, under the supervision of Stephen Hawking. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1978 with a thesis on the quantum mechanics of black holes. Subsequently, he worked at Princeton and found the Myers-Perry metric – a higher dimensional generalization of the Kerr metric or how to construct black holes in higher space-time dimensions. In a series of highly influential papers he has attempted to solve the long standing problems in black hole thermodynamics and the information paradox for black holes. He is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and an International Honorary Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has also won awards from the Gravity Research Foundation and holds a Sloan Research Fellowship.

Thomas Hertog is a cosmologist and long-time collaborator of Stephen Hawking. He received his doctorate from the University of Cambridge, joined the University of California at Santa Barbara as a research fellow in 2002 and became fellow at CERN, Geneva, in 2005. Currently Hertog is Professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the KU Leuven in Belgium, where he studies the quantum nature of black holes and the big bang. He also leads Belgium’s participation in the European Space Agency’s flagship mission dedicated to the detection of gravitational waves – ripples of spacetime once predicted by Albert Einstein. Hertog has been guest professor at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at Santa Barbara, visiting senior fellow at Trinity College in Cambridge, and affiliate member of the International Solvay Institutes for Physics in Brussels. His award-winning research has featured in distinguished media channels worldwide. Hertog is also an internationally acclaimed science communicator. He has curated several art-science exhibitions and is the author of On the Origin of Time: Stephen Hawking’s Final Theory, in which he has advanced a fundamentally evolutionary conception of physics in the earliest stages of the universe. He lives with his wife and their four children in Bousval, Belgium.

Raymond Laflamme is originally from Québec City, where he studied Physics as an undergraduate at the Université Laval. He completed his PhD on aspects of general relativity and quantum cosmology in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) under the direction of Stephen Hawking. Laflamme and his colleague Don Page are responsible for having changed Hawking’s mind on the reversal of the direction of time in a contracting universe (see Hawking’s book, Brief History of Time).

From 1988-1992, Laflamme held a Killam post-doctoral fellowship at UBC, and a post-doctoral fellowship at Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge. From 1992-2001, Dr. Laflamme worked as a research scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where his interests shifted from cosmology to quantum computing. Since the mid-1990’s, Laflamme has developed theoretical approaches to quantum error correction, and has given experimental demonstrations of these techniques. With colleagues, he has developed a blueprint for a quantum information processor using linear optics, and devised and implemented new methods to make quantum information robust against corruption in both cryptographic and computational settings.

In 2001, Laflamme returned to Canada as the founding Director of the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) which he lead until 2017. He is an associate faculty of the Perimeter Institute For Theoretical Physics. Currently, Prof. Laflamme holds the Canada Research Chair in Quantum Information, the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis “John von Neumann” Chair in Quantum Information and is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo.

* Unable to attend

Gordon Freedman is an American educator, producer, writer and investigator. He was the Executive Producer of the 1991 Stephen Hawking documentary A Brief History of Time (see About the Film page) and is currently the president of the National Laboratory for Education Transformation (NLET). Freedman began his career as an investigator on three special investigative committees in the U.S. Congress, followed by being a Washington correspondent, investigative reporter and then a network television producer for ABC News 20/20. Freedman transitioned into nonfiction, fact-based, dramatic and documentary development and production in Los Angeles, producing movies of the week, mini-series, and films. As his first children approached school-age, Freedman transitioned out of entertainment to concentrate on helping to transform education from bricks-and-mortar to the use of digital media, interactive technologies, online learning and education technology. Freedman worked globally and became an expert in adapting education to the evolving information age.

Starting in 2005 Freedman visited New Mexico as an executive of the education technology company Blackboard, Inc. There, Freedman first met individuals at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) which inspired him in 2011 to found a research and development nonprofit, the National Laboratory for Education Transformation,, to explore the boundaries of education, making it more accessible and interesting to learners. NLET developed a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that included the LANL Statistics Division, University of California Santa Cruz and University of Texas Austin to model improvements in K12 math education.  Freedman is currently vice chair of NLET, still involved in math education as well as popularizing STEM subjects in cosmology and biology. Freedman is also president of GoEducate, Inc.,, a company providing education-to-employment services on the Web and in mobile in Arizona, California, and New Mexico.