First CPTPN Conference sets bar

The Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) of the University of Lethbridge's Department of Physics and Astronomy recently hosted the first ever Canadian Prairie Theoretical Physics Network (CPTPN) Conference (Aug. 25-26).

The majority of the 40 participants came from different universities across the Canadian prairies, while a few came from much farther away, including Montreal and Taiwan. A total of 28 presentations were made over the course of the two-day event, with four U of L speakers taking the stage. Covering topics that included astrophysics, classical and quantum gravity, mathematical physics and quantum information, presentation titles ranged from "The second known HMXB Black Hole in the Milky Way Galaxy" to "Dynamical Riemannian Geometry and Plant Growth".

The conference proved to be extremely beneficial to all those who took part, providing excellent exposure for the U of L and its physics researchers. It also led to a number of collaborative agreements and promise of future joint efforts.

The unique aspect of the conference was that it very much involved students.
The format of the event allowed students to meet professors from throughout the prairie universities and learn first-hand about their current areas of research. This is particularly beneficial as it gives students exposure to a variety of programs where they may continue future research. The majority of the presentations were given by students, allowing for valuable opportunities to showcase research and practice presentations in an informal setting.

The CPTPN is a unique network of theoretical physicists and other researchers with interests in theoretical physics. It spans the prairies and looks to remove the logistical restraints its members face from being separated by large distances. The goal is to create a free atmosphere of information exchange without formal institutional constraints.

The other primary goal of the network is to enhance the education and experience of research students of theoretical physics on the prairies. Specifically, the possibility of distance learning for graduate classes was discussed, opening the door for students to gain better access to topics not taught at their current institution.

The CPTPN was initiated by the efforts of Dr. Dinesh Singh (University of Regina) in collaboration with the TPG at the University of Lethbridge.

Considering the benefits of joining the CPTPN, the price is right: free. In the spirit of its formation, it was decided that the only requirement for membership for a non-student is an endorsement from a current member, and for students, endorsement by their supervisor.

Brent Peterson is an undergraduate student working with the U of L's Department of Physics and Astronomy