Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation
Cosmología en la Playa / Cosmology on the Beach

The scope and complexity of cosmological and astrophysical investigations is expanding in an unprecedented manner. Today’s students and researchers must comprehend in depth not only their narrow area of focus but also the greater context and the advances in many intertwining fields.  Furthermore, ongoing and future large surveys in large scale structure, dark energy and dark matter, and cosmic radiation fields produce vast sets of data that can be utilized in manifold ways. These projects almost inevitably have a strong international component.

Following this, a key aspect of the schools will be the increasing interaction between participants, through both personal contacts and by use of innovative video and collaborative technologies.


Since January 2009, BCCP and AIC have jointly organized and successfully carried out the annual school Essential Cosmology For the Next Generation. To counteract the “sink or swim” dynamic of most conferences, where talks are solely geared to experts, and students or people in parallel fields absorb minimal information, the school implements activities that provide:


  1. High impact mini-courses given by world-class lecturers;

  2. Lecturers provide invaluable introduction to the key physical concepts and standards in each field while building to the methodology and overview of the active research areas;

  3. Plenary talks on the latest research advances supplement and extend this knowledge base, while engaging, exciting, and leading to fruitful cross-fertilization.  To add to the interactivity, short student and researcher presentations are interleaved with general discussion to deliver instant feedback and explore new ideas;

  4. The courses and plenary talks are put on video and archived webcasting – the first lectures in 2009 received over 3000 viewings on YouTube and are an invaluable resource benefiting students and teachers at underserved institutions.  The conference course and plenary talks for all years are posted as well.


Schools for training cosmologists, and in particular schools that aim to combine multiple lectures on a topic with current research talks and a high level of student participation, are extremely rare especially within the United States. We view Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation as distinctive in its mix of courses, topical advances, and student participation — all of which we regard as essential to succeeding in advancing the next generation of research and researchers. Finally, this conference is unique in its legacy of essential cosmology lecture courses available for viewing on the web by the entire community.

Please contact BCCP if you are interested in helping to sponsor this valuable series, in particular supporting students to participate.