Shedding Light on the Dark Universe with Extremely Large Telescopes

Asia/Australia meeting in Lanzhou, China from Aug 30-Sept 2, 2017

Americas meeting at UCLA, April 2-6, 2018

Trieste Italy, hosted by ICTP (International Center for Theoretical Physics), July 2-6 2018

The next decade promises to be transformative for our understanding of dark matter and dark energy. The dark universe is a major scientific driver of several major astronomical facilities that have just become operational, are in construction, or in the planning stages, including, e.g., the Dark Energy Survey, the James Webb Space Telescope, the Euclid Satellite, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope, the Square Kilometer Array. In the same timeframe, the next generation of giant (20-30m) optical infrared ground based telescope will achieve first light, providing scientists general observer facilities of unprecedented power.

In order to facilitate attendance and reduce costs and travel we plan to hold three coordinated conferences, once each in Asia, America and Europe. Topical sessions will be dedicated to specific topics and techniques that have already been identified as areas where giant telescopes will enable fundamental progress (Clusters of galaxies, Supernovae, Near Field Cosmology, Strong lensing, Lyman alpha Forest). In addition we plan a session dedicated to synergy with other facilities and one dedicated to theory.

These conferences will bring together an international group of experts to review the current state of the art in the study of dark energy and dark matter and discuss how best to use giant telescopes to learn about their fundamental nature. Specifically, we aim to address the following questions:

It is extremely important to answer these questions now, while the plans for giant telescopes can still be influenced, and there is still sufficient time to carry out preparatory theoretical and observational work that will be needed to make the most of these investments.