The Arnold Sommerfeld Center for Theoretical Physics (ASC) was founded on November 5, 2004 and inaugurated on January 19, 2005.
The Arnold Sommerfeld Center (ASC) is an international center for theoretical physics. Its purpose is to bring together scientists from all over the world and from all fields of theoretical physics, and to offer them an environment inducive to interactive research by both resident and visiting junior and senior scientists.
In addition, the ASC offers, much in the spirit and tradition of Arnold Sommerfeld, a large set of advanced graduate courses, seminars and workshops. Visiting scientists play a major role in these activities by contributing with teaching and by giving lectures on topics of their research interests. In this way the ASC not only contributes to the internationalization of physics education and to the education of outstanding young scientists, but also promotes scientific cooperation.
The ASC has significantly sharpened the national and international profile of the Ludwig-Maximilians- University (LMU) as a center of excellence in theoretical physics. The ASC is supported by the internationally recognized research theory groups at the LMU, whose current research focuses on cosmology and astrophysics, elementary particle physics, mathematical physics and string theory, solid state physics and nanophysics, statistical physics and biophysics, computational physics, quantum optics and quantum information.
An important interdisciplinary element of the activities of the ASC is the common organization of advanced graduate courses. Many methods and techniques of theoretical physics are common to and successfully used in a large variety of physical contexts. Examples hereof include quantum field theory and statistical field theory, diagramatics, renormalization methods, path integral methods and numeric Monte Carlo methods. A coherent and coordinated presentation of these common techniques in the form of a basic set of advanced graduate courses deepens the awareness of the students of the common aspects in physics and in this way adds great value to their scientific training. This basic set of courses is supplemented by a variety of short lectures given by the visiting scientists, in order to bring the students into contact with topics of current research. The active participation of visiting scientists in the advanced teaching is a central goal of the ASC, since it provides the students with the unique opportunity of getting to know leading scientists at a personal level and to interact with them in small groups.
The ASC was founded by theoretical physicists from the LMU, but is open to anyone who wants to contribute significantly to theoretical physics or related disciplines. The ASC welcomes applications for scientific membership (to be addressed to the ASC spokesman) and suggestions for the invitation of guest scientists or the organization of ASC events such as workshops and schools. The open structure of the ASC allows for its steady expansion, diversification and rejuvenation.
The ASC is efficiently governed by a board of five scientific directors with one acting as the speaker. The board is elected every two years by its scientific members. The ASC is assisted by a scientific manager and by an advisory board of internationally renowned scientists.