It's also interesting to reflect how far quantum mechanics has come. In 1927 physicists were still trying to formulate what kind of theory quantum mechanics even is. Today, the workshop began with with a talk entitled "The Quantum Origin of the Universe." We've gone from formulating a new physical theory to explaining the whole structure of the universe with it in less then a century!!!
There were 3 main talks today and I summarize briefly:
Viatcheslav Mukhanov: Gave the talk about the quantum origins of the universe. He emphasized the importance of inflation and claimed all objections to inflation are now really starting to look silly. People either attack a mechanism of inflation ("Dude, I don't like inflation cuz it is some ad hoc scalar field...") showing their ignorance not understanding that the effects of the theory are mechanism independent. (Example: you get primordial density perturbations no matter what the mechanism.) Or, they come up with some metaphysical argument why they don't like inflation. (How dumb would I look if I gave a philosophical argument why I don't think it makes sense that the Earth orbits the sun even though we see it in experiment?)
At this point he quoted a the physicist Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg who said (discussing cosmology):
Our mistake is not that we take our theories too seriously, but that we do not take them seriously enough. It is always hard to realise that these numbers and equations that we play with at our desks have something to do with the real world.Always remember that quote!
Anupam Mazumdar: Talked about two things, first emphasized how much progress had been made showing inflation really does recover low energy physics and the second half talked about how gravitational waves, if detected, could revolutionize the field. The stuff on gravity was was very interesting.
Alan Heavens: Discussed what we will learn about the universe from gravitational lensing over the next decade or so. It was very interesting. Right now you are used to seeing pictures of stars and galaxies. Fine, but with gravitational lensing, in the future, we will be able to map out the 3D structure of the Dark matter Halos stars and galaxies sit in. Furthermore, the 3D lensing reconstruction will test aspects of cosmology in all new ways and will be become a very stringent test on General Relativity. (For instance, it may be cosmologists using lensing who discover the hierarchy structure of the neutrino masses!)