A three component Templeton Initiative at the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics is underway with two components already in place: ``Dual perspectives on emergence: Quantum criticality and spacetime,” and ``Quantum Gravity Frontiers.” The goal of the initiative is straightforward: to assemble a diverse critical mass of outstanding thinkers, and to create the best possible conditions for discoveries to take place. This proposal is for the third component; namely an initiative in the foundations of cosmology, and the quantum theory of gravity. The project will be led by three senior members of SITP whose experience and contributions to the subject are extremely well known: Andrei Linde, Stephen Shenker, and Leonard Susskind. The third component will fund one Templeton postdoctoral fellow; one month of summer salary for each of the PIs; two one month visits by outstanding, active visiting professors each year; one Templeton Symposium including a public outreach lecture by an eminent physicist; and a smaller Templeton Workshop where the latest exciting developments can be discussed with a short lead time. In combination with the other exceptional faculty—especially those involved in the other two components—we are confident that a critical mass will be created to focus on these most important and challenging questions.
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