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Prof. Don Page


Don Page is a Professor of Physics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Growing up in Alaskan villages, he completed his high school education by correspondence through the University of Nebraska Extension Division. He received his B.A. in Physics and Mathematics, summa cum laude, from William Jewell College in Missouri, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the California Institute of Technology. His Ph.D. thesis, "Accretion into and Emission from Black Holes", was supervised by Kip S. Thorne and Stephen Hawking. Dr. Page then moved to the University of Cambridge, England, where he held a NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science, worked as a research assistant under Prof. Hawking, and received an M.A.

From 1979 to 1990, Dr. Page was a member of the Physics Department of the Pennsylvania State University. During this period, he held visiting positions at the University of Texas at Austin, the California Institute of Technology, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Alberta. In 1990, he moved to the University of Alberta. Dr. Page has been a member of CIAR's Cosmology and Gravity Program since 1987, and was a CIAR Fellow from 1991-2002.

Research Interests:

The goal of quantum cosmology is to try to understand the universe as a whole within the current fundamental framework of physics, quantum theory. Quantum theory normally differs significantly from classical theory only for small systems, so one may question its application to the entire universe. However, the universe was apparently once so small that a quantum description would have been essential. The present universe may be viewed as a relic of processes that occurred in its very early evolution. Thus a quantum understanding of these processes may help explain certain basic features observed today. For example, the observed cosmos is large, old, nearly flat, fairly homogeneous and isotropic at the largest observable distances, lumpy and complex on smaller scales, and out of thermal equilibrium, exhibiting a pervasive arrow of time. These basic features are mysterious, in the sense that it would apparently be consistent with our present theoretical understanding of physics for the universe not to have any of these properties. Can we enlarge our understanding to include fundamental principles that would explain these observed features of the cosmos? In particular, we need principles for the boundary conditions of the universe, to select the actual universe from the apparently infinite set of possible universes obeying the same complete set of dynamical laws. There have recently been proposals for this that would specify the quantum state of the universe, such as the Hartle-Hawking no-boundary proposal and the Vilenkin tunneling proposal. Research is being done on the implications of these and other proposals to see whether or not they can explain the observed features of our mysterious universe.

Recent Selected Publications

  • Don N. Page, "The Lifetime of the Universe," Journal of the Korean Physical Society 49, 711-714 (2006).
  • M. Cvetic, H. Lu, Don N. Page, and C. N. Pope, "New Einstein-Sasaki Spaces in Five and Higher Dimensions," Physical Review Letters 95, 071101 (2005).
  • Don N. Page, "Hawking Radiation and Black Hole Thermodynamics," New Journal of Physics 7, 203 (2005).
  • G. W. Gibbons, H. Lu, Don N. Page, and C. N. Pope, "Rotating Black Holes in Higher Dimensions with a Cosmological Constant," Physical Review Letters 93, 171102 (2004).
  • Don N. Page, "Anthropic Estimates of the Charge and Mass of the Proton," <>.