A few short items:
- Nature has an editorial this week summarizing the situation with the 750 GeV possible diphoton bump. It mentions a new paper analyzing related data (the number of theory papers on this as a function of time). The paper is called A Theory of Ambulance Chasing, and claims that looking at a large collection of similar fads producing theory papers, the high-level behavior of the HEP theory community can be well summarized by a model that requires only two parameters to fit the data.
- If you’re at Stanford tomorrow and a fan of multiverse mania, you can go hear Alexander Vilenkin talk about The Universes Beyond the Horizon. According to the Stanford PR for this
Despite the similarities between Vilenkin’s theory and the Wikipedia summary of the film Interstellar, many scientists have hope for the multiverse theory.
Stanford physics faculty members seem to have innovative ideas about the scientific method, with one of them quoted as claiming
Once a reasonable idea comes, you can never say it’s wrong.
which I guess could be taken as some sort of motto for research into string theory and the multiverse.
- CERN is running a series of articles about the Theory group there, first one is here.
- Norbert Bodendorfer has a nice new blog about loop quantum gravity and related topics.
- The Templeton Foundation has mercifully stopped giving huge financial prizes to people for dubious attempts to bring religion and science together. I hadn’t even realized they had already given out this year’s Templeton Prize, which went to a British Rabbi.
Among the many things they fund is a recent $1.1 million grant for this project on the philosophical implications of quantum gravity. They will hold a summer school this year (with Amanda Peet and Carlo Rovelli, that should be fun), and there’s a Youtube channel.
- Chris Quigg has an interesting overview of the future of HEP physics. I particularly like his emphasis on the questions
How are we prisoners of conventional thinking?
Might we have misunderstood the hierarchy problem, and so need to reframe it? Perhaps it is time to ask whether the unreasonable effectiveness of the standard model (to borrow a turn of phrase from Eugene Wigner) is itself a deep clue to what lies beyond.