- Charlie Munger, the billionaire business associate of Warren Buffett, has donated $65 million to the KITP at UCSB for the construction of a residence for visitors. For more on this, see a UCSB story, a New York Times article, and for some background, 90-year old Munger’s explanation that “I won’t need it where I’m going”.
- On the other coast, today and tomorrow at Princeton there will be a workshop on string cosmology and inflation. They have a list of questions to be addressed, including

Are there any plausible alternatives to string/M-theory as a fundamental theory of physics?

…

Does string theory make any cosmological predictions? Does it exclude anything?As far as I can tell, there’s an odd consensus set of answers to these two questions among string theorists. No, string theory makes no predictions about cosmology, but also no, there are no alternatives.

- For an interesting discussion of the problems raised by this sort of “no possible predictions, but no alternatives” situation, see this debate involving John Horgan, David Tong and Tara Shears. Horgan does a good job of pointing out the problem. Tong’s defense of string theory relies heavily on claiming that it is highly mathematically rigid, so mathematical consistency is what can give us faith in it. One problem with this is that the whole string theory landscape picture is an extremely ill-defined conjectural framework, the opposite of mathematically rigid. Yes, there are parts of string theory that seem to be mathematically consistent and lead to interesting results. The problem is that those have nothing to do with what is observed about fundamental physics.
- Jim Gates has an article about Sticking with SUSY, despite no evidence from the LHC. He explains that the thing he finds most convincing about SUSY is the cancellation in divergent vacuum energies between fermions and bosons (or at least that’s how I interpret his comments). I’m actually somewhat in sympathy with this. One thing I’ve been writing about in my quantum mechanics notes is the beautiful parallelism between “bosonic” and “fermionic” quantization. A fundamental theory needs both, and likely has some super-algebra of symmetries acting on it. I just don’t though see a good argument for the realization of this general idea in terms of the standard kinds of extensions of the Poincaré algebra to a superalgebra. These don’t appear to tell us anything about physics we know about, and predict physics we don’t see.
- I was hoping to have time last Sunday to see a discussion at the French Embassy between John Nash and Cedric Villani, part of their Festival Albertine. Unfortunately I ran out of time to do this, but luckily for you and me, video is available here.

### About

### Not Even Wrong: The Book

### Categories

- Book Reviews (43)
- BRST (12)
- Experimental HEP News (138)
- Langlands (19)
- Multiverse Mania (95)
- Not Even Wrong: The Book (26)
- Quantum Mechanics (6)
- Strings 2XXX (13)
- This Week's Hype (71)
- Uncategorized (1,034)

### Recent Comments

- Yet More News 3

Art Brown, Marty Tysanner, Lee Smolin - Various News 24

paddy, Anon, Peter Woit, anonymist, Yatima, Nathalie [...] - Job Action at the Journal of K-theory 3

Mathematician, gurgaon india tourism, Narad - Quick Links 48

anonymous, Michael Gogins, B'Rat, Curious Mayhem, NP, Niclas [...] - Planck: It's Just Dust 41

Peter Woit, Art Brown, Edward, Peter Woit, Art Brown, Art [...]

- Yet More News 3
### Archives

### Links

### Mathematics Weblogs

- Alexandre Borovik
- Antwerp Noncommutative Geometry Seminar
- Automorphic Forum
- Cathy O'Neil
- Chromotopy
- Concrete Nonsense
- Danny Calegari
- DZB's blog
- Emmanuel Kowalski
- Jeffrey Morton
- Jesse Johnson
- Johan deJong
- Lieven Le Bruyn
- Michael Hutchings
- Motivic Stuff
- Noncommutative Geometry
- Pieter Belmans
- Quomodocumque
- Rigorous Trivialities
- Secret Blogging Seminar
- Terence Tao
- The n-Category Cafe
- Timothy Gowers

### Physics Weblogs

- Alexey Petrov
- Andrew Jaffe
- Angry Physicist
- Capitalist Imperialist Pig
- Chad Orzel
- Charles Day
- Christine Dantas
- Clifford Johnson
- Cormac O’Raifeartaigh
- Cosmic Variance
- Dmitry Podolsky
- Doug Natelson
- EPMG Blog
- Georg von Hippel
- Gordon Watts
- Jacques Distler
- Jennifer Ouellette
- Jim Rohlf
- John Horgan
- John Terning
- Jonathan Shock
- Kyle Cranmer
- Lubos Motl
- Makoto Sakurai
- Martin Perl
- Matt Strassler
- Michael Schmitt
- Philip Gibbs
- Physics World
- Resonaances
- Rhys Davies
- Robert Helling
- Sabine Hossenfelder/Stefan Scherer
- Scott Aaronson
- Sesh Nadathur
- Shaun Hotchkiss
- Shores of the Dirac Sea
- Steve Hsu
- Sujit Datta
- Tommaso Dorigo

### Meta