Author Archives: woit

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This month’s Physics Today has a long article by Wojciech Zurek, Quantum Darwinism, classical reality, and the randomness of quantum jumps. I’m not sure if there’s anything new there, but it’s a very clear exposition of what seems to me … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Thirtieth Anniversary of the First Superstring Revolution

Today’s about the date that I’d pick for the 30th anniversary of the First Superstring Revolution. Witten’s paper Some Properties of O(32) Superstrings arrived at the journal Physics Letters on September 28,1984, so presumably was finished and sent out around … Continue reading

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Horgan Interview With Witten

Back in 1996 John Horgan’s The End of Science appeared, which included material from a fascinating 1991 interview of Edward Witten. I had mixed feelings when reading this. On the one hand, Horgan was doing something truly remarkable, challenging Witten … Continue reading

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Planck: It’s Just Dust

The Planck paper with results on dust in the BICEP2 patch of sky is now out, see here. I’m sure experts will weigh in soon and I’ll link to such discussions, but my non-expert take is that Planck is saying … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 36 Comments

Quantum Field Theory: Past, Present and Future

Video is now available of David Gross’s colloquium this past week at NYU, which had the title Quantum Field Theory: Past, Present and Future. It’s quite interesting to compare his current point of view to that of ten years ago. … Continue reading

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Job Action at the Journal of K-theory

Back in 2007 I wrote here several times (see for example here and here) about the story of the resignation of the editorial board of the Springer journal K-theory in favor of a journal published by Cambridge, called the Journal … Continue reading

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Various and Sundry

The MacArthur Foundation today announced “Genius” grants of $625,000 to 21 people, including two mathematicians, Jacob Lurie and Yitang Zhang. While there was a time these awards often went to mathematicians and theoretical physicists (the 1987 winners included string theorists … Continue reading

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Well worth reading is High Energy Colliding Beams; What Is Their Future, by Burton Richter. Richter is one of the pioneers of designing and building colliders, and he starts off by recounting some of the history. About proposals for a … Continue reading

Posted in Langlands | 21 Comments


The LHC long shutdown (LS1) seems to be progressing on schedule, with physics collisions at 13 TeV planned for early April 2015. I’d guess the earliest 13 TeV results might appear at the summer 2015 conferences. The long term plan … Continue reading

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Use the Moment Map, not Noether’s Theorem

For a fourth provocative slogan about quantum mechanics I’ve chosen: Use the moment map, not Noether’s Theorem. Pretty much every physics textbook these days explains the way symmetry principles work as: Start with an action functional, invariant under a Lie … Continue reading

Posted in Quantum Mechanics | 25 Comments