Category Archives: Uncategorized

The NSA, NIST and the AMS

Among the many disturbing aspects of the behavior of the NSA revealed by the Snowden documents, the most controversial one directly relevant to mathematicians was the story of the NSA’s involvement in a flawed NIST cryptography standard (for more see … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

String Theory and Post-Empiricism

Note: This is being published simultaneously here and at Scientia Salon. Discussion will be at the Scientia Salon site. Last month’s Strings 2014 conference in Princeton included two remarkable talks by prominent physicists, both of whom invoked philosophy in a … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quick Links

Jim Simons is profiled in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, the New York Times today. The WSJ piece is partly about a recent $50 million donation to the Simons Center for Quantitative Biology at Cold Spring Harbor, but it reports … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Pierre van Baal 1955-2013

I only recently heard about the death late last year of Dutch particle theorist Pierre van Baal. Pierre was my office mate when we were both postdocs at Stony Brook during the mid-eighties, and he was one of the people … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

2015 Breakthrough Prizes in Mathematics

The first set of winners of the $3 million Milner/Zuckerberg financed Breakthrough Prizes in mathematics was announced today: it’s Donaldson, Kontsevich, Lurie, Tao and Taylor. There’s a good New York Times story here. When these prizes were first announced last … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 24 Comments

Smoking Gun No Longer Smoking

The BICEP2 paper is now out in Physical Review Letters, with major revisions to its conclusions from the preprint/press conference version of last March. For another sort of associated revision, compare this (from a March 17 Stanford press release): Linde, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 47 Comments

Large Hadron Collider Physics Conference

While I was away last week Columbia was hosting the Large Hadron Collider Physics (LHCP) conference here on campus. Talks are available here. Matt Strassler posts about some of the new Higgs results, which basically see some of the inconsistencies … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Evidence in the Natural Sciences

I recently spent a day at the Simons Foundation in midtown, attending a symposium on Evidence in the Natural Sciences. Of the scientific program talks, I got the most out of the one by Thomas Hales on the question of … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Past the End of Science

I haven’t yet seen a copy of Marcelo Gleiser’s new book, but this weekend the Wall Street Journal had a review by John Gribbin, author of the 2009 multiverse-promotional effort In Search of the Multiverse. I don’t know how Gleiser … Continue reading

Posted in Multiverse Mania, Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Quick Links

Just returned from a few days in Boston, will try and catch up here on various topics: This past week I was able to attend some of the talks at the conference in honor of David Vogan’s 60th birthday. I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Langlands, Multiverse Mania, Uncategorized | 9 Comments