There’s a conference going on in Jerusalem now on the topic of Particle Physics in the Age of the LHC. Some slides and other talk materials are here, video may start appearing here. Not clear when the “Age of the LHC” is; unfortunately we’re still a ways away from first collisions, even farther from new physics. Next year, starting in May, the KITP will be running a program on The First Year of the LHC, which may also be jumping the gun a bit, at least to the extent that the topic is LHC physics results. Last year’s LHC program, Physics of the Large Hadron Collider, has a web-site that still begins with the counter-factual “The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will begin operation by the end of 2007.”
Also next year, the KITP will be running another supposedly LHC-related program, entitled Strings at the LHC and in the Early Universe. I wonder what the KITP director thinks of this, since he’s on record as thinking it unlikely that the LHC will have anything to say about string theory. A much less dubious KITP program about string theory is the one starting today, with the title Fundamental Aspects of String Theory. This program focuses on the current lack of understanding of what string theory really is:
Over the last decade, string theory has seen important conceptual and technical advances on a host of long-standing problems involving non-pertur-bative and strongly-coupled physics. However, the fundamental ingredients of superstring theory and M-theory are still not well understood, and this five month program will be directed at these open questions.
The first week will be devoted to introductory talks about string field theory and the pure spinor formalism, two quite different attempts to give a new and different formulation of string theory.
Also starting today is the big annual meeting of the AMS, held this year in Washington, DC. One of the important features of this meeting is that many institutions, especially smaller ones, do their initial interviews for next year’s jobs at the meeting. This coming hiring season promises to be an exceptionally brutal one for job candidates, with financial problems leading to freezes and reduced hiring at many places. One resource for young mathematicians on the job market is the web-site of the Young Mathematicians Network.
There’s a new book coming out this month that I’m looking forward to reading, Graham Farmelo’s biography of Dirac, entitled The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius. Nature Physics has a review here.
This week’s Science Saturday featured John Horgan and George Johnson discussing the state of science journalism and what it has to do with blogging. As science journalists, they take exception to the point of view common among scientists that their job is just to try and accurately transmit to the public the claims being made by scientists.