HEPAP is meeting in Washington today, talks starting to become available here. Things are very different now than in past years, with huge budget increases for all areas of HEP at the NSF and DOE.

FQXI has awarded quite a few mini-grants, the list is here. They also have a new essay contest, on the topic What is possible and impossible in physics?

Some worthwhile expository mathematics pieces:

Motives—Grothendieck’s Dream

The Theory of Witt Vectors

At least one mathematician is a viscount and has a coat of arms.

Witten has a new paper on the arxiv entitled Geometric Langlands From Six Dimensions, an expository account of a rather special 6d superconformal theory and how its existence implies SL(2,Z) symmetry of N=4 SYM, and thus duality in geometric Langlands theory. He remarks that there isn’t a widely used name for this theory, calling it the “six-dimensional (0,2) model of type G”.

This week there’s a workshop on Topological Field Theories going on at Northwestern, with David Ben-Zvi lecturing on *Topological Field Theory, Loop Spaces and Representation Theory*. I hope he’ll soon follow his standard practice of putting notes up on his web-site.

Tomorrow I’ll head up to Cambridge for the weekend, to visit my brother and his family and to attend the Perspectives in Mathematics and Physics conference being held in honor of Is Singer’s 85th birthday.

**Update**: Notes from the Northwestern workshop are available here (from Evan Jenkins) and here (from Alex Hoffnung).

**Update**: David Ben-Zvi has posted notes from his talk and some others at the Northwestern workshop here.

I’ve been putting up handwritten notes for the Northwestern TFT workshop here. Should my handwriting prove unbearable, Alex Hoffnung has been typing notes, which are available (albeit currently without drawings of pairs of pants and the like) here. Someone has also been recording audio, but I’m not sure how good the quality is or when it will be made available.

Thanks Evan, that’s great.

To maintain your reputation for being fair and balanced you might want to add the following to your description of the (0,2) theory.

“Until relatively recently, it was believed that four was the maximum dimension for nontrivial (nonlinear or non-Gaussian) quantum ﬁeld theory. One of the surprising developments coming from string theory is that nontrivial quantum ﬁeld theories exist up to (at least) six dimensions. “

J. Freese in a rather technical article on predictive promiscuity in deductive applications has named “vampirical hypotheses” those which can not be killed by mere evidence.

The phenomenon extends beyond string theory.

Regarding notes from the TFT workshop, several people are working on some version of notes/reports from the Lurie and Ben-Zvi lectures in a more expository form than they currently exist (also with pictures). I hope to have these up soon.

You may interested in the thesis of Patrick Costello (here) which just appeared on the ArXiv regarding the mathematical aspects of quantum BRST. Its focus is on the functional analytic aspects of current quantum BRST-methods, in particular the Kugo-Ojima approach (although there is also some analysis of the Hamiltonian approach).

Thanks Hendrik

That’s very interesting. There clearly are a lot of remaining mysteries in the BRST story…

Dr. Abhay Ashtekar’s 60th birthday conference ‘Abheyfest 2009’ is next weekend. Anyone attending?