A group called Thales and Friends, based in Greece and sponsored by MSRI, has organized a recent conference about Mathematics and Narrative that took place last month on Mykonos. Their web-site has abstracts of the talks and some other interesting material.

**Update**: There’s an article about this in the Independent.

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Hi Peter,

Re: Mathematics generally: on my web site I say something to the effect that String theory belongs in the mathematics department (rather than physics). Obviously this is not the first time anyone has said this, but I am not confident about saying this: you have suggested on at least one occasion in the past that the study does not belong here either. Could you elaborate?

Hi Chris,

There are some parts of string theory, e.g. mirror symmetry, topological strings, conformal field theory, which could reasonably be characterized as mathematics. The people working on these subjects might even benefit from being in a math dept. There are many others though that certainly aren’t mathematics. Some of these are perfectly good physics (e.g. AdS/CFT), others aren’t even really physics at all (landscape studies), and there are some where you could argue about whether they’re physics or not (string phenomenology, string cosmology, etc.), but they’re certainly not mathematics.

The meeting is reported in a 2 page article in this week’s edition of the journal Nature (4 August).