The Tevatron last week passed the milestone of 10 inverse femtobarns of luminosity delivered to the experiments. That’s about 1.5 quadrillion collisions.
Presentations from the Simons Center Inaugural Conference, discussed here, are now on-line.
Luis Alvarez-Gaume and John Ellis discuss here the Higgs mechanism, its history and the question of who should get a Nobel prize if the Higgs particle is found There’s the usual attempt to cut Anderson out of the picture (for more see here), I gather this is payback for his opposition to the SSC.
[Note added: the "payback for his opposition to the SSC" remark was a very lame attempt at snarky humor. There's no reason to believe these authors had such a motivation. For one thing, while US particle physicists are often quite bitter about Anderson and the SSC, those who work at CERN like Alvarez-Gaume and Ellis are much less likely to feel this way.]
The Cambridge City Council has passed a resolution congratulating Yau and Nadis on the publication of their book about Calabi-Yaus, The Shape of Inner Space.
Barry Mazur and William Stein are working on a book entitled What is Riemann’s Hypothesis?, with a rough draft available here.
If you want to seriously learn algebraic geometry, maybe the best way would be to take Ravi Vakil’s Math 216 course on-line here. OK, I should have told you about this at the beginning of the semester, because if you start now you’ll be way behind. But, since it’s on-line, maybe that doesn’t matter. You could try and catch up…
There have been various recent claims to see evidence of pre-big bang physics in the CMB (see here and here), although the significance level of these results seems to be about that of the discovery of Stephen Hawking’s initials in the same data. Several preprints have already appeared criticizing the first of these claims, Sabine Hossenfelder deals with the second here. John Horgan blogs about this as “science faction” here, and discusses it with George Johnson here.
Mike Duff seems to now be deep in Lubosian territory, publishing a letter to New Scientist that accuses those who don’t accept the supposed “academic consensus of superstrings and M-theory” as being just like the crackpots and anti-Semites who refused to accept Einstein’s relativity back in the 20s. According to Duff, the explanation for criticism of string/M-theory is that:
when people don’t like what science tells them, they resort to conspiracy theories, mud-slinging and plausible pseudoscience.
Update: The America COMPETES Reauthorization has just passed the House and will go to the president to be signed, something no one expected to happen a week or so ago, more details about the legislation here. I gather that it authorizes 5 to 7% increases for science agencies. Problem is that these are not the actual appropriations, which are still up in the air, awaiting action next year by the next Congress. But this does indicate that there is bipartisan willingness to at least pay lip service to protecting the research and development part of the budget.
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