Since it’s summer, lots of conferences going on:
The Institute in Princeton has its usual summer program designed to train graduate students and postdocs in string theory. The schedule and lecture notes are here.
On the opposite coast, with an opposite point of view about particle physics, there’s the SLAC Summer Institute, which is on LHC physics. The program and lecture notes are here. One of the organizers, JoAnne Hewett, has a posting about this at Cosmic Variance.
Last weekend there was a conference entitled Under the Spell of Physics, in honor of ‘t Hooft’s 60th birthday. Many of the talks sound interesting; here’s the program, but unfortunately the talks are not online. From what I hear ‘t Hooft remains quite skeptical about string theory, Polyakov said that current ideas about how to apply string theory to nature are wrong, and the lack of progress in fundamental theory was a concern of many of the participants.
I’ve been thinking a lot about BRST recently, and happened to run across the Wikipedia entry for BRST Formalism. The entry had something I hadn’t seen before, a banner announcing that “This article or section may be confusing or unclear for some readers, and should be edited to rectify this”, and that the attention of an expert and a complete rewrite was needed. I have to say that I feel that way about most of the literature on BRST…
Soon to appear in the AMS Bulletin is an article by Sinai entitled Mathematicians and Physicists = Cats and Dogs?
The Cao-Zhu paper with a proof of Poincare/Geometrization is now out in paper copies of the Asian Journal of Mathematics, but still is not on the journal’s web-site. I hear that someone who called them to ask about this was told that they’re trying to make some money by selling the paper copies of this particular issue. Many libraries are now only paying for on-line access to journals like this, not sure what happens in this case. Today’s Wall Street Journal had an article by Sharon Begley about the Poincare proof story.
Jim Weatherall, who was recently a physics student at Harvard, now works at the Center for Science Writings at Stevens with John Horgan. He has a web-site, which includes his paper on Effective Field Theories and the Pragmatics of Explanation.
FQXI was supposed to announce the winners of its Templeton-funded grants this past weekend, but still nothing on their web-site. It will be interesting to see what their choices are for fundamental research in physics that is not being supported by the usual channels.
Update: The FQXI web-site now says they’ll be publicly announcing grants on Monday, July 31.