Well, no, I’m not going to start putting up here the really interesting gossip that people tell me. If I did so they’d stop telling me such things.
The Theoretical Particle Physics Jobs Rumor Mill has moved yet again. First it was hosted at the University of Washington, then the College of William and Mary, now it’s at UC Davis. No idea why it moved this last time, but earlier this year some gossip told me the entertaining story of why it was booted out of Washington. To be honest, I’ve now completely forgotten all the details, so even if I wanted to violate their confidence, I couldn’t.
The new Rumor Mill site confirms previous gossip I had heard that shows UC Santa Barbara having great success in hiring people in mathematical physics. Is Singer has been a regular visitor there in recent years, spending part of the year in Santa Barbara, part at MIT. This year they’ve hired two very good people: Dave Morrison and Sergei Gukov. Morrison has a mathematics background (algebraic geometry), and Gukov was educated as a physicist (a student of Witten’s), but they both do interesting things at the interface of the two subjects.
Also at UCSB, Michael Freedman has moved his Microsoft Research group down from Redmond, and it is now temporarily in residence at the KITP, waiting to move into offices in the building next door when it is finished and will house the California Nanosystems Institute. Freedman is a topologist and Fields medalist, who was hired away from UC San Diego by my ex-grad school roommate Nathan Myhrvold when he was running Microsoft Research. From what I remember, at the time Nathan told me some mildly entertaining gossip about this, but, again, I’ve forgotten the details, so can’t violate his confidence even if I wanted to.
Also on the move is John Horgan’s blog. His Scientific Curmudgeon blog is being shut down, re-opened as a blog hosted by Discover magazine (which has its own blog). The new blog is called Horganism, and he has some advice which I don’t endorse for would-be scientists;
Also, don’t go into particle physics! Especially don’t waste your time on string theory, or loop-space theory, or multi-universe theories, or any of the other pseudo-scientific crap in physics and cosmology that we science journalists love so much.
Seed magazine has some interesting new articles: one by mathematician Jordan Ellenberg about Fields Medalist and MacArthur winner Terry Tao, another by Joshua Roebke about Jim Simons and his Math for America project, the inspiration for which came over a poker game (OK, it was a poker game to raise money for charity).
The Cern Council Strategy Group has put out a briefing book that gives an excellent survey of the prospects for particle physics and particle physics experiments, especially in Europe, during the new few decades. Very much worth reading.