Yet More Links

  • From commenter Clark here, news that Mochizuki has acknowledged that the problem pointed out by Vesselin Dmitrov with his proof of the abc conjecture on MathOverflow is a real one, but claims that the argument can be fixed, with fixes that he explains here. He is preparing updated versions of the papers containing flaws.
  • As new negative results about SUSY keep coming in, Nanopoulos et al. issue new “predictions” of a SUSY signal just around the corner. In light of this from ATLAS, here’s an updated list of “best fits” for SUSY (first posted here)

    arXiv:1007.5100 455 GeV (“Golden Point”)
    arXiv:1009.2981 455-481 GeV (“Golden Strip”)
    arXiv:1111.0236 512 GeV (“Universe F-U2”)
    arXiv:1111.4204 518 GeV (“Profumo di SUSY”)
    arXiv:1203.1918 610 GeV (“Aroma of Stops and Gluinos”)
    arXiv:1205.3052 708 GeV (“The Sweet Fragrance of SUSY”)
    arXiv:1210.3011 756 GeV (“Primordial Synthesis”)

    The authors have stopped going on about how this all smells, but now are acknowledging help from Tommaso Dorigo (see here).

  • Tomorrow at Boston University there will be a conference on quantum gravity, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the First Osgood Hill Conference on Quantum Gravity.
  • The Higgs continues to get lots of positive media attention. This week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory was called The Higgs Boson Observation, and features lots of Higgs-related things on the blackboards.

    At the IAS in Princeton, Yuri Milner’s multi-million-dollar men are giving public talks about the Higgs. Last week was Juan Maldacena on The Symmetry and Simplicity of the Laws of Nature and the Higgs Boson, next week it will be Nima Arkani-Hamed on The Inevitability of Physical Laws: Why the Higgs Has to Exist. At some point these talks may appear here.

  • On Friday the Templeton Foundation handed out $5.6 million as part of its New Frontiers in Astronomy and Cosmology competition, some to students for writing essays, most of it to physicists and astronomers, many of whom promise to find ways of testing the Multiverse (grant winners are here). Intriguingly, David Spergel is not just “testing” the Multiverse, but “detecting or falsifying” it, I wonder what that’s about.
  • Lots of self-examination going on in the US HEP community about what to do post-Higgs discovery. Argonne had an HEP Higgs Retreat (no slides for “SUSY is Dead?” it seems). The past few days at Fermilab there was a DPF Community Planning Meeting, organizing activities to lead up to next summer’s “Snowmass” Community Study, to be held in Minneapolis. What’s long overdue but unlikely to happen would be a US Community Study of the implications of the SUSY/string theory fiasco for HEP theory.
  • The Calculus of Love is a short film with a math theme involving the Goldbach conjecture.
  • For a debate about Pythagoreanism, the idea that math is the key to the universe, see here. An interesting debate, but maybe they should have had some mathematicians involved…
  • Last week I was up in Boston and went to some of the talks at a conference in honor of Daniel Quillen, who passed away last year. Quillen’s remarkable and influential work was at the boundary of topology and algebra, in particular he was largely responsible for discovering how to properly define algebraic K-theory. An early version was distributed of material about Quillen that will appear in the November Notices of the AMS, including a long explanation by Graeme Segal of the high points of Quillen’s mathematical contributions (Note added: this is now available here). I found the talks by Segal and Hopkins both inspiring and baffling, with Hopkins in particular starting off slow and comprehensible, but reaching escape velocity by the time he got around to what sounds like an exciting new result about the Brauer group in the context of stable homotopy theory. This is joint work with Lurie and Lieblich, but you’re going to have to find someone other than me to explain it to you.
    This coming week I’ll be in Toronto for the Fields Medal Symposium, which will cover all things Langlands. The opening public lectures will be live-cast, see here.
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6 Responses to Yet More Links

  1. Shantanu says:

    Peter, I didn’t see you report anything about the talks from Stephen Hawking’s 70th birthday symposium earlier this year (unless I missed them) There are a few talks on string theory there.

  2. Peter Woit says:

    Thanks Shantanu, somehow I missed that one…

  3. thomas says:

    f a li and a maxin and a walker and a nanopoulos

    Total number of papers analyzed: 26

    Total number of citations: 356

    excluding self cites: 67

  4. Mathematicians (mathimatikoi – learners) are the descendents of a pythagorean sect. However, the present situation is complex: most mathematicians don’t care much about philosophy, most philosophers are mathematically blind, hence somewhat clueless concerning pythagoreanism, with physicists in the middle position.

    There are exceptions. Here is a cite by Bateson (“Form, substance and difference”, 1970):

    “In this history, there has been a sort of rough dichotomy and often deep controversy. There has been a violent enmity and bloodshed. It all starts, I suppose, with the Pythagoreans versus their predecessors, and the argument took the shape of “Do you ask what it’s made of – earth, fi re, water, etc?” Or do you ask “What is its pattern?” Pythagoras stood for inquiry into pattern rather than inquiry into substance. That controversy has gone through the ages, and the Pythagorean half of it has, until recently, been on the whole submerged half.”

  5. paddy says:

    Well said. And their latest article reads like gobbledigook. Any paper that elicits “bayesian priors” when considering the “truth” of its ascertion is pathetic.

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