- On the LHC front, new results will be announced at the Hadron Collider Physics Symposium in Kyoto, which opens November 12. Jester has a good summary of what to look for on the Higgs front here. The new results should be based on about 12-13 fb-1 of 2012 8 TeV data (this past summer’s used about 5 fb-1 each of 2011 7 TeV data and 2012 8 TeV data). Unblinding of the results should have taken place recently, so soon about 6000 physicists will know what the news is and start talking about it…
- The latest Scientific American has a cover story about particle physics that comes under the “This Week’s Hype” heading. It’s called “The Inner Life of Quarks” and discusses models in which quarks and other elementary particles of the standard model are composites of more elementary objects called “preons”. The fact that the papers on the subject it refers to are from 1979 should make one suspicious: an idea that hasn’t had major developments in 33 years is a dead idea. Besides the overwhelming experimental evidence against preons (with the LHC bringing in many new much stronger negative results), the idea has huge inherent problems. The main issue is that one is trying to put together composites with masses as small as MeVs (or lower, if you try to do this with neutrinos) while the data says that things are point-like up to TeV scales, with just the forces you know about up to such scales.
- For the latest on Paul Frampton’s troubles as the victim of a scam that has left him in an Argentine jail, see this article entitled Imprisoned UNC professor thinks he deserves a raise. I’m assuming this was before his trip to South America, but at some point Frampton clearly did some extensive research, comparing his salary ($107K) to those of some of his illustrious peers ($203K-$532K according to him, just using data from public universities). Not clear though that this was really something to bring up in his argument about whether the university should still pay him even if he’s in jail.
- I only recently heard the old news that Fields Medalist Vaughan Jones has left Berkeley to take a job at Vanderbilt University. Evidently one reason for doing this was a salary number of the sort that Frampton covets.
- Freeman Dyson has a piece in the New York Review of Books about Jim Holt’s new book Why Does the World Exist (see my take here). Not much in the review actually about Holt’s book, but Dyson takes the opportunity to enter the ring in the fight over nothingness with some late blows aimed at the philosophers. He doesn’t think much of modern philosophy, ending with:
The great philosophers of the past wrote literary masterpieces such as the Book of Job and the Confessions of Saint Augustine. The latest masterpieces written by a philosopher were probably Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra in 1885 and Beyond Good and Evil in 1886. Modern departments of philosophy have no place for the mystical.
- I’m loathe to post anything about US politics here, since it’s a depressing and omnipresent topic these days, but for an HEP angle, see this in Science from Adrian Cho, and this in the NYRB from Steven Weinberg. Don’t even think though of posting comments about politics here…
- Greg Moore recently gave the Felix Klein lectures in Bonn on Applications of the six-dimensional (2,0) theory to physical mathematics . Video here, lecture notes here.
- This week at Stony Brook there’s a conference in honor of Blaine Lawson’s 70th birthday. Lawson is a great person and a wonderful geometer; I very much enjoyed getting to know him a little bit during my days as a physics postdoc at Stony Brook. He was one of several examples that convinced me that leaving physics for mathematics would at least promise hanging out with nicer people. I’ve been too busy this week to get out to Stony Brook, had formed a crazy plan to bike out there this weekend for Nigel Hitchin’s talk Sunday morning, but a nasty cold has put an end to that plan (Sunday’s weather prediction for an approaching hurricane might in any case have made a long bike trip not the best idea in the world). Videos of the talks are available here.
Happy Birthday Blaine!
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