Here are various things of interest that accumulated while I was away:
Last week there was a conference in Florence on the early history of string theory, some of the talks are available here.
Lots of blogging activity among Fields Medalists: there’s a lot worth reading in Terry Tao’s reporting on a series of lectures by Yau at UCLA here, here and here. At the blog of fellow Fields Medalist Alain Connes, there’s mention of on a recent conference at Vanderbilt (slides here), as well as a report from Connes about a recent conference on the philosphical ideas of Wolfgang Pauli. Finally, yet another Fields Medalist, Richard Borcherds, has a blog. Not only do Fields Medalists like to have blogs it seems, but they also like to use them to discuss physics…
Some other blogs I’ve run across include A Strange Universe, from gravitational wave physicist Warren Anderson, which includes his Dire Straits inspired Papers For Nothing. Also John Armstrong’s The Unapologetic Mathematician, which has a lot of expository material, and Julie Rehmeyer’s MathTrek, a blog at the Science News web-site.
Steven Weinberg has canceled a planned public talk at an event to be held in conjunction with PASCOS 2007 at Imperial College in London in July, an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Abdus Salam at Imperial. In a letter to Mike Duff (available here), Weinberg says that he is boycotting the event in response to news of a boycott of Israel by the British National Union of Journalists, due to his belief that there is no possible explanation of this other than widespread anti-Semitism in Britain “especially in the intellectual establishment” or “a desire to pander to the growing Muslim minority in Britain.” Note: any attempts to use mention of this news to justify attempts to carry on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the comment section of my blog will be ruthlessly suppressed.
As usual, Tommaso Dorigo is doing a great job of making current collider physics actually seem exciting and interesting. He’s now spreading rumors of a 4-5 sigma excess of multi-b-jet events being seen by D0. What does CDF data show? He’s keeping his mouth shut about that… Maybe there will be some excitement at the upcoming summer conferences…
There’s a new Harvard College magazine about math, run by undergraduates called The Harvard College Mathematics Review. The first issue contains an article by Noam Elkies about the abc conjecture, and one by Dennis Gaitsgory about how not to teach linear algebra.
I keep running across more and more web-sites of theory groups that are putting up material from their theory seminar talks. The latest is the HEFTI Seminar Archive at Davis.
Mike Hopkins gave a Distinguished Lecture Series in Toronto recently. Only audio from the talks is available on-line, and I can attest that forcing someone to try and follow a talk they are interested in like Mike’s The Topological WZW Space of Conformal Blocks just by listening to the audio without always being able to tell what he is writing on the board is just cruel.
Via the n-Category Cafe, notes from a recent conference in Kyoto on Link (also known as Khovanov) homology and categorification. Lots of interesting talks to read, but I’m especially fond of the abstract of Dror Bar-Natan’s talk, which begins:
I’m over forty, I’m a full professor, and it’s time that I come out of the closet. I don’t understand quantum groups and I never did.
Now I don’t feel so bad. Also, for inspiration, check out his Dream Map.
Update: A Chicago network news show has a recent segment about Fermilab and the hunt for the Higgs.
Update: The D0 rumor has made it to Slate.