Busy Week

There should be lots of breaking news this upcoming week, sometimes with real-time webcasts for those that want to follow along:

  • Planck data release on Thursday the 21st. Media briefing in Paris will be at 10am local time, see here. In the US, NASA will host a press conference at 11am EDT, see here.

    The night before here in New York at 7:30 pm (watch here) two journalists and three leading cosmology theorists will be discussing the emergence of the universe or multiverse from nothing. Perhaps someone will ask them what this theoretical work implies in terms of predictions for the new results to come out the next day.

  • On March 20th at noon in Norway, the winner of the 2013 Abel Prize in Mathematics will be announced here. This is a prize of about $1 million, set up in 2002 to be an equivalent of a Nobel prize in mathematics. They seem to like to give this one to people from the Courant Institute here in New York.
  • I’m wondering what’s up with the Templeton Prize, a $1.66 million dollar prize normally awarded each year in March. Haven’t seen any announcements, but perhaps this will also happen this week.
  • Finally, there’s Yuri Milner’s Fundamental Physics Prize, which at $3 million makes everyone else look like pikers. Last December, the news was that the award would be announced at a ceremony at CERN on March 20. Candidates for the prize are a group of three condensed matter physicists, string theorist Joe Polchinski of UCSB, and string theorist Alexander Polyakov of Princeton. With the decision being made by a group of previous winners largely consisting of string theorists from Princeton, if I had to guess the winner, I’d go with the string theorist from Princeton. Coincidentally or not, Polyakov is scheduled to give the String Theory Seminar at CERN on March 20, on the topic of Sensitive, unstable and turbulent vacua.

Update: The Fundamental Physics Prize announcement will be Wednesday at 8pm, live webcast here. The IAS faculty will be there in force, with TH String Theory Seminars scheduled for Arkani-Hamed and Witten on Tuesday, Seiberg on Thursday.

Update: The Templeton Prize will be announce April 4, see here.

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10 Responses to Busy Week

  1. Deane says:

    It seems unlikely that they would award it to anyone from Courant this year, since the committee met and made their decision *at* Courant. It would look really funny if they picked someone from Courant. Of course, it’s already amazing that they’ve already chosen three from Courant. And, if you ask me, Louis Nirenberg easily deserves one.

  2. Peter Woit says:


    I think you’re probably right. On the other hand, while it would look kind of funny for a group of Princeton string theorists to award the prize to a Princeton string theorist, I’m not betting against that…

  3. Pi says:

    I hope John Conway gets the Abel for this year.
    And also I found this recent article in guardian about SUSY interesting:

  4. hu says:

    What happened with AMS-02 results? Haven’t heard anything since the announcement back in February.

  5. anon. says:

    string theorist Alexander Polyakov

    Surely Polyakov is, by any measure, one of the great quantum field theorists–or for that matter, theoretical physicists–of the last 50 years, even disregarding his work on string theory.

  6. Casey Leedom says:

    Obligatory Physics Related Comic:

    A: “I want you. By symmetry we can predict you want me.”
    Physicist: “That would simplify things …”


  7. Seth Thatcher says:

    I also have been patiently awaiting AMS-02 results

  8. Peter Woit says:

    Seth Thatcher,

    Well, the news this weekend from AMS-02 on twitter, see


    is that they really want to get to 3000 followers on twitter. Maybe that’s what they’re waiting for on the data release….

  9. DR says:

    the fundamental physics prize really should change its name to “the math in physics prize”. Since when a theorist with all works contradicted by the experiments can win a “physics” prize? Also, N=2 is not physics, how come it gets a physics prize???

  10. Peter Woit says:


    This isn’t a “math in physics prize”, most of the laureates (and all of the candidates this year) have not done important mathematics or mathematical physics (Kontsevich and Witten are the ones who really have). The prize is for “fundamental physics”, not mathematics.

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