Pretty much everybody in the math community seems to be getting a blog. Many of the new bloggers are quite good research mathematicians (including even some Fields Medalists). Two very new ones are:
Secret Blogging Seminar: Named after a “Secret Russian Seminar” at Berkeley, a group blog of several ex- and current Berkeley math graduate students (Ben Webster, A.J. Tolland, Scott Morrison, Noah Snyder and David Speyer)
A few things I learned from the Secret Blogging Seminar postings and following associated links:
The Microsoft Research group at UCSB working on “topological quantum computation” is now known as Station Q, and has a web-site.
Googling “Secret Russian Seminar” led to the web-site of Scott Carnahan, a student of Richard Borcherds who will be a postdoc at MIT this fall. Carnahan has some interesting sets of notes there, including notes from Borcherds’ 2004 course on QFT. Back in 2001, Borcherds had taught an earlier version of this course, and notes taken by Alex Barnard are available. According to Carnahan, Borcherds began the 2004 course with the comment:
Some of you might remember I gave a class a few years ago on the standard model. It ran into a few technical problems, the main one being the fact that I didn’t know what I was talking about. I’ve learned a thing or two since then, and I’m going to try again.
I’ve finally been making some progress in understanding some mathematics associated to BRST; if this keeps making sense I hope to get something written about it this summer. I recently noticed that the pretty much incoherent Wikipedia entry on the BRST formalism, has been joined by another incoherent one on BRST quantization. Both entries contain the warning at the top “This article or section may be confusing or unclear for some readers”, which is an understatement.
A new issue of Symmetry Magazine is out, and it contains a report on the recent string theory debate in Washington between Brian Greene and Lawrence Krauss. An editorial noted how amazing it is that this sort of thing drew 600 people willing to pay $25. There’s lots of interest out there in fundamental physics in general, and this controversy in particular.
Can’t remember where I saw this earlier today, but there’s a famous quotation I hadn’t heard before from economist John Kenneth Galbraith which seems to apply well to the current situation in string theory:
Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.
Update: One more. Adrian Cho at Science Magazine has an article about the debate going on over how long to run the Tevatron. The chair of the P5 panel is saying that they will recommend running through 2009, but that “It would take some unusual circumstances to justify running beyond 2009.” But, if the LHC takes longer to get working correctly than planned (there’s a history of this with new accelerators), and Tommaso’s Dorigo’s rumors of sightings of a Higgs at the Tevatron ever start to firm up, it’s going to be hard to justify starting to tear the machine down…
Update: Yet one more about math blogging. Lieven le Bruyn has changed his blog from NeverEndingBooks to Moonshine Math (also known as NeverEndingBooks, v. 2). He begins with a wonderful blog posting about the j-function which explains one of my favorite remarkable facts about numbers: