Yesterday Sean Carroll and I appeared on the BBC Radio 4 program The Material World, in a segment on String theory – knot good enough?, about the controversy over string theory. The segment started with a piece from the play Humble Boy by Charlotte Jones, in which the main character is working on string theory. I don’t think anything either of us said was particularly controversial or would be in any way surprising to a regular reader of either of our blogs. The same program had a segment on the multiverse three weeks ago.
Some more titles of talks at next week’s Strings 07 have appeared. Witten’s talk is entitled “Three-Dimensional Gravity Revisited” and presumably will be about the new ideas described here. So, at least one talk there will be about a non-string theory approach to quantum gravity more along the lines of the LQG program. The schedule doesn’t seem to include any discussion session like the one at Strings 05 where the audience voted against the anthropic landscape.
A competing conference to Strings 07, Loops 07 will be taking place at the same time next week, but in Mexico, not Madrid. It’s much smaller, with less than a third as many participants. There will be one plenary talk on string theory, Moshe Roszali speaking on “Background Independence in String Theory”.
As the hunt for the Higgs is heating up at Fermilab, and CERN has officially announced the delay of LHC startup until next May, there’s a group of filmmakers who may be well-positioned if something exciting is found at the Tevatron. For the last few years 137 Films has been making a film to be called The Atom Smashers, following scientists working at FNAL. Filmmaker Clayton Brown is keeping a blog about this.
My personal guess based on our work on the weak gravity conjecture is that the black hole bound is also satisfied in string theory for localized macroscopic objects, up to small corrections. This belief of mine is supported by the observation that Gimon & Hořava don’t have any explicit solution for their “superspinar”.