- The Smithsonian has a long article about Lisa Randall here.
- The Wall Street Journal has a shorter article about Randall’s high school classmate Brian Greene here. Brian’s World Science Festival will start here in New York on Wednesday.
- I’ll probably skip the World Science Festival in favor of an event at the CUNY Graduate Center: a conference on the work of Jim Simons, in honor of his 75th birthday. The conference will start off Tuesday morning with talks by Witten and Deligne (for a recent piece about Deligne and the Weil conjectures by Ed Frenkel, see here)
- One of many worthwhile things funded by Simons is Simons Science News, which now carries some of the best science journalism around. There’s a new interview with David Gross, who talks about the way QFT overcame those who wanted to do away with it in the sixties. About string theory:
String theory is not as revolutionary as we once hoped. Its principles are not new: They are the principles of quantum mechanics. String theory is part and parcel of quantum field theory.
About the multiverse:
There are frustrating theoretical problems in quantum field theory that demand solutions, but the string theory “landscape” of 10500 solutions does not make sense to me. Neither does the multiverse concept or the anthropic principle, which purport to explain why our particular universe has certain physical parameters. These models presume that we are stuck, conceptually.
About the current situation “Sometimes, he says, science is just plain stuck until new data, or a revolutionary idea, busts the status quo.”
The latest article at Simons is one by Natalie Wolchover, who was at the same Nima Arkani-Hamed talk I recently attended. See her take here, mine here. Will write yet again about “naturalness” and some of the content of this article in a separate posting.
- For the state of SUSY, and particle physics in general, check out recent talks here, especially Matt Reece’s SUSY theory overview. I think a fair description of the current state of affairs is that the only SUSY theories standing are either “fine-tuned” (removing the main argument of LHC-scale SUSY), or highly contrived (e.g. by going beyond the MSSM in various ways to escape LHC negative results). For the latest experimental results about SUSY, watch for this CMS talk on Tuesday.
- For the latest in speculative theorizing about HEP and cosmology, see this past week’s Planck 2013 conference.
Quantum Theory, Groups and Representations
Not Even Wrong: The Book
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