These days one can just about attend a wide variety of summer conferences from the comfort of one’s home or office, with talks appearing online more or less immediately after they are given. This week some possibilities to consider are:
- The big yearly string theory conference, Strings 2013, is in Seoul this week with about 279 physicists in attendance, talks are available here. As usual for recent string theory conferences, there aren’t a lot of strings to be seen. Perhaps these yearly conferences should be renamed something like “Conference on the latest topics popular among people who used to do string theory”. No sign at all of the landscape or string theory unification. For some understanding of why, see Life at the Interface of Particle Physics and String Theory, to be published by Reviews of Modern Physics, which makes pretty clear why the organizers of Strings 20XX now want to avoid this topic.
- The 2013 Lepton Photon conference is in San Francisco this week, talks here. To mark the occasion, Gordon Watts and Jacques Distler have thrown in the towel, paying up on their bet with Tommaso Dorigo that the LHC would find SUSY or other “new physics”. Tommaso has the full story here.
- For the more philosophically minded, the Templeton Foundation is funding a summer institute on the Philosophy of Cosmology, and you can follow the talks here. If thinking about time is your thing and you’ve missed out on the free summer amongst the redwoods, there’s still time to get in line for Templeton funds, with a few days left to apply for grants here.
Update: To round out the list, I should have included something for the mathematical physicists, this week’s Symmetries in Mathematics and Physics conference in Rio. Videos of the talks are appearing here.
Update: Jacques Distler has a posting here (or guest post here) conceding the loss of his bet with Tommaso Dorigo. Unlike some other theorists (e.g. John Ellis) who are arguing that everything’s fine, one just has to wait until 2015-6 for the higher energy LHC run, Distler is more of a realist:
…would I be willing to bet on the 2015 LHC run uncovering new BSM physics?
The answer, I think, is: not unless you were willing to give me some substantial odds (at least 5–1; if I think about it, maybe even higher).
Knowing the mass of the Higgs (∼125GeV) rules out huge swaths of BSM ideas. Seeing absolutely nothing in the 7 and 8 TeV data (not even the sort of 2-3σ deviations that, while not sufficient to claim a “discovery,” might at least serve as tantalizing hints of things to come) disfavours even more.
The probability (in my Bayesian estimation) that the LHC will discover BSM physics has gone from fairly likely (as witnessed by my previous willingness to take even-odds) to rather unlikely. N.B.: that’s not quite the same thing as saying that there’s no BSM physics at these energies; rather that, if it’s there, the LHC won’t be able to see it (at least, not without accumulating many years worth of data).