Last week David Gross was in New Mexico, giving an “unclassified talk” at Los Alamos, and one on The State of String Theory at the Santa Fe Institute. There’s a report on the Los Alamos talk from the Los Alamos Monitor, entitled Loose Strings: Pressure mounts to tie string theory to the real world. Unfortunately, pressure to tie string theory to the real world leads sometimes to reporters getting misled about such ties, since the article includes the information that:
Located on the border of France and Switzerland, the LHC’s headline tasks include the potential discovery of a Higgs boson, a relatively massive particle known as “the god particle,” that would help explain how other particles have mass. Proof of its existence would tend to support string theory, according to the theorists.
Hermann Nicolai has an article in a recent issue of Nature entitled Back to Basics, on a more promising idea for tying string theory to the real world, one that has nothing to do with using string theory as an idea about unification. He reports on recent progress towards getting an exact solution of N=4 SSYM, allowing one to test whether it really is dual to a string theory.
According to a blog posting on Superstring Theory and the End of Man, we better hope that superstring theory doesn’t connect to the real world, because if it does, a combination of the Anthropic Principle and the Doomsday Argument would show that humanity doesn’t have much time left. The author expresses the opinion that mankind better hope that I am right about string theory, an opinion I endorse even if I disagree with his logic.
Finally, on a completely unrelated note, the latest issue of Symmetry magazine is out, featuring the results of a reader’s contest to invent new particles. Third place goes to Jacobo Konigsberg, the spokesperson for CDF, who postulates the blogino, which he describes as
Particles created by non-abelian Blog-Blog interactions. Bloginos typically are produced in a very excited state and with a high degree of spin. Even though all their properties have not yet been determined, it is commonly agreed that they exhibit considerable truthiness. They also have the annoying ability to propagate into extra dimensions, away from the blogosphere, and generate lots of phone calls.
Update: Lubos has a link to a Youtube video of a version of this talk by Gross that he gave in Berkeley on October 19, together with commentary. It appears to me essentially the same talk that Gross gave here in New York three and a half years ago, which I wrote about in my first real blog posting here. It is striking to note how little has changed in this field during this period.