- At HEP blogs you should be reading already, there’s Tommaso Dorigo on 5 sigma (with more promised to come), and Jester on the lack of a definite BSM energy scale. Jester puts his finger on the big problem facing HEP physics. In the past new machines could be justified since we could point to new phenomena that pretty much had to turn up in the energy range being opened up by the machine (Ws and Zs at the SPS, the top at the Tevatron, the Higgs at the LHC). Now though, there’s nothing definite to point to as likely to show up at the energy scale of a plausible next machine. Jester includes a graphic from a recent Savas Dimopoulos talk characterizing the current situation in terms of chickens running around with their heads cut off, which seems about right.
- The black hole information paradox has been around for nearly forty years, with the story 10 years ago that it supposedly had been resolved by AdS/CFT and string theory. For the past year or so arguments have been raging about “firewalls” and a version 2.0 of the paradox, which evidently now is not resolved by AdS/CFT and string theory. I couldn’t tell if there was much to this argument, but the fact that there’s a Lubos rant about how it’s all nonsense made me think maybe there really is something to it. As usual though, my interest in quantum gravity questions that have nothing to say about unification is limited. For those with more interest in this, I’ll just point to today’s big article in the New York Times, and next week’s workshop at KITP where the latest iterations will get hashed out. For more on the challenge this argument poses to the idea that AdS/CFT gives a consistent picture of quantum gravity, see this recent talk by Polchinski.
- For another challenge to orthodoxy from someone at UCSB, Don Marolf has a new preprint out arguing that strings are not needed to understand holography:
Stringy bulk degrees of freedom are not required and play little role even when they exist.
Quantum Theory, Groups and Representations
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