Some news from all over:
- The problem with a short in the LHC seems to have been resolved (one can follow progress here), looks like they’ll be ready to inject a beam in a few days. Also looks like they’re not likely to spend their Easter Sunday doing this, so, maybe it will be next Monday?
- Cambridge has finally gotten around to choosing a new Lucasian professor (the last two were Michael Green and Stephen Hawking). Michael Cates will take the position July 1.
- Grothendieck’s death last year was sad to hear about, but a positive result is that the Grothendieck Circle is back in the business of making available resources concerning his work. There’s a comment at the top of the website that
With the agreement of Grothendieck’s family, the work of the Circle to bring Grothendieck’s unique story and writings to the public has resumed.
- There was a workshop this past month devoted to Mochizuki’s work, but I haven’t found anyone who knows what happened there. Minhyong Kim has taken to trying to write about Mochizuki’s ideas on MathOverflow, see here.
- The Toronto Star has a long article about Langlands.
- At the KITP this week a new program on quantum gravity is starting. This month’s Scientific American has a Joe Polchinski cover story on Burning Rings of Fire. Maybe some of the KITP talks will be enlightening, but the small amount of time I’ve spent trying to follow the past two years of debate on this has just left me mystified, struggling to see how the very general framework people seem to be working in can possibly lead to a resolution of the questions they’re concerned with.
- Frank Wilczek has a speculative article about Physics in 100 years. A commenter here suggests comparing it to Wilczek’s version of nearly fifteen years ago. The last fifteen years have not been kind to Wilczek’s hopes for vindication of SUSY or SUSY GUTs, but he’s not giving up yet. It will be interesting to see what his reaction will be if the next fifteen years are equally discouraging.
I do very much like one thing in the new version, the section about possible unification of ideas of quantization and of symmetry, where he speculates:
Quantization and fundamental symmetry will not appear as separate principles, but as two aspects of a deeper unity.
That’s pretty much one of the main motivations of the book I’m writing (see here).
Update: There are rumors going around tonight that there’s been a hoax perpetrated on the arXiv, something like the Sokal hoax. This has to do with an hep-th posting entitled Riding Gravity Away from Doomsday, which has appeared under the name of a very prominent string theorist, Ashoke Sen, winner of the $3 million Milner Fundamental Physics Prize. What I’m hearing is that no one can believe that Sen could possibly have seriously written something this silly, so it must be some sort of hoax. Speculation is that the hoax could have been carried out to make the hep-th moderators look bad, by showing that they’ll agree to anything, no matter how absurd, if it invokes the Landscape and the multiverse. Some think that Sen’s account must have been hacked and then used to post the nonsense paper, others think that Sen himself is behind the hoax, having had enough of the Landscape business. I’ll update this as more information becomes available.
Update: At least some papers on the arXiv still are serious.
Update: Beams are back in the LHC, successfully circulated at 450 GeV on Easter Sunday (live blog here). Next step, ramp up to 6.5 TeV.