- The 2016 LHC proton-proton run is now over, with delivered (41.07 CMS/38.4 ATLAS) and recorded (37.82 CMS/35.5 ATLAS) luminosities (in inverse fb) far above the goal for this year of 25. Together with last year’s data, the experiments now have 41.63 (CMS) and 39.4 (ATLAS) inverse fb recorded at 13 TeV, close to the LHC design energy of 14 TeV. It is likely that preliminary results will be reported at an “end-of-year jamboree” in mid-December, with more to come at the winter conferences.
I’d guess that these new results will see improved bounds on SUSY particles, and that David Gross and Lubos Motl will have to pay off their long-standing bets that the LHC would find SUSY (Gross’s bet with Ken Lane is here, it says 50 inverse fb of LHC data, sum of CMS and ATLAS now about 80). Unfortunately, I’m afraid that losing these bets won’t affect their devotion to SUSY.
- Paul Steinhardt gave a colloquium at Fermilab last month with the title Simply Wrong vs. Simple. In it he explained “why the big bang inflationary picture fails as a scientific theory” (it doesn’t work as promised, is not self-consistent and not falsifiable). This is a complicated topic, but Steinhardt is an expert and one of the originators of the theory, so if you want to understand the problems of some common arguments for inflation, watching this talk is highly recommended. Steinhardt’s talk was part of a Fermilab workshop, Simplicity II.
- On the multiverse front, Sabine Hossenfelder’s Mom has Sabine to set her straight. For professional physicists, instead of getting set straight there’s the usual Templeton funding for the opposite, in this case a workshop on Fine-tuning, the Multiverse and Life.
- Paul Ginsparg discusses various issues having to do with the arXiv here and here, with an emphasis on the question of how to decide which preprints to reject (they have my sympathy on the difficulties involved). Ginsparg notes that they decided not to have comments/discussion of papers there, but to have “trackbacks” to discussions hosted elsewhere. Still no indication of why trackbacks here are banned.
- Theoretical physicist Walter Greiner passed away a couple weeks ago. He was the author of a series of textbooks, one of which in particular, Field Quantization, I found very helpful when I was trying to figure out some details for the book I was writing.
Update: I just noticed that Witten’s Commemorative Lecture for the Kyoto Prize is available here. It’s a very interesting account by him of his career and point of view.
Update: In case you think fine-tuning is a central question in physics, besides the Templeton-funded workshop in Sydney, you can consult the website of a Templeton-funded program, or buy this book by a Templeton-funded author. There’s also a talk by Aron Wall, given to a Rutgers University apologetics club. Wall’s conclusion is that either God or the Multiverse did it, and he comes down on the side of God (because of the Resurrection of Jesus business).
Update: Also on the Templeton front, they are funding a new $7.2 million Black Hole Initiative, which advertises itself by
The BHI will be the first center worldwide to focus on the study of black holes, and as such it offers a unique naming opportunity for potential donors.
Templeton is paying for the first three years of this. To get some idea of the scale of this project, the yearly grant is roughly half the size of the NSF grant to each to the two largest US centers in pure math and in theoretical physics (MSRI and the KITP).
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