Just a few items:
- The Simons Foundation has announced a new Origins of the Universe initiative, which will fund efforts to “develop testable predictions about string theory, quantum gravity and a cosmological ‘Big Bounce.'” I don’t think even all of Jim Simons’ money will be enough to fund a real “prediction of string theory”, but the fake kind can be had rather cheaply. I was interested to see in this presentation from the NSF that grants from Simons and other private sources are starting to change the way they do business:
One major challenge affecting Theory is the entrance of non-traditional (private philanthropic) funding sources. NSF has developed new procedures for evaluating overlapping sources of funding and introducing such evaluations into the proposal review process.
I’m curious how they are dealing with this. If someone is being funded by Simons, will the NSF/DOE also fund them? Will the NSF/DOE stop funding fields that are being heavily financed by Simons/Templeton/Kavli? Does this have anything to with the NSF/DOE cuts in HEP theory funding of recent years?
- The latest AMS Notices has a couple of articles about gravitational radiation, see here.
- Yesterday a two week graduate summer school on automorphic forms and the Langlands program started. Lectures are being given by Kevin Buzzard and are on video here. Buzzard has set up a web-site for the lectures here.
In his first lecture he explained that Richard Taylor’s CalTech lectures in 1992 (scans of Buzzard’s notes here) had a huge effect on him, and the plan of his lectures is to cover an updated version of some of the same material, ending up by getting to the latest developments, now available solely on a blog here and here. Buzzard also explained that in 1992 he devoted his time in LA to working on understanding the lectures during the week, going to raves on weekends. No news on whether MSRI is making similar arrangements for weekend activities of students in the summer school.
- Two new articles from Michael Harris: The Perfectoid Concept: Test Case for an Absent Theory and Do Mathematicians Have Responsibilities?.