A few short items:
- My graduate school roommate Nathan Myhrvold has a new book coming out this month, a five-volume series about the science of bread, based on several years of research into the subject at his laboratory near Seattle. Robert Crease has gone out to visit, and gives a wonderful detailed report on The physics of bread in this month’s Physics World.
- An article at FQXI on multiverse research they are funding seemed to finally give me an understanding of what this is all about:
These are the two conceptually hardest questions in cosmology, according to Raphael Bousso, a theoretical physicist at the University of California, Berkeley. They go to the core of what it means to exist as a human being making sense of the universe we find ourselves in. And, he adds, unfortunately, there is very little physical knowledge to go on when it comes to working out the answer.
Undaunted by the lack of tools to help them, theatrical physicists Eugene Lim of King’s College London, UK, and Richard Easther of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, are…
This all of a sudden made things clear: what is going on is “theatrical physics”, not “theoretical physics”. Going on like this about the multiverse is performance art.
Unfortunately I just noticed that this page has been edited (new version here), removing the enlightening characterization of what this is about.
- I’m glad to see that Natalie Wolchover has just won an AIP award for her writing about physics, in particular for a piece on how physicists are dealing with the “nightmare scenario”. While she’s perhaps the best professional journalist writing about these topics, for coverage of this from a professional physicist, the best you can find is Sabine Hossenfelder’s blogging at Backreaction. I’m pleased to hear that the two of them will be appearing at an event here next month in NYC, talking about Making Sense of Mind-Blowing Physics at NYU on Nov. 16.
Update: Sabine Hossenfelder has a book coming out next year, which should be fascinating (although I suspect I’ll have something to disagree with…).
Gian Francesco Giudice has a long essay about the status of particle physics, post-negative LHC results. For better and worse, I think it captures well the view of many mainstream theorists.