First, two local events, involving well-known physics bloggers:
- Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending an event at NYU featuring Sabine Hossenfelder and Natalie Wolchover in conversation. You can watch this for yourself here. If you’re not following Hossenfelder on her blog and at Twitter (and planning to read her forthcoming book), as well as reading Wolchover’s reporting at Quanta magazine, you should be.
- Next week there will be an event out in Brooklyn advertised as covering the Scientific Controversy over string theory. The idea seems to be to address this controversy by bringing to the public two well-known and very vocal proponents of one side of it.
For a Q and A with another well-known physics blogger, there’s Tommaso Dorigo at Physics Today.
For a couple of encouraging indications that the theoretical physics community may finally be taking seriously the need to give up on failed thinking and try something new, there’s
- A conference next month in Italy on Weird Theoretical Ideas (Thinking outside the box).
- An interesting talk at a recent IPMU conference by Yuji Tachikawa. I like his conclusion:
Basically, all the textbooks on quantum field theories out there use an old framework that is simply too narrow, in that it assumes the existence of a Lagrangian.
This is a serious issue, because when you try to come up e.g. with a theory beyond the Standard Model, people habitually start by writing a Lagrangian … but that might be putting too strong an assumption.
We need to do something
In General Relativity related news, there’s a new edition out of Misner, Thorne and Wheeler, the book from which many of us learned both geometry and GR. It comes with new prefaces from David Kaiser as well as Misner and Thorne (which an appropriate search on the Amazon preview might show you…). In other Wheeler-related news, Paul Halpern has a new book out, The Quantum Labyrinth, which tells the entangled stories of Feynman and Wheeler.
Finally, also GR related, the Perimeter Institute has announced the formation of a new cosmology-focused “Centre for the Universe”, funded by an anonymous 10-year $25 million donation. It will be led by cosmologist Neil Turok, who is soon to step down as director of Perimeter.