Author Archives: woit

Losing the Nobel Prize

There’s a fascinating new book just now appearing in book stores, Losing the Nobel Prize, by astronomer Brian Keating. An excerpt from the book is available at Nautilus, with the title How My Nobel Dream Bit the Dust. Some reviews … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews | 23 Comments

Math News

Various mathematics-related news: The Perimeter Institute has been moving towards an increased engagement with mathematics and mathematicians in recent years. Matilde Marcolli and Ben Webster are now joining them as Associate Faculty. Quanta magazine has an excellent article by Kevin … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Are We In the Swampland?

Way back in 2005, soon after the emergence of the “String Landscape” and the ensuing debate over whether this made string theory untestable pseudo-science, Cumrun Vafa in response started writing about the “Swampland”. In contrast to the “Landscape” of effective … Continue reading

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Raoul Bott: Collected Papers, volume 5

I noticed today that the final volume of Raoul Bott’s collected papers, which Loring Tu has been working on editing for quite a while, has finally appeared. The Springer webpage for the book is here, and its content is available … Continue reading

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From Princeton to Prison

One of my graduate school classmates today sent around a link to a story about someone many of us remembered, Dragoljub Cetkovic. I somehow missed it last year when it appeared, it’s by Paul Halpern and entitled From Princeton to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Various News

Reader Chris W. pointed me to this story about what Cédric Villani, aka the Lady Gaga of French mathematics, has been up to. I see that the report of the “Mission Villani” is now available (in French or English) and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

What is Real?

There’s a new popular book out this week about the interpretation of quantum mechanics, Adam Becker’s What is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics. Ever since my high school days, the topic of quantum mechanics and … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Quantum Mechanics | 74 Comments

This Week’s Hype

Many thanks to Sabine Hossenfelder for her efforts to debunk the attempt to use Hawking’s death as a platform for multiverse hype. See her posting at Backreaction for a good explanation of what is going on here. To summarize the … Continue reading

Posted in This Week's Hype | 7 Comments

Abel Prize to Langlands

The 2018 Abel Prize has been awarded to Robert Langlands, an excellent choice. The so-called “Langlands program” has been a huge influence on modern mathematics, providing deep insight into the structure of number theory while linking together disparate fields of … Continue reading

Posted in Langlands | 6 Comments

Stephen Hawking 1942-2018

Front-page on every news source today is the sad report that Stephen Hawking died yesterday at the age of 76. For the best description of his scientific accomplishments, I recommend the obituary in the Guardian written by his sometime collaborator … Continue reading

Posted in Obituaries | 13 Comments