Author Archives: woit

Latest on abc

Davide Castelvecchi at Nature has the story this morning of a press conference held earlier today at Kyoto University to announce the publication by Publications of the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences (RIMS) of Mochizuki’s purported proof of the abc … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 51 Comments

Philip Anderson 1923-2020

I heard this morning about the death yesterday of Philip Anderson, at the age of 96. It’s not hard to make the case that Anderson was the most important condensed matter theorist of the twentieth century, with a huge influence … Continue reading

Posted in Obituaries | 7 Comments

This Week’s Hype

Maybe it’s because people are at home with nothing else to do, but somehow the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be having the side-effect of generating new infections of “test of string theory” hype, a disease common many years back that … Continue reading

Posted in Swampland, This Week's Hype | 8 Comments

Fourier Analysis Notes

This semester I’ve been teaching a course on Fourier Analysis, which has, like just about everything, been seriously disrupted by the COVID-19 situation. Several class sessions have been canceled, and future ones are supposed to resume online next week. To … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

This Week’s Hype

In this disturbing time of pandemic, it’s reassuring to see that some activities continue as usual. On the string theory hype front, yesterday NASA put out a press release announcing that Chandra Data Tests ‘Theory of Everything’, which starts by … Continue reading

Posted in This Week's Hype | 3 Comments

Penrose at The Portal

Since last summer Eric Weinstein has been running a podcast entitled The Portal, featuring a wide range of unusual and provocative discussions. A couple have had a physics theme, including one with Garrett Lisi back in December. One that I … Continue reading

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This Week’s Hype

Sabine Hossenfelder already has this covered, but I wanted to add a few comments about this week’s hype, a new article in Quanta magazine by Philip Ball entitled Wormholes Reveal a Way to Manipulate Black Hole Information in the Lab … Continue reading

Posted in This Week's Hype | 32 Comments

Why String Theory Is Both A Dream And A Nightmare (as well as a swamp…)

Ethan Siegel today has a new article at Starts With a Bang, entitled Why String Theory is Both a Dream and a Nightmare. For the nightmare part, he writes: its predictions are all over the map, untestable in practice, and … Continue reading

Posted in Swampland, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Robert Hermann 1931-2020

I was sorry to hear today of the recent death of Robert Hermann, at the age of 88. While I unfortunately never got to meet him, his writing had a lot of influence on me, as it likely did for … Continue reading

Posted in Obituaries | 11 Comments


A few months ago I ended up doing a little history of science research, trying to track down the details of the story of the Physical Review’s 1973 policy discouraging articles on “Foundations”. The results of that research are in … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Comments