Author Archives: woit

Some Math News

My Columbia colleague Patrick Gallagher passed away a few months ago at the age of 84. He had only recently retired, and for many years was the longest serving member of the department and an important part of its institutional … Continue reading

Posted in Langlands, Obituaries | 7 Comments

Something Deeply Hidden

Sean Carroll’s new (available in stores early September) book, Something Deeply Hidden, is a quite good introduction to issues in the understanding of quantum mechanics, unfortunately wrapped in a book cover and promotional campaign of utter nonsense. Most people won’t … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Multiverse Mania | 76 Comments

What’s the difference between Copenhagen and Everett?

I’ve just finished reading Sean Carroll’s forthcoming new book, will write something about it in the next few weeks. Reading the book and thinking about it did clarify various issues for me, and I thought it might be a good … Continue reading

Posted in Quantum Mechanics | 27 Comments

Where We Are Now

For much of the last 25 years, a huge question hanging over the field of fundamental physics has been that of what judgement results from the LHC would provide about supersymmetry, which underpins the most popular speculative ideas in the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 48 Comments

Quick Links

A few quick links: Philip Ball at Quanta has a nice article on “Quantum Darwinism” and experiments designed to exhibit actual toy examples of the idea in action (I don’t think “testing” the idea is quite the right language in … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Prospects for contact of string theory with experiments

Nima Arkani-Hamed today gave a “vision talk” at Strings 2019, entitled Prospects for contact of string theory with experiments which essentially admitted there are no such prospects. He started by joking that he had been assigned this talk topic by … Continue reading

Posted in Strings 2XXX | 20 Comments

Against Symmetry

One of the great lessons of twentieth century science is that our most fundamental physical laws are built on symmetry principles. Poincaré space-time symmetry, gauge symmetries, and the symmetries of canonical quantization largely determine the structure of the Standard Model, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

What happens when we can’t test scientific theories?

Just got back from a wonderful trip to Chile, where the weather was perfect for watching the solar eclipse from the beach at La Serena. While I was away, the Guardian Science Weekly podcast I participated in before leaving for … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments


First something really important: chalk. If you care about chalk, you should watch this video and read this story. Next, something slightly less important: money. The Simons Foundation in recent years has been having a huge (positive, if you ask … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Not So Spooky Action at a Distance

I’ve recently read another new popular book about quantum mechanics, Quantum Strangeness by George Greenstein. Before getting to saying something about the book, I need to get something off my chest: what’s all this nonsense about Bell’s theorem and supposed … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Quantum Mechanics | 62 Comments