I’ve been trying to find time to write about some books I’ve been reading. Maybe later this week. In the meantime, some things that may be of interest:
- This week in Norway there will be various events in celebration of the 2018 Abel Prize awarded to Langlands (see here). If you want to find out the latest ideas from Langlands about geometry and the Langlands program, you better be able to read Russian, so you can read this.
Langlands will give a lecture on Wednesday, on the geometric theory, followed by lectures from Jim Arthur and Edward Frenkel (streamed here). One would think that this would be a good opportunity for non-Russian readers to find out what Langlands is up to, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Langlands lectures in Norwegian…
This fall the University of Minnesota will host an Abel conference, dedicated to Langlands and his work.
- Last week the IHES hosted a conference in honor of Roger Godement. Videos of the talks are now available here. The stories of how his political engagement played out in the context of his professional life were something I had never heard about. For instance, I had missed the “Postface” (French version, English version) to one of his textbooks on analysis.
- The Stacks Project has a new website, some discussion of the changes is here.
- It’s the 50th anniversary of the Veneziano model and thus the birth of string theory, so various celebrations are going on this year, including this recent one. From the history as given in the talks there, no one would know that this is an idea that didn’t work out (twice, actually…).
- There’s a very interesting interview with John Preskill at ycombinator.
- A correspondent pointed me to the following, from a review by Alan Lightman of Carlo Rovelli’s latest, in the New York Times book review. Lightman disagrees with Rovelli on the low entropy problem of cosmology, suggesting instead that the multiverse is the answer:
One possibility, entertained by a number of leading physicists, is that there are lots of universes, the so-called multiverse, with very different properties and initial conditions. Some of those universes may have started in conditions of maximum disorder, with nothing driving change, no distinction between future and past, where atom-size pottery shards gather themselves up to form atom-size teapots as often as the reverse. But some of these universes would have been created, by accident, with relatively high order. We live in such a universe because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to discuss the matter. The theory of “quantum gravity,” which is still not fully formulated, describes such a continuous creation of universes with random properties and initial conditions.
Maybe I’ve missed something amidst the other multiverse mania, but the only person I’ve ever heard use “the multiverse did it” to explain this entropy problem is Sean Carroll, and it always seemed to me that he had never had any success in getting anyone to take that seriously.
Update: Glad to hear from the comment section that Carlo Rovelli “not appreciate at all the current infatuation with the idea of a multi-universe.” Unfortunately the multiverse publicity machine rolls on, with the usual nonsense, see here. I don’t agree with Sabine Hossenfelder that the problem is “over-reliance on mathematics”. What’s going wrong here is bad physics and bad science, nothing to do with mathematics.
Update: I’m glad to hear from Glenn Starkman that the Standard Model is also getting a 50th anniversary celebration soon (June 1-4), see here. Many of the talks look quite interesting, and there will be a livestream here.
Update:The Abel lectures are now online here.
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