Possibly of interest:
- Goro Shimura, one of the major figures in twentieth century number theory and arithmetic geometry passed away on May 3 in Princeton at the age of 89. Princeton has an article about his life and work here. There’s another article about him here (in German). Back in 2008 Shimura published an autobiographical memoir, The Map of My Life, which I wrote about here.
- The Dutch publication de Volkskrant has an article asking if theoretical physics has lost its way. Sabine Hossenfelder and Avi Loeb are quoted on the “there’s a problem side”, Robbert Dijkgraaf on the “no problem here” side.
- A commenter here points out an article in le Monde about the currently unresolved question of what to do with the 100,000 or so pages of writings left by Grothendieck at the time of his death. There seems to be a consensus that someone should carry out the expensive project of having the pages cataloged and transcribed, but how to pay for this, and who should ultimately take ownership of the papers remains up in the air. Supposedly a sizable part of the documents deals with Grothendieck’s speculation about physics. The article starts off with a characterization of Grothendieck’s work as important in the story of the Higgs discovery, which is quite inaccurate (there is no significant relation between his work and the Higgs).
- For many years people at SLAC have used the database there to produce “Topcites” lists of the most heavily cited papers in HEP physics, giving some insight into what topics are the most popular in current HEP research. From 1997-2003 Michael Peskin wrote up some reviews of what was going on in HEP physics each year based on these lists, and has started doing so again (for 2017 and 2018). These lists and the reviews are now dominated by astrophysical and cosmological topics, with little about HEP theory. To get an idea of what the hot topics are in HEP theory these days, take a look at the list of most frequently cited papers by hep-th preprints in 2018.
- The series finale of The Big Bang Theory will air this week, on Thursday. Since I’ve canceled my cable TV service a while back I haven’t been following the latest episodes, which evidently feature a replacement for the failure of supersymmetry, called “super-asymmetry”. At some point I hope to catch up with these, and find out what happens to “super-asymmetry”.
- This week the European Strategy Update for Particle Physics is holding an Open Symposium in Granada, to discuss plans for the post-LHC future (a blog posting about this from Tommaso Dorigo is here). I’ve written here about the difficult issues that CERN and European HEP physicists are facing. Looking at one of the first talks on future colliders, I was surprised to see muon colliders listed as a potentially viable possibility, since I thought that the technology needed for those was still far in the future.
Update: Kenneth Chang at the New York Times today has an obituary for Shimura.
Update: On the obituary front, it was announced today (5/24) that Murray Gell-Mann has passed away, at the age of 89. The New York Times has an obituary written by his biographer, George Johnson.