Links, Links, Links…

Too much going on, hard to keep up with all the things that seem worth mentioning. Here are some quick ones:

There was a meeting on Geometric Langlands involving mathematicians and physicists last week at the Schrodinger Institute in Vienna. David Ben-Zvi has notes for the talks.

There’s an interview with John Baez and Urs Schreiber, partly about blogging. I personally take credit for first referring to him as a “proto-blogger”, thus making him feel bad (although it was intended as a compliment…) and encouraging him to modernize:

So, I started getting a little frustrated about being called a ‘proto-blogger’. [laughter] I would joke that I felt like being introduced as like, ‘Homo erectus: Very smart for its time, with the first stone tools’. [laughter] It made me feel sort of old!

Victor Rivelles reports from the Latin American String School in Bariloche. Notes are online.

Michael Creutz has a new paper claiming that rooted fermions are not just “ugly” or “bad”, but “evil”. See here for some commentary on The Evil That is Rooting.

William Fulton is giving an excellent series of lectures here at Columbia every Friday afternoon, on the topic of Equivariant Cohomology in Algebraic Geometry. Ex-Columbia undergrad Dave Anderson, now Fulton’s student at Michigan, is writing up notes.

There’s a proposed new newsgroup “sci.physics.foundations”, which some readers here might find interesting, and which would be a better place for a lot of the discussions which people try to start here, which I then try and stop because I don’t want to moderate them. More about this here, and some discussion here.

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14 Responses to Links, Links, Links…

  1. Cynthia says:

    Most ironically, perhaps, the Earth’s axis of evil (the stuff of mankind, no doubt) is spilling over into the greater realm of Universe. God only knows, I suppose.;)

  2. Thanks, Peter, for letting folks know about the new Usenet group “sci.physics.foundations” which we are seeking to start up in the near future.

    A primary goal of our group is to use the power of the internet as a platform for scientific collaboration on an international basis among serious physics researchers seeking to gain a deeper understanding of nature. We are hoping that this group will evolve into a model of enlightened, mutually-supportive scientific collaboration, going beyond the “gotcha” and one-upsmanship mentality that has so pervaded many other physics discussion groups.

    The moderators and proponents all believe that conservative scientific method is fundamental to scientific discovery and advancement. This includes the persistence to conduct trials, the courage to make and admit errors, the open-mindedness and flexibility to correct errors, and the recognition and acceptance that in the end, nature, not personal philosophy or predisposition, popular fashion or paradigm, or greatest availability of research funding, is the ultimate arbiter of whether our theories are correct. In part, nature presents herself via other knowledgeable people of good will who are willing to look at someone else’s theories-in-trial, collaboratively point out what nature has already validated to be true which is possibly being overlooked or contradicted, and kindly suggest corrective measures. As such, with the goal of contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge, sci.physics.foundations will make use of the newly-available power of the internet to augment “feedback” to serious research during its formative, stages of trial, error, and correction, from people of like-interest around the world.

    Please review our RFD at, post your support at, and then join us the collaboration once sci.physics.foundations begins.

  3. mclaren says:

    Apropos of nothing in particular, a pop sci discussion of string theory in Wired magazine (that notable peer-reviewed scientific journal :->) which once again gets it mostly wrong and glosses over far too much, here:

    (Scroll down to “Why Is fundamental physics so messy?”)

    At least the author sounds more skeptical than was the case for pop sci reporters a few years ago. Though how anyone can call “fundamental” current models of physics, which systematically fail to successfully unify the Planck scale with GR, remains unexplained.

  4. Christine says:

    For what is worth, at LASS07 I could only count 2 women participating out of 100 people (although I could have missed some with abbreviated first names)… Is this the usual rate at other string schools?

  5. Chris W. says:

    McLaren, note the author of that little piece—science writer George Johnson. Brian Greene and James Gleick also contributed to the article (“The Big Questions”) among others.

  6. Q says:

    Proof that female physicists value predictions and evidence?

  7. D R Lunsford says:

    Thanks Peter for mentioning SPF – any interested readers should go to news.groups.proposals and offer support.


  8. D R Lunsford says:

    What we need is a few good patent clerks.


  9. Regarding what Christine says, my wife is a Physics professor, also with first name Christine. She and I anecdotally suspect that Physics is still the most male-dominated field of science. Does anyone have current data which supports this (or alternatively disproves it), such as APS surveys?

  10. Chris W. says:

    In keeping with the eclectic nature of this post, there is a new paper on the arXiv with a peculiar single-word title, O’KKLT
    . The authors are well-known, and the subject matter is quite interesting.

  11. Chris W. says:

    Correction: It’s not that new. (Duh) It was just updated, but was originally posted on 16 November.

  12. alex says:

    Sorry to interrupt such an intelligent discussion about women in physics, but…

    The message that pops up when I put the cursor over a topic in the “Latest Comments” sidebar now says the last comment was “37 years and 1 month ago”.

  13. woit says:

    [comment about Lubos Motl’s views on women deleted]


    Will look into that bug. If anyone expert on wordpress and the “latest comments plugin” has an idea what the problem might be, let me know.

  14. mclaren says:

    The problem is obvious. The comment in question was travelling at very nearly the speed of light.

Comments are closed.