Various Stuff

The list of speakers for Strings 2007 is now available. Titles of talks are not available, but as far as I can tell they’re not taking up Lee Smolin on his suggestion that they have someone there to talk about developments in the LQG approach to quantum gravity that string theorists might find interesting. Also, no mathematicians on the list and fewer mathematically inclined string theorists than at Strings 2006. One experimentalist from CERN (Rolandi), presumably to talk about the LHC. Lots and lots of people who work on the landscape and various string compactification schemes, with the Stanford group well-represented.

If you’re in Princeton tomorrow there are a couple of interesting math talks. The talk by Simons at the IAS on Some Results in Differential Cohomology (with Sullivan, presumably about this) should set some kind of historical record for the highest net worth of a speaker giving a technical math talk. Ed Frenkel is giving the colloquium at the math department on Langlands Correspondence for Loop Groups; I wish I had time to go down there to hear it.

The conference in Paris on non-commutative geometry in honor of Alain Connes is continuing this week. Fabien Besnard reports on the talk by Michael Atiyah, where evidently there was some commentary on the role of mathematical beauty in physics, and warning to the young that working on the kind of idea he was discussing would be dangerous for their careers. And no, in French “Physique Retardee” does not carry the same meaning as a naive translation to English would imply…

The web-site of representation theorist Ivan Mirkovic has lots of interesting things, including notes about geometric Langland and the recent work of Witten-Kapustin-Gukov. Another interesting representation theorist web-site is that of Alistair Savage, which includes various lecture notes and an overview about quivers and geometric representation theory.

See here for the program and some lecture notes from the recent spring school at Trieste. Especially interesting are the lectures by Martin Schmaltz about Physics Beyond the Standard Model and the LHC. The Resonaances blog also has a report about a recent talk by Schmaltz at CERN. The bottom line seems to be that, contrary to what was previously thought, in many of the kinds of supersymmetric models supposed to come from string theory, you can’t run the observed scalar superpartner masses back up to the unification scale, so, even if you see such things, you won’t get information about grand unification out of them. Schmaltz gives a graphical representation of the reaction of various people to this. I’m in category A.

Tommaso Dorigo has an excellent suggestion for experimental collaborations worried about the information that their blogging members are putting out. Don’t fight them, join them! He suggests that large experiments like CDF, D0, ATLAS, CMS should be putting out a collaboration-approved blog, getting their story out to the public through this medium.

Update: I realized there is another event I should mention. This Saturday I’ll be giving a talk at a symposium at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, organized by the Society of Physics Students and the Campus Freethought Alliance. Also speaking there will be Jim Gates, who presumably will be taking a somewhat more optimistic view of string theory. I’m still trying to figure out what to talk about, current plan is to cover some of the material in my book, emphasizing the parts everyone ignores that are not about string theory…

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2 Responses to Various Stuff

  1. Who says:

    the emblem on the main page of the Strings ’07 website
    is a 1789 oil painting by Goya called THE BLIND CHICKEN
    (La Gallina Ciega) or translated into English “Blind Man’s Buff”.

    The blindfolded girl is in the center of a circle of dancers,
    who elude her attempts to strike them.

    There is a sunset, the players are aristocrats, it is pretty but
    inexplicably melancholy.

    To get further information about the Strings ’07 conference,
    click on individual dancers in the circle.

    To me, the blindfolded young lady looks like M-theory, something which so far has never been seen, surrounded by elusive entities who joined by the duality of holding each other’s hands. No one is like Goya.

  2. Peter Orland says:

    Among the list of speakers at Strings ’07 are Bern
    (maybe N=8 supergravity is finite) and Beisert (advances
    in N=4 Yang-Mills and the AdS/CFT conjecture). These
    are important topics and both a bit out of the current
    string mainstream. Without this small diversity of focus
    (that is, something other than usual string stuff) the
    meeting would probably feel like Strings 1907.

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