Various Links

  • The AMS-02 experiment results will be announced tomorrow, 1700 CERN local time, webcast here. The normally reliable Jester says rumor is no dark matter. For this kind of astrophysics news, you should find a site with an expert to interpret the results, I’ll try and provide a link here.
  • Weird. The Templeton Prize was supposed to be announced on Thursday, but they’ve changed their announcement to read “April 2013 (exact date to be determined)”. Did someone turn it down or something?
  • There’s a very long oral history transcript here of an interesting interview with Joe Polchinski. It covers a lot of ground of the history of what went on in particle theory during an era which included the rise of string/M-theory. The interview took place in 2009, and has a certain amount of “string wars” sort of material, since that was the period when this was winding down. Someone should fix the proper names in the transcript though…
  • As part of his Einstein Chair at CUNY, Dennis Sullivan has run a seminar for many, many years, with quite a few interesting speakers. There’s now video online of many of the talks.
  • Howard Burton, who was the founding director of the Perimeter Institute now has a multimedia magazine called Ideas Roadshow, with one of the first programs a long interview with Nima Arkani-Hamed (access free for to this if you sign up).
  • I keep on finding out about more math blogs worth a look, for instance Chromotopy and DZB’s blog (via Motivic Stuff).
  • Eckhard Meinrenken’s book Clifford Algebras and Lie Theory is now out. The book is online here if your institution is paying Springer.

Update: A live blog from the AMS talk is here. See the comment from “M” here which has an abstract of the talk giving some of its main conclusions.

Update: CERN has a press release with the results here.

… these features show evidence of a new physics phenomena.

The exact shape of the spectrum, as shown in Figure 2, extended to higher energies, will ultimately determine whether this spectrum originates from the collision of dark matter particles or from pulsars in the galaxy. The high level of accuracy of this data shows that AMS will soon resolve this issue.

Update: For a summary of the significance of this for dark matter, see Resonaances.

The paper is here. The delay in the public announcement was clearly caused by Ting’s decision, unusual these days, to not submit a preprint to the arXiv when the results were ready, but just quietly submit to a journal (PRL, on March 14th), and say nothing publicly until the paper was accepted and published.

Update: Better (as in free) link for paper.

Update: The Templeton Prize was announced today, April 4: Desmond Tutu.

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9 Responses to Various Links

  1. Anon says:

    You’re missing the colon after http in the “Clifford Algebras and Lie Theory” link.

  2. Peter Woit says:


    Thanks. Fixed.

  3. Mark says:

    Thanks for this (as usual) very valuable collection of links. I enjoy reading your blog a lot !

  4. M says:

    The abstract of one AMS talk is public:

    Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) is a general purpose high energy
    particle detector which was successfully deployed on the International
    Space Station (ISS) on May 19, 2011 to conduct a unique long duration
    mission of fundamental physics research in space.
    The results of the AMS experiment on the primary positron fraction in
    the energy range from 0.5 to 350 GeV are presented. Events have been
    collected in the first 18 months of data taking, for a total statistics
    of ~6 million electrons and ~600,000 positrons. The data show that the
    positron fraction is steadily increasing from 10 to ~250 GeV. The
    positron fraction spectrum shows no structure and the positron to
    electron ratio shows no observable anisotropy.

  5. Shantanu says:

    Peter, OT to this thread, but a talk on some of the stuff you have talked in the blog

  6. Hansi says:

    By the way peter,
    what do you think of this brand new string theory book:

    Publication Date: October 4, 2012 | ISBN-10: 3642294960 | ISBN-13: 978-3642294969 | Edition: 2013
    The purpose of this book is to thoroughly prepare the reader for research in string theory at an intermediate level. As such it is not a compendium of results but intended as textbook in the sense that most of the material is organized in a pedagogical and self-contained fashion.

  7. Peter Woit says:


    From the table of contents, looks like it mostly covers string theory/unification from the point of view popular 20-25 years ago, very little about AdS/CFT, which has dominated the field the last 15 years or more. But, I’m not the target audience for this book, not sure who is…

  8. Hansi says:

    Peter woit wrote:
    But, I’m not the target audience for this book, not sure who is…
    end quote

    Well, the book by luest, blumhagen and theisen is meant as a simpler introduction into string theory than green schwarz witten or the books of polchinki.

    As such, it avoids phrases like “it can be shown”, or “it obviously follows” and it does not assume any knowledge beyond field theory and relativity basics.

    It is however, more difficult to read than the book of Zwiebach, which does not even describe supersymmetry. In contrast to Zwiebach, the new book of Luest, blumhagen and theisen aims to threat the subject seriously. Regarding to your comments on ads/ cft: The book contains 42 pages on ads/cft. For example, becker becker schwarz only write 31 pages on this, with using a much larger font!
    Furthermore, on the chair of the author, a regular lecture is held on ads/cft. The book on string theory by luest blumhagen and theisen aims to just covering the “basics” as an introduction. With that book having read, one then can get into the lecture on ads cft…

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