It seems that if you’re a Fields Medalist, you now have to have a blog. The latest of these is a new blog from Timothy Gowers. His blog will also function as a blog for the upcoming Princeton Companion to Mathematics that he is editing, and he has started a discussion about the possibility of a wiki devoted to “mathematical tricks”.
Rigorous Trivialities is another new mathematics blog, one of the rare ones not being run by a Fields Medalist.
Mathematics will now have its own “rumor mill” to gather information about job searches, to be called the Mathematics Job Wiki. It appears to have been set up by Greg Kuperberg, “who however recuses himself from handling confidential e-mail and is not the wiki moderator”. All we are told about the moderator is that “someone without a current tenure-track appointment will read e-mail sent to the Wiki Moderator.”
Gerard ‘t Hooft has translated his lecture notes on Lie Groups and Physics from Dutch into English, increasing by about two orders of magnitude the number of people who can read them.
Math and physics geeks are now certifiably cool, as the TV show Numb3rs goes into yet another season, and is joined by The Big Bang Theory. New York magazine got together a group of Columbia physics grad students to take a look at the show and discuss.
The early history of string theory is getting lots of attention these days, especially because of a conference on the subject last May. Some related articles have now appeared on the arXiv, from Di Vecchia and Schwimmer, Ramond and Schwarz. At Caltech, an Oral Histories project has made available the transcript of a long interview with Schwarz.
Hendrik, a commenter here, pointed out that there’s more of the latest string theory hype concerning results from the MAGIC telescope, originally discussed here. Now New Scientist has weighed in with an article entitled Finally, a MAGIC test for string theory? According to the article, Mavromatos and collaborators say that their (non-critical) string theory model “predicts the 4-minute delay exactly”. Polchinski is quoted to the effect that this would falsify (critical) string theory. LQG is completely cut out of the deal, with no mention of it at all. They really need to do a better marketing job. The way things are now, any supposed evidence of quantum gravitational effects is automatically evidence for string theory, in one version or another.
For the latest attempt to market string theory to astrophysicists, see this new article on astro-ph. The abstract begins not by acknowledging that string theory can’t make any predictions about cosmology, but by claiming instead that the problem is
Attempts to connect string theory with astrophysical observation are hampered by a jargon barrier, where an intimidating profusion of orientifolds, Kahler potentials, etc. dissuades cosmologists from attempting to work out the astrophysical observables of specific string theory solutions from the recent literature.
Update: Slashdot has a thoroughly worthless article about this last paper, based on the New Scientist article about it.