This and That

Some quick links:

The Clay Mathematics Institute is now making available for free online the books whose publication it has sponsored. These include the Morgan-Tian exposition of the proof of the Poincare conjecture. Surveys in Non-commutative geometry, which contains two excellent articles by Jeffrey Lagarias and Paula Tretkoff explaining ideas about the Riemann Hypothesis that have been motivating Connes and others recently. Also the excellent huge group-effort expository volume on Mirror Symmetry, and a more recent volume on the topic, which includes a good review article by Michael Douglas about the string theory motivations for this work.

There’s an interview with Susskind here about his latest book. About anthropics and the multiverse he claims

…since I wrote “The Cosmic Landscape,” it has practically become the conventional view.

A couple of relatively new physics bloggers are Sunil Mukhi and Marco Frasca. P.P. Cook has revived his blog and is reporting from Eurostrings 2008 here and here.

Among the posts worth reading over at Secret Blogging Seminar, there’s a nice posting by A. J. Tolland explaining what a “stack” is. The comments contain a valuable discussion about the different versions of a “classifying space” that show up in this story.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to This and That

  1. anon. says:

    ”There are powerful reasons to believe that the universe may also be a consequence of random mutation. It sounds crackpot, or at best, like fringe speculation, but by now the idea is very firmly established in the mainstream physics and cosmology literature. That’s was what my book “The Cosmic Landscape” was all about. … The next generation of physicists and cosmologists will have the fun and excitement of discovering the right mathematical formulation of a “multiverse.”’ – Lenny Susskind,

    I love this suggestion that analyzing the landscape of 10^500 metastable vacua in the multiverse will be an exciting and fun challenge for the next generation. The next generation should be eternally grateful. 😉

  2. A.J. says:

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for the post rec!

    Is Marco Fresca really arguing that “lattice results about propagators seems to indicate that Yang-Mills theory is trivial”? That’s an amazing claim.

  3. Peter Woit says:


    I confess that I don’t understand this claim of his, but haven’t had a chance to look carefully at what he is up to. As far as I can tell, he’s looking at the gluon propagator, which is not gauge invariant, so the significance is unclear.

  4. theoreticalminimum says:

    I might, if I may, bring to your attention that the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHÉS) in France is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, with events taking place since March 27 (to coincide with Grothendieck’s 80th birthday, which was on March 28). Apart from IHÉS’ disposition to publish Grothendieck’s Récoltes et Semailles, one other nice collectible is the photo-book (published in France by Éditions Belin) Les Déchiffreurs: Voyage en mathématiques (“The Unravelers”), which “comprises photographs and texts, including more than 200 photographs of some of the 40 or so researchers who work or at or have visited IH in the course of their career’. A small sample of the photos can be seen here. I’ll get a copy of it next month when I visit Paris.

  5. Richard says:


    Thanks for alerting us to this photo-book! I looked at the sample pictures, and was pleasantly surprised to see that they are in black and white, which is now practically a lost art. In photos of people, black and white photos often capture “the moment” and the personality in a way that color photos do not.

  6. Chip Neville says:


    It would be wonderful if Harvard could see it’s way clear to put Tate’s 1950 thesis on the web. The same is true for Uppsala and Nyman’s 1950 thesis.

    Tate’s 1950 Harvard thesis, which from the fragments I have seen quoted, for instance in Li’s failed preprint, seems to be simpler and clearer on some points than parts of most accounts of adeles, even the excellent one by Paula Tretkoff on page 150 of her article.

    Nyman’s 1950 Uppsala thesis, which is important in completeness approaches to the RH, is often quoted. Nyman was a student of Beurling, and his thesis is what led to Beurling’s 1955 Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. article referred to at the beginning of Sarnak’s appendix to Paula Tretkoff’s article.

  7. Jason Starr says:


    I believe Tate’s thesis is in the volume edited by Cassels and Froehlich.

    MR0217026 (36 #121)
    Tate, J. T.
    Fourier analysis in number fields, and Hecke’s zeta-functions. 1967 Algebraic Number Theory (Proc. Instructional Conf., Brighton, 1965) pp. 305–347 Thompson, Washington, D.C.

  8. Marco Frasca says:

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks a lot for the citation. About Yang-Mills theory being trivial you should not check the gluon propagator but rather the running coupling. Current definitions analyzed on the lattice show clearly that no non-trivial infrared fixed point exists as people used to think. Recent phenomenological analysis due to Prosperi’s group in Milano support this (e.g. see Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 242001 (2007) or and related papers on arxiv all published on archival journals). The point is how to get a proper definition of running coupling in the infrared but it does seem that whatever is your choice this goes to zero at lower momenta. For a discussion see again Prosperi et al.


  9. Pingback: Ars Mathematica » Blog Archive » Clay Mathematics Institute Library

  10. Sebastian Thaler says:


    There is an article about Garrett Lisi in the July 21st issue of The New Yorker, unfortunately not online.

  11. Peter Woit says:


    Thanks. I talked to the writer of that piece a couple months ago, and to a fact-checker at the New Yorker, was wondering if they were going to publish it. Will look forward to reading it tonight.

  12. Pingback: Quantum field theory and triviality « The Gauge Connection

Comments are closed.