Various News

  • First test collisions at 6.5 TeV/beam at the LHC are tentatively scheduled for Thursday morning.
  • At CERN today there’s a workshop about the Higgs Machine Learning Challenge.
  • Also on the topic of LHC data analysis news, Tommaso Dorigo announces the award of a grant for the AMVA4NewPhysics project.
  • Sabine Hossenfelder has a review, slideshow and discussion of the Dawid book on “String theory and the scientific method” (which I wrote about here and here).
    Much of the discussion is about the “No Alternatives” argument, but at this point I don’t even see how it applies here. The Landscape shows that string theory unification is a failed program, which rules it out. As for whether “gravitation is due to the spin two massless mode of a superstring” is the only alternative, these days my impression is that many prominent theorists are pursuing alternatives, that gravity is supposed to be an “emergent” phenomenon coming from something else.
  • For those sticking to the 1984 point of view though, there’s a workshop on some interesting mathematics that’s part of that story (super geometry, super moduli spaces) going on at the Simons Center.
  • Last week on Jeopardy (see here), no one got this question:

    Nima Arkani-Hamed is using this number dimension, the next one beyond time, to rock the physics world.

    I wouldn’t have either…

  • For a bit of mathematics history, you might want to read Beilinson on Gelfand’s seminar.
  • Natalie Wolchover at Quanta keeps on coming up with interesting physics stories not seen anywhere else, last week covering news about ultra-high energy cosmic rays.

Update: Successful test with first collisions at 13 TeV this morning at the LHC, see here.

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12 Responses to Various News

  1. Bee says:

    Thanks for the link. I found the no alternatives argument to be the least convincing one. Anyway, I think it’s good some philosopher is trying to make sense of this mess 🙂

  2. Egon says:

    It seems that the Jeopardy answer must be referring to the following paper:

    The paper is from 2001, though, so it’s hard to see how it could still be ‘rocking the physics world.’

  3. Chillin says:

    I’m staying with the 1984 viewpoint.

  4. Hello Peter,

    thank you for highlighting my grant. I literally spent four months of my life on writing it, but the chances of success with this kind of EU projects are very small, so I must have been lucky anyway.

    Since no good deed goes unpunished, I will ask you the courtesy to advertise the PhD positions we will open, in a few months 😉


  5. PAC says:

    Goodness, the Soviet Union as portrayed by Beilinson sounds like sheer heaven, from today’s perspective. No soulless consumerism, no politics-as-spectacle, no globalized noise. And respect for the austere beauty of mathematics and art.

    Very far from a complete picture obviously, but a much-needed one.

  6. AHS says:

    Thanks for Beilinson’s little write-up. Some very nice insight. Cheers

  7. Nick M. says:

    Egon says:
    May 19, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    It seems that the Jeopardy answer must be referring to the following paper:

    The paper is from 2001, though, so it’s hard to see how it could still be ‘rocking the physics world.’


    As opposed to thinking about what was “‘rocking‘ the physics world” back in 2001, the Jeopardy production staff was instead hoping that you would be drawn to thinking about what was “‘rocking‘ the music world” back in 1966 to 1975; that is, to associate the word ‘rock‘ (or, more precisely, the phrase ‘rock and roll‘), with the word ‘dimension‘ so as to bring you to thinking about the R&B/Pop/Soul vocal group “The 5th Dimension“. I know you’re given perhaps all of three seconds to try to put this all together, but it’s a perfect example of the wacky way that Jeopardy likes to bury clues within ‘the answer’ so as to guide you to the correct ‘question’ response on their game show.


  8. Narad says:

    so as to bring you to thinking about the R&B/Pop/Soul vocal group “The 5th Dimension“

    Yah, I figured that out, but it seems very oddly placed as the only third question in as bland a category as “physical science.” True obscurantism in this vein would have realized that The 5th Dimension made a lot of bread by covering Laura Nyro songs, including two from Eli and the Thirteenth Confession.

  9. Natalie W. says:

    Thank you, Peter!

  10. N says:

    There is an interesting debate going on over at Bee’s site.
    Lubos at his best!

  11. paddy says:

    Thanks N. Interesting is perhaps an understatement.

  12. Robert Barton says:

    Jeopardy is pretty straight forward, and its questions are written to be answered by non-specialists. Time is the fourth dimension(common knowledge). So one more. It’s meant to be that simple. You don’t have to know who Arkani is and 99.9% of people don’t. His name is a kind of red herring. They could have substituted a whole bunch of names for his. Jeopardy does not reference physics papers. The music group idea is probably correct because they use “rocked” which seems a weird verb choice otherwise. So if you got it by the music group that’s impressive lateral thinking but it would only serve to reinforce the easy answer.

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