HEP Physics News

  • ICHEP 2016 starts in Chicago this week. Talks about the new diphoton results are scheduled for 9am (Chicago time) Friday. There will also be talks later in the day at CERN (5pm Geneva time), scheduled as part of this summer’s TH institute. Consulting my prediction here (although I had the plenary vs. parallel wrong), I think it’s very clear that these will be negative results for the supposed 750 GeV bump. See Resonaances for discussion of the significance of this.
  • Last year I heard Nima Arkani-Hamed talk here about “Nnaturalness”. The paper is now out.
  • There’s a very interesting profile in Nautilus of Fotini Markopolou, who left theoretical physics to work on a startup in England.
  • At Quanta magazine, Natalie Wolchover has a nice article about intriguing new neutrino results. With nothing unexpected showing up at the energy frontier being explored by the LHC, in coming years it may very well be the neutrino sector, which can be explored at much lower energies, where one should look for something new.
  • Strings 2016 is starting in Beijing in a few hours. Schedule here, talk titles here.

Update: Videos of the Strings 2016 talks are becoming available here. The talks of the first day featured little string theory (except for a historical talk by John Schwarz). A major theme was 3d quantum field theory, with Witten and Costello talking about the same new ideas starting with Chern-Simons theory, and Seiberg talking about dualities in 3d qft.

Update: Slides are here. Tuesday started off with entanglement entropy and tensor networks. I confess that not only do I not see what this has to do with string theory, but have trouble seeing what it has to do with anything. The connection with quantum gravity using tensor networks seems vaguely to recall the much more well-motivated spin networks of LQG, which string theorists always denounced as not exhibiting a Lorentz invariant ground state. Now it’s the string theorists promoting this kind of network structure, noticing the same problem they used to denounce as convincing evidence their competitors had it all wrong. The world is a strange place.

Update: New Scientist has a quote from me saying the obvious thing about Nnaturalness. Blogging likely light to nonexistent for the next week, I’ll be traveling, listening to music in Nashville, as well as up in the mountains of Virginia/Tennessee,

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19 Responses to HEP Physics News

  1. David says:

    Will the Strings 2016 talks be available for streaming anywhere?

  2. Peter Woit says:

    I assume so, they always have been in the past. Presumably links to videos will appear at some point on the Strings 2016 website.

  3. Tim says:

    I am amazed Strings 2016 and ICHEP happen at the same time. I guess they’re working under the assumption that no one who is interested in string theory is also interested in experimental results?

  4. Peter Woit says:

    The main part of ICHEP is next week (the only overlap with Strings 2016 is the first two days, Thursday and Friday this week), and it is largely an experimental physics conference, with experimentalists usually not going to theory conferences, and vice versa. The Strings schedule leaves plenty of time for participants to head to Chicago on Friday and catch most of ICHEP (although I don’t think a lot of that will be going on).

  5. Szilard says:

    Natalie Wolchover is one of the best science journalists out there, IMO.

  6. vmarko says:


    The tensor networks are not really being used in the similar context to spin networks of LQG. String theorists are studying tensor networks in order to apply them to holography-related ideas. AFAICS, a lot of ST has now mutated into the study of holography and AdS/CFT, so I am not really surprised that tensor networks are so prominent at the conference.

    Also, the entanglement entropy is tied into the issue of black hole information problem, which is of course a very popular toy-topic for ST folks. So no surprise there either.

    Of course, one can always challenge the relevance of holography and BHI problem to quantum gravity (and I often like to do it), but that’s a different issue.


  7. Peter Woit says:

    I understand that this work is motivated by issues to do with holography, I’m just having trouble seeing a plausible scenario for how you get from this sort of thing to any new insight about fundamental physics (as opposed to the hundredth claim to “solve the black hole information paradox”). To some extent the idea seems to be that this is going to lead to some completely new understanding of QFT, or even of quantum theory itself, but I just don’t see it.

    Yes, these are different networks in a different context, the similarity is just in the idea that one is going to construct quantum gravity states using some discrete combinatorial gadget, and it’s amusing to see that this encounters the same problem as the (to my mind much better motivated) LQG attempt. I’m curious what Gross and Witten think of this. They were quite critical of such things when motivated by LQG, wonder if they think this is anything better.

  8. haxi says:

    @David, Talks from the Strings 2016 can be viewed at here: http://ymsc.tsinghua.edu.cn:8090/strings/?page_id=706

  9. zingo says:

    Not really. The video doesn’t play. I wonder whether these people have heard of YouTube.

  10. haxi says:

    @zingo, you don’t really know China, do you? 🙂

  11. Ricardo says:

    No signs of SUSY yet


    Sean Carroll says some rethinking might be needed, or not


  12. MB says:

    750 GeV bump not seen in CMS data https://cds.cern.ch/record/2205245

  13. Andreas says:

    Is there any update on the global 2.5sigma excess of WZ bosons at 2 TeV (http://arxiv.org/abs/1506.00962), that has been seen by ATLAS last year?

  14. cma says:

    Anyone knew where I can listen to the “vision lecture” and the powerpoint given by David Gross at String 2016?

  15. Gilbert Gibbs says:


    I vaguely recall some purported connection between entanglement in tensor networks and AdS/CFT, whereby spacetime itself could be constructed. I believe, this was the piece Nature did on it last year: http://www.nature.com/news/the-quantum-source-of-space-time-1.18797

    With regards to spin networks, I found Roger Penrose’ original papers on them, quite insightful, but markedly different wrt the above. Incidentally, today is Penrose’ 85th birthday, so congratulations to him.

  16. Yatima says:

    The summer of null results continues:

    Sterile Neutrinos not an element of this universe with p > 0.99: via the red-top press

  17. martibal says:

    Does this rule out only a fourth generation of neutrinos, or also right-handed neutrinos for the known generations ?

  18. Low Math, Meekly Interacting says:

    Despite the frustratingly vague wording in many of these popular articles, it appears that the IceCube collaboration largely ruled out low-mass sterile neutrinos of the 4th kind. If it has anything to do with chirality, type of fermion, see-saw mechanism, etc. that’s nowhere made explicit in what I’ve seen.

  19. Yatima says:

    Natalie Wolchover does her magic at Quanta Mag: What No New Particles Means for Physics tl;dr Just keep on trucking! (Although nothing is said about the significance of “the desert” for the prospect of financing a next generation colliders)

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