Not Even Wrong

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Do Particle Physicists Continue to Make Empty Promises?

Blogging has been light here, since little worthy of note in math/physics has been happening, and I’ve been busy with teaching, freaking out about the election, and trying to better understand Euclidean spinors. I’ll write soon about the Euclidean spinors, but couldn’t resist today making some comments about two things I’ve seen this week. Sabine...

2020 Physics Nobel Prize

The 2020 Physics Nobel Prize was announced this morning, with half going to Roger Penrose for his work on black holes, half to two astronomers (Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez) for their work mapping what is going on at the center of our galaxy. I know just about nothing about the astronomy side of this, but am somewhat familiar with Penrose’s work,...

Quick Links

A few quick links: I was sorry to hear of the recent death of Vaughan Jones. A few things about his life and work have started to appear, see here, here and here. For a wonderful in-depth article about the life of Michael Atiyah written by Nigel Hitchin, see here. There are now many new places where you can find talks about math and physics to...

Fall Quantum Mechanics Class

I’ll be teaching a course on quantum mechanics this year here at Columbia, from a point of view aimed somewhat at mathematicians, emphasizing the role of Lie groups and their representations. For more details, the course webpage is here. The course is being taught online using Zoom, with 37 students now enrolled. I’ve set things up in my office to...

AMS Open Math Notes

The AMS for the last few years has had a valuable project called AMS Open Math Notes, a site to gather and make available course notes for math classes, documents of the sort that people sometimes make available on their websites. This provides a great place to go to look for worthwhile notes of this kind (many of them are of very high quality), as...

Quantum Reality

Jim Baggott’s new book, Quantum Reality, is now out here in US, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the issues surrounding the interpretation of quantum mechanics. Starting next week I’ll be teaching a course on quantum mechanics for mathematicians (more about this in a few days when I have a better idea how it’s going to work). I’ll...

Funding Priorities

The research that gets done in any field of science is heavily influenced by the priorities set by those who fund the research. For science in the US in general, and the field of theoretical physics in particular, recent years have seen a reordering of priorities that is becoming ever more pronounced. As a prominent example, recently the NSF announced...

Guys and Their Theories of Everything

I’m a big fan of Sabine Hossenfelder’s music videos, the latest of which, Theories of Everything, has recently appeared. I also agree with much of the discussion of this at her latest blog posting where Steven Evans writes nobody wants to see Peter Woit sing. and Terry Bollinger chimes in: Please, under no circumstances and in no situations, should...

Twistors and the Standard Model

For the past few months I’ve been working on writing up some ideas I’m quite excited about, and the pandemic has helped move things along by removing distractions and forcing me to mostly stay home. There’s now something written that I’d like to publicize, a draft manuscript entitled Twistor Geometry and the Standard Model in Euclidean Space, which...

Quantization and Dirac Cohomology

For many years I’ve been fascinated by the topic of “Dirac cohomology” and its possible relations to various questions about quantization and quantum field theory. At first I was mainly trying to understand the relation to BRST, and wrote some things here on the blog about that. As time has gone on, my perspective on the subject has kept changing,...

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