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HEP News

The CERN Council is meeting today and tomorrow, and should approve the long-awaited 2020 update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics. There will be a live webcast of the open part of the Council meeting on Friday. My understanding is that the most difficult and contentious decision, that of how and whether to go forward with a new energy...

HEP Theory Job Situation

Way back in the 1980s and 1990s I was, for obvious personal reasons, paying close attention to the job situation for young HEP theorists. They were not good at all: way more talented young theorists than jobs, many if not most Ph.D.s who wanted to continue in the field unhappily spending many years in various postdocs before giving up and doing something...

Feynman Lectures on the Strong Interactions

Available at the arXiv this evening is something quite fascinating. Jim Cline has posted course notes from Feynman’s last course, given in 1987-88 on QCD. There are also some audio files of a few of the lectures available here. The course was interrupted by Feynman’s final illness, with the last lecture given just a couple weeks before Feynman’s...

An Advertisement for Representation Theory

There’s a new article at Quanta today promoting representation theory, Kevin Hartnett’s The ‘Useless’ Perspective that Transformed Mathematics. Representation theory is a central, unifying theme in modern mathematics, one that deserves a lot more attention than it usually gets, with undergraduate math majors often not exposed to the subject at all....

The Week’s Anti-Hype

I never thought I would see this happen: a university PR department correcting media hype about its research. You might have noticed this comment here a week ago, about a flurry of media hype about neutrinos and parallel universes. A new CNN story does a good job of explaining where the nonsense came from. The main offender was New Scientist, which...

Oral Histories

I recently ran across a recent interview with Mary K. Gaillard, which encouraged me to look again at the AIP’s oral histories site. For a review of her autobiographical book, see here. She has the following comments on the current state of HEP theory: Zierler: What do you see as the future of theoretical physics? Where is the field headed? Gaillard:...

Final Fourier Analysis Notes

Our semester here at Columbia is finally over, and I’ve put the lecture notes on Fourier analysis that I wrote up in one document here. A previous blog posting explained the origin of the notes: they cover the second half of this semester’s course, from the point at which the course became an online course due to the COVID-19 situation. Not much blogging...

Some Philosophy of Science

Defenders of certain failed speculative theories like to accuse those who point to their failure of being “Popperazzi”, relying on mistaken and naive notions about predictions and falsifiability due to Karl Popper. That’s never been the actual argument for failure, and two excellent pieces have just appeared that explain some of the real issues. Sabine...

Various and Sundry

If like most other people you’re stuck at home, and having trouble concentrating on the projects you thought the current situation would cause you to finally find the time to complete, one thing you could do is watch a lot of talks about mathematics online. As far as I can tell, mathematicians are doing much better than any other field right now in...

Why the Szpiro Conjecture is Still a Conjecture

There has been a remarkable discussion going on for the past couple weeks in the comment section of this blog posting, which gives a very clear picture of the problems with Mochizuki’s claimed proof of the Szpiro conjecture. These problems were first explained in the 2018 Scholze-Stix document Why abc is still a conjecture. In order to make this...

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