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Various Math Items

Some math-research items: Mura Yakerson has been doing a really wonderful series of interviews with mathematicians, available at her math-life balance web-page or Youtube channel. I’ve just started listening to some of them, including ones with Peter Scholze and Dustin Clausen (Clausen is John Tate’s grandson, the latest AMS Notices has a memorial...

Non-empirical Physics

I haven’t been paying much attention in recent years to the philosophers of science studying “Non-empirical” or “Post-empirical” physics or theory confirmation. At various times I did write fairly extensively about this, see for instance here, here and here. By 2015 there was a conference in Munich on the topic, which led in 2019 to a volume of papers...

The Evolution of the Physicist’s Picture of Nature

Reading this Nautilus article about Julian Barbour led me recently to something I don’t think I’ve ever read before, Dirac’s 1963 Scientific American article The Evolution of the Physicist’s Picture of Nature. There is a very famous quote from this article that I’ve often seen: It is more important to have beauty in one’s equations than to have them...

Some History

I’m heading out soon for a 10 day vacation in the Rocky Mountains, blogging likely to change from sparse to non-existent for the next couple weeks. I’ve come across the following things that people with an interest in the recent history of mathematics may find worthwhile: S. T. Yau over the past year has organized a series of talks on the recent...

Finished Some Things

I’ve now finished with two things that I’ve been working on over the last year or so: The paper explaining my proposal for “Twistor Unification” is now done and uploaded to the arXiv, see here. I’ve finished lecturing for the course on quantum mechanics for mathematicians that I’ve been teaching this academic year. Because of the Covid-required...

Hawking Hawking

There’s a very good new book about Stephen Hawking that just came out, Charles Seife’s Hawking Hawking. Some detailed reviews can be found at Prospect Magazine (Philip Ball) and the New York Review of Books (James Gleick). Seife has chosen to write the story of Hawking’s life starting at the end and ending at the beginning, which takes some getting...

Muon g-2 Result

The long awaited FNAL muon g-2 result was announced today, you can watch a video of the seminar here, look at the paper and a discussion of it at Physical Review Letters, or read stories from Natalie Wolchover at Quanta and Dennis Overbye at the New York Times. Tommaso Dorigo has an extensive discussion at his blog. In terms of the actual new result,...

The God Equation

When I was out for a bike ride yesterday I stopped by a large book store and looked to see if they had a copy of Michio Kaku’s new book The God Equation. They didn’t, but did have plenty of copies for sale of his various previous efforts to promote string theory, such as 1987’s Beyond Einstein, 1994’s Hyperspace and 2005’s Parallel Worlds. If someone...

Twistor Unification

I’ve finally finished writing up a new version of some ideas that I first wrote about here last summer. The latest draft is here, I may set up a web page with more info here. Several people had very helpful comments on what I wrote last summer, especially in pointing out that I wasn’t providing sufficient justification for the most radical claim I...

The Future of Fundamental Physics

IAS director Robbert Dijkgraaf will be giving the CERN colloquium tomorrow, with the title The Future of Fundamental Physics. Here’s the abstract: The reports of the death of physics are greatly exaggerated. Instead, I would argue, we are living in a golden era and the best is yet to come. Not only did the past decades see some amazing breakthrough...

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