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String conference this week, some slides/audio online


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String 05 conference July 11-16 at Toronto

 

here are the scheduled speakers and the topics of their talks

 

http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/04-05/string-theory/strings2005/speakers.html

 

Audio and slides for some of the talks are beginning to be available for download at this page:

http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/audio/05-06/#strings

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String 05 conference July 11-16 at Toronto

 

here are the scheduled speakers and the topics of their talks

 

http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/04-05/string-theory/strings2005/speakers.html

 

Audio and slides for some of the talks are beginning to be available for download at this page:

http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/audio/05-06/#strings

 

Yesterday (Tuesday) evening there was a panel discussion (with audience participation) on the state and future prospects of string theory. It had the title "The Next Superstring Revolution".

 

So far little has come out about how the discussion went and what the general feeling, or consensus, was, if any. Except that a PhD student named Florian Gmeiner said he was quite depressed afterwards.

 

Here is Florian's post on a string blog kept by J. Distler

http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/~distler/blog/archives/000593.html#c002467

 

Florian: "Hi,

it’s a pity that you don’t comment on the panel discussion.

Being a phd student I feel quite depressed after having listened to it."

 

Distler's reply: "My best suggestion is to ignore such silly exercises and get on with the business of doing physics."

 

More discussion, with links to some fragmentary reports from people who were in the audience for the panel discussion

 

http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/blog/archives/000218.html

 

Here is the online poster for the discussion, giving the names of the 8 panelists and an idea of what the organizers hoped would come out

http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/04-05/string-theory/strings2005/panel.html

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Tuesday evening there was a panel discussion (with audience participation) on the current state and future prospects of string theory. It had the title "The Next Superstring Revolution".

 

A PhD student named Florian Gmeiner said he was quite depressed afterwards. Another PhD student Marty Tysanner was critical of Distler for not reporting his sense of the panel discussion because it might be relevant to people choosing a research area to work in.

 

Here is Florian's post on a string blog kept by J. Distler

http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/~distler/blog/archives/000593.html#c002467

 

Here is Marty's post

http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/~distler/blog/archives/000593.html#c002483

 

Here is the conversation so far:

 

Florian: "Hi, it’s a pity that you don’t comment on the panel discussion.

Being a phd student I feel quite depressed after having listened to it."

 

Distler's reply: "My best suggestion is to ignore such silly exercises and get on with the business of doing physics."

 

Marty: "I too am a phd student (starting second year), interested in high energy theory, and am puzzled by your advice to “ignore such silly exercises and get on with the business of doing physics.” I didn’t attend the conference, but have the impression that the panel discussion was relevant to making an informed decision about risks of studying string theory. If that is correct, wouldn’t it be better to lay the cards on the table and discuss it openly so that students have the best available information to make an intelligent decision about their future? To be silent about possible big problems or act as though they don’t exist in the interest of “just doing physics” seems more appropriate to participation in a belief system than doing good science. There seems to be a lot of poorly informed opinion on the subject; let’s hear about it from an informed source!

 

Jacques Distler then replied to Marty as follows:

 

The topic of the Panel discussion was “The Next String Revolution.” If you think that a bunch of people prognosticating about future “revolutions” in their field is of the slightest relevance to anything, then I have a bridge you might be interested in buying …

 

'… making an informed decision about risks of studying string theory.'

 

A formulation of the question that only a reader of Peter Woit’s blog would come up with.

 

Lookit, if you’re trying to decide what to work on, you want to see what progress people are making in the field now, not what progress they think they will be making 10 years from now.

 

Lots of interesting talks at this conference (I wish I had the energy to blog about more than a handful). Lots of interesting things going on in the field. I don’t get the sense that people feel “stuck,” or are thrashing about for stuff to do.

 

As a graduate student, you need to find something to work on now, not 10 years from now. So these prognostications — even if they were accurate, which they surely are not — are irrelevant to you.

 

The other thing you need to do as a graduate student is get trained as broadly as possible. I didn’t mention the survey talks on LHC physics (Friday) and Cosmology (Monday), but there is real data coming in and much more to start coming soon to our field; you need to be prepared to think about it.

 

The most intelligent thing said at the panel discussion was when Martin Rocek (in a question from the audience) suggested that people should be thinking about neutrino masses. They’re being observed now, and they’re a window into very high energy (M new?10 15 GeV) physics.

 

I, personally, would much rather think about that, rather than about when the next Revolution is coming."

 

 

--------other links-------

 

http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/blog/archives/000218.html

 

Here is the online poster for the discussion, giving the names of the 8 panelists and an idea of what the organizers hoped would come out

http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/04-05/string-theory/strings2005/panel.html

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