## Monday, May 06, 2013

### Proposal for an Ig Milner prize (or trantor prize)

Ok. Now that we have the Milner  prize I think that it is time to go a little bit further. The nobel prize has it's counterpart, the Ig nobel, so it would be fun to have an  Ig Milner. or Trantor prize. remember Trantor is the planet that is the centre of the galactic empire in the Asivmovs book's about the foundation.  In that literary universe physics has discovered almost everything and the physicists mainly get prestige by doing formal or ideological revisions of the already established physics which have not consequence in making new discoverings (they even don't care about it).

Well, the idea would be to give a symbolic prize to works that are superficially correct but are totally useless, or even make no sense at all when one looks at it's closely. I think that they would also be works which are specially ambitious and prepotent. To avoid injuring people who is beginning and could get too injured in their professional life by the bad press I guess that it would be better that the candidates to the prize would be people with a well established position.

Also it could be given a prize -maybe in an slightly separate category- to papers that are correct but specially fun, or exotic.

For the first edition I would make a few suggestions.

One candidate would be the AMPS paper about firewalls. Better than trying to explain the details myself  I suggest reading some posts of Lubos on the subject, this being the last one at the date of writing this:

### An apologia for firewalls

An even better candidate, in my humble opinion, would be Lee Smollin for his last book. I would link the Lubos review but I think that would be to unfair because it is well known that "crackpot" is the more polite word that could characterise Lubo's opinion about Smollin.   That's why I give a link to Sabines blog, who also have a closer knowledge of Lee because she was a former collaborative of him: Book review: “Time Reborn” by Lee Smolin.

Well, my last candidate would be for the exotic side. It is an article where the author - Benjamin K. Tippett - designs a metric that could fit a literary writing by Francis Wayland Thurston. The whole felling of the paper is something like a scientific description of the worlds of chuthlhu. I give here the link and the abstract:

# Possible Bubbles of Spacetime Curvature in the South Pacific

In 1928, the late Francis Wayland Thurston published a scandalous manuscript in purport of warning the world of a global conspiracy of occultists. Among the documents he gathered to support his thesis was the personal account of a sailor by the name of Gustaf Johansen, describing an encounter with an extraordinary island. Johansens descriptions of his adventures upon the island are fantastic, and are often considered the most enigmatic (and therefore the highlight) of Thurstons collection of documents.
We contend that all of the credible phenomena which Johansen described may be explained as being the observable consequences of a localized bubble of spacetime curvature. Many of his most incomprehensible statements (involving the geometry of the architecture, and variability of the location of the horizon) can therefore be said to have a unified underlying cause.
We propose a simplified example of such a geometry, and show using numerical computation that Johansens descriptions were, for the most part, not simply the ravings of a lunatic. Rather, they are the nontechnical observations of an intelligent man who did not understand how to describe what he was seeing. Conversely, it seems to us improbable that Johansen should have unwittingly given such a precise description of the consequences of spacetime curvature, if the details of this story were merely the dregs of some half remembered fever dream.
We calculate the type of matter which would be required to generate such exotic spacetime curvature. Unfortunately, we determine that the required matter is quite unphysical, and possess a nature which is entirely alien to all of the experiences of human science. Indeed, any civilization with mastery over such matter would be able to construct warp drives, cloaking devices, and other exotic geometries required to conveniently travel through the cosmos.

Of course everyone is free to make his own suggestions, and, if they don't like the idea, to explain their reasons.

## Thursday, March 21, 2013

### And the third milnor prizes goes to Polyakov (maybe)

I didn't write a single line about the second milner prize so I'll write a brief post about the third.

As can be read in "not even wrong" and in the blog of matt strassler it seems (but is not confirmed at the time of writing this entry) that the winner of the this third prize is Alexander Polyakov.

Everybody who has ever read a book on string theory know the name because of the Polyakov's action and the Polyakov path integral that are the very basics of the worldsheet aspect of string theory. Besides string theory Polyakov has made very valuable contributions to QFT such as instantons and magnetics mopopoles.

All in one it is clear that the prize is absolutely well deserved. In fact my only concern is why he hasn't also a nobel prize. It is absolutely clear that there are people awarded with a nobel who have by far less merits than Polyakov for the prize. Well, at this point I think that among theorists the milner prize should be more valued than the nobel not only for the money but for the prestige of the previous winners.

By the way, if someone wonders why I write so few posts in the last times there is an easy answer: The LHC is doing a hard work to hide any possible evidence of physics beyond the standard model. The Higgs is of the most boring type possible and no SUSY, no extra dimensions no nothing. Well, this is not the end of the world for theorethical physcis and it is sure that some surprises could be around the corner (but maybe not where people usually expects them xD) but it would have been fun to have some BTSM physics in colliders at this point.

## Friday, November 23, 2012

### Mathajax, note 10.1 and more

I have become really tired of the problems to have a proper way to display math in blogspot. I had previously used a latex renderer but I have had problems with it. On one hand the server has changed in a few occasions, and in another the blogspot people have deleted the modifications of the template that allows the to be used.

Because of that I had become somewhat frustrated. After all some entries with maths in this blog doesn't work any more and I don't like the idea of change the template every time that the server of latex changes in the future.  I have been observing that from a months to now the Lubos blog uses mathajax and it looks like it is an stable solution so I have decided to give it a chance.

This a text equation using the mathajax plugin:

$ds ^2=H^{-2} dt^2 + H^2 dx^2$

Ok, to have an easy way to display formulas is fun, but it is only part of the game. You need to write them. That seams a trivial task, write the latex code. Yeah, it is truth, I know the latex code for math and I know how to write a full Latex document also, of course. But, you know, that is "last year technology. I mean, this year has arrived the note 10.1, the tablet version of the note family of tablets. It was presented in February  at the MWC in Barcelona (Spain) and it arrived the stores (and my home the very first day it was on sell) this September. Among the many goodies of that tablet is the math handwriting recognition that you can see working in this video:

That feature works really ok. it recoginzed well ther formula  (the plain text handwriting recognition works also fine, of course) and send the equation to wolphram alpha (if you want so) but it has an annoying aspect, it doesn't allows you to get the latex code that correspond to the formula. This feature has also been added to the phablets and I have used it in the note 5.3 (the original) form around march, long before getting the note 10.1. That means that writing an equation using latex has become a "too primitive" way to do things.

Well, I have been learning to do android programs. But as far as I have had a bad experience in the recent past with writing for the symbian platform (I ended an app, send it to the nokia store, passed the quality standards, but never seen it published in the store so I have not made any money of the app) I have been somewhat reluctant to get too involved in that business. Still I have learned enough to know the theory of how to do a virtual keyboard that could allow write latex in a really easy way. I mean, for writing an alpha letter you need to type \alpha, and similar for other greek letters. It would be easiest to have an $\alpha$ symbol in the keyboard and that when you type it it would appear in the suggestion bar (candidate view) the option to write the latex code (that would be the default one), the mathajax code or the actual character. And similarly for many other math symbols. Maybe in the future I could make this keyboard, but if somewhat reading this blog entry decides to do it before I wouldn't ask him any money for the idea ;).

Well, a latex keyboard would be fun. But it would be better still that the math recognition of the note would allow the option to show the latex code. I know that there is a SDK for the S-pen of the note, but I don't know if it allows access to the code of the math recognition program (I seriously doubt it, but I still have not watched too much the SDK). If so it would be fine that somewhat would try to write a variant of the S-note program that would include that latex presentation option. Of course if someone of Samsung reads this entry they are invited to include that functionality in an update. I really like the note tablet and I absolutly think that is the best tablet of the moment, specially for people who need to use equations often. If that LaTeX extra functionality is added it would convert a wonderful product into an even better one :)-

## Sunday, August 12, 2012

### The arrival of the Milner prices of fundamental physic

This month came by surprise a new international prize for physicists. It is oriented for works of relevance in theoretic development, even if the theories worked hasn't be tested and they can't probably be for a large amount of time. It is created by a Russian physic doctorate Yuri Milner and it is named Fundamental Physics Prize.

## Wednesday, July 25, 2012

### Strings 2012

The LHC rules the physics blogosphere, specially since it's recent announcement about the Higgs. None doubt of the importance of the discovery and, in general, the labour of the LHC. But that doesn't meant that nothing else is going on on physics. On the experimental side we have new experimental results on dark matter detection: on the negative by xenon amd on the possitive (but in a very non fable way because of the early state of the experiment) by COUPP-4 On the theoretical side also there are some news. For example those last days we have assisted to a "black hole firewall" revolution of which I'll make a separate entry soon. But, in the theoretical side, I think that it is quite important to notice that this weak have begun the annual congress in string theory, that is, strings 2012. The place where it is celebrated is the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (in collaboration with the Max Planck institute). This is the web page Strings 2012
Some slides are available (and I guess that the links with an x that actually don't really have a pdf although they point to one in the future will have it). Some videos are also available. I'll try to see some of the important conferences and to read the slides. For now my next post is planned on the "firewall revolution" but maybe I'll post also another entries about this conference. Update: You can read a brief analisys of some of the conferences in Lubo's blog Strings 2012, a few words

## Sunday, March 04, 2012

### The LHC blues

Ok, I am being deliberately a little bit negative in the title. But the sad truth is that the runs of the LHC at the 7 TeV centre of mass energy have been somewhat bit disappointing in the respect of bringing us confirmed new physic. It has been a long time since my last post in this blog (I have keep posting in my Spanish blog) and in the while there were some interesting claims, extensively reported in the blogosphera such as the famous OPERA maybe super-luminous neturinos and the corresponding maybe rectifications. Also there were some claims about anomalies in LHC b related to CP symmetry violation, recently confirmed by the CDF analysis. A pity that this can be own to bad calculations in QCD and not to new physic. This negative results have also meant that most of phenomenological models for new physics have been driven into a very bad position. The only real almost discovering has been a Higgs at 125 TeV. Now we are near to a restart of the LHC activity to a somewhat increased energy, 8 TeV. And it is expected a lot more luminosity (around 19 fb^-1). So, maybe some new physics could appear, or maybe not. In the purely theoretical side I have not seen any revolutionary paper, and not even a simple "good although not amazing" one. At most some curious ideas that are beautiful but not particularly useful. Ok, again maybe I have been too negative again, but if you compare the amount of exciting new results in physic with the ones in fields such as consume technology (with a mobile/tablet revolution going on) and the revision that society and economy are undergoing right now high energy physics is going very slow. Anyway, I have keep reading most blogs, some of the new papers and rereading with care some not so new ones so I will come to blog again with some more regularity. Of course if the LHC is merciful enough to give as some new physic to deal with I will be happier with the task ;).

## Monday, August 29, 2011

### Geometric Models of Matter

The last Friday there was a very interesting paper in arxiv. I am really busy those days (and it will be so until around the 15 of September)so I couldn't still read ot completely. Still I think that I must leave notice of it here.

The paper in question is title like the post entry, Geometric Models of Matter. It has three authors: Michael Atiyah, Nicholas S. Manton, Bernd J. Schroers. Among them the best known one is, of course, sir Michaell Atiyhay, a very well known field medallist in mathemathics.

The abstract of the paper reads:

Inspired by soliton models, we propose a description of static particles in terms of Riemannian 4-manifolds with self-dual Weyl tensor. For electrically charged particles, the 4-manifolds are non-compact and asymptotically fibred by circles over physical 3-space. This is akin to the Kaluza-Klein description of electromagnetism, except that we exchange the roles of magnetic and electric fields, and only assume the bundle structure asymptotically, away from the core of the particle in question. We identify the Chern class of the circle bundle at infinity with minus the electric charge and the signature of the 4-manifold with the baryon number. Electrically neutral particles are described by compact 4-manifolds. We illustrate our approach by studying the Taub-NUT manifold as a model for the electron, the Atiyah-Hitchin manifold as a model for the proton, CP^2 with the Fubini-Study metric as a model for the neutron, and S^4 with its standard metric as a model for the neutrino.

Ok, as I said I still didn't read the full article so I can't say many detaills. But the idea seems simple. They are inspired in the Skyrme modell. There there is a group-valued field from :$$mathbb{R}^3$$

$$U:mathbb{R}^3 \rightarrow G$$.

where the lie group is usually SU(2). In that construction specific characteristics of the proton and neutron (baryon number and so on)are associated to topological constructions, that aare, automatically, conserved quantities.

In the paper they generalize the idea in order to construct another particles, for example the electron. They must choose different kinds of manifolds, and maps. Also they use different topological invariants and so on.

But the idea is that they try to describe matter, and it's associated charges, in basic to purely geometric/topologyc constructions. Of course we are talking about different constructions that the one's involved in gauge theories. The proposal of Atiyah and all somewhat replace the need of an ordinary QFT to begin with. IF I have understood right they only have by now an static construction, that is, they don't have a way to give a dynamics to their theory. That means that it remains a lot of work to be done before they get something remotely similar to the actual world.

But, still, it is a beautiful (at least mathematically) idea. For sure Einstein would have loved it. Let's remember that in GR the space-time has a geometric nature while matter has a non-geometric one. In that sense it is an inelegant theory. If this construction works we would have a fully geometric description of the universe. If that works the immediate answer would be: the resulting theory would be equivalent to ordinary QFT in curved (well, maybe we would first ask for flat space-time9 space time for usual situations? would it give some advantage, other than aesthetic? could it be promoted to a quantum gravity?

Whatever the answer to these questions could be I think that it looks like a theory that deserves some further development. Even if it fails like a viable physical theory it could be a source of new ideas for existing ones.