This year the annual conference in string theory, celebrated at Roma, has not had an internet live TV broadcast as it happened the last year.
Because of that reason I didn't do a post about the topic. I have waited until the slides where out and I could have read some of them. The slides of conferences, if they are detailed enough, are a good thing because they are addressed to non specialists in that particular field, so they can be easily read, and they condense a great amount of information from various papers.
You can get access to the lists of talks, wth the corresponding slides, here.
I have read a few ones already. The first was the one given by Howava. I was greatly interested in reading how he defended his theory against the recent papers with showed the problems of renormalizability it seems to actually has, despite of being power counting renormalizable. Well, I didn't see any mention of it. The slide talks about the "foundational" papers on the subject and explains it's relation to the M2 brane of M-theory, to the CDT (causal dynamics triangulations) result that in the short length the effective dimension of space time is near 2, and that his theory resembles that, and a few other topics. I find specially curious that one of the motivations for his theory is that string theory violates Lorentz symmetry. Well, I am not sure why he says that, but certainly said without further explanation looks weird. It is a pity that there was not live streaming, nor non-live videos, of the talks so one can't see what questions people made him.
About the F-theory GUT's there were three talks. One from Vafa. It's ppt (than not pdf) is very schematic and without some previous knowledge on the subject I am not sure how much information one can get from it. Anyway, if one reads the papers I cited in my post about F-theory for non experts maybe he could get a much better understanding. Vafa makes a decent work explaining the two foundational papers, the paper in cosmology, and the paper in LHC footprints, that I have read. It also talks about some papers I haven't read, as for example the ones in gauge mediation (although I had read some resumes of the results). The conclusions seem to be that there are two clear predictions from their models. One, in cosmology, is that the dark matter candidate is the gravitino. that rules out models on WIMPS and implies that ATIC, PAMELA and similar results that seems to indicate an anomalous ratio of positrons over electrons over certain ranks of energies would have astrophysical origins. Or not exit at all. Recent results from FERMI/GLAST seem to contradcit ATIC and PAMELA (see, for example this post by Jester, in resonances blog) would agree with this prediction.
The other prediction mentioned on the slide is that there will be some charged track on the LHC leaving the detector. It would be due to the NLSP whose lifetime, 10^1-4 secs, is long enough to allow it scape from the detector.
There are two more talks about F-theory. One by Sakura Schafer-Namek. I have read it but from all the part related to spectral covers I coudn't get any useful informrmation. I simply don't know enough form that mathemathical topic. The other paper in F-theory is the one by Jonathan Heckman. It is centred in flavor hierarchies for quarks and leptons. Well, an interesting topic for sure, but not my favourite one. Anyway the slide is good enough to get some general idea of the topic from it.
Another paper I read is the one of Strominger about the KERR/CFT correspondence. About that topic I only had read a paper dated from the last summer. Well, I am not sure if too much progress has been achieved so far neither I have clear whether the whole field is terribly significant, but possibly that is my fault.
Possibly the most awaited paper was the one from Nima-Arkani-Hamed about twistors and the S-Matrix. There are rumorology out there saying that it's not a paper in string theory but an attempt to create some kind of supersymmetric GUT diferent from string theory. I haven't still read the slide and I can't say anything about. But for sure it is a theory that many people will discuses sooner or later, possibly when the actual paper on the subject would be out.
I'll possibly read more slides later, but I am not sure if I will post about them. But everybody can try to rad the linked slides by themselves. There are good choices that anyone with a decent basic on high energy physics could get some amount of info from them.
UPDATE: In a thread in physicis forums someone, seemengly well informed, said that actually Horava recognized the problems recently found in his theory in his talk as strings 2009. Also the same physic forums poster explained that the actual problems where that one couldn't decouplee the gosths from the theory. Curiosulsly that has lead to a posible reinterpretation of that gosths as dark matter. I have not read the relevant papers but at first sight that looks very bizaree. Gosths are negative norm states tht usually appear in the quantizationo of gauge theories as intermediate states that can be shown not to appear in external legs, i.e., are no observabbles. Toclaims thatusually unwanted negative normed states can go in external lines and actually represent viable particles (in the form of dark matter) seems like one could try to do the same thing for any theory and one wouldn't need gauge theories. I suppose that there will be something special in that gosths that make them diferent from the usual ones and permits people doing such conjectures, but, as I said, looks an a priory contravied claim.
P.S. I am looking for an easier way to use LaTeX in this blog that the one I am using (writing the latex code in the url of an image generated by an external LaTeX server). If I don't find a good solution I would seriously consider the option to migrate this blog to wordpress where writing LaTeX is "natively" supported (that's the reason I make an extensive use of it in my other blog).