Monday, October 01, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Nima Arkani-Hamed attracts India to physics

Nima Arkani-Hamed, a winner of the inaugural Milner prize who just sent me a kind and interesting e-mail, is visiting India.

He gave an interview to the Times of India:

Idea of space and time needs to be replaced: Arkani-Hamed
In the interview, he talks about the Higgs discovery, the future of particle physics, evolution of quantum mechanics, unity of string theory and particle physics, validity of the Big Bang theory, and benefits of the Milner prize for physics. You may tell everyone what you think about the questions and Nima's answers (yes, I agree with every word of his here, so my comments wouldn't be too interesting).

So the questions are pretty interesting for you to look at the interview. Try to guess which of the questions contains the topics referred to by the title. Yes, it's the QM question. ;-)

It's October 1st so aside from bureaucracy with monthly and quarterly payments (including the value-added tax), one more thing happened to this blog. The Haloscan/JS-Kit/Echo comments have finally come out of business, kind of gradually: look what a typical high-traffic Echo comment page looks like now.

All of the 70,000+ comments should have been transferred to the new DISQUS 2012 platform, with some relatively minor defects (especially the by-DISQUS ignored "parent comments" nested structure of the replies) that most readers won't even notice and the more careful ones will surely forgive them as signs of the fact that we don't live in an ideal world and we don't read a blog with infinite resources. ;-)

Due to the inconsistent and time-dependent conventions used in the XML file with the Echo comments, the conversion process has been rather difficult – thanks to Wolfram Mathematica for the help – and with all my characteristic modesty, I must tell you that I don't know another blogger on this planet who has successfully migrated from Haloscan+JS-Kit+Echo full evolution tree to DISQUS.

P.S. on health: It's probably the first day today when one could meaningfully argue that I actually feel healthier and more full of energy than when I downgraded my body as "out of proper balance" sometime in mid August. Yesterday, I played floorball again and biking and other sports don't reveal any disorders. For a week, my brown by-products have passed the strictest visual tests. Starting from yesterday or so, symptoms including the bad sweetish and sugar-transforming taste have been reduced to nearly invisible, homeopathic traces of what they were two or three weeks ago. The diet without sugar, gluten, yeast, vinegar, coffee, alcohol, caffeine etc. is brutal – over 90% of things in the supermarket are suddenly "not eligible" – but my discipline is superior and I don't mind looking at these things that I can't have. Of course, all the things that are forbidden may be pretty much compensated and "redone" from other things; they're convertible. Some things I wouldn't be buying in the past – like vegetables (at most, I would be buying fruits) or, if I mention a random product, a cheese with horseradish – are actually fun. And of course, white yoghurts became a really frequent consumable, due to their content of the friendly bacteria cultures, my new small individualist friends (who arguably share the foes, the collectivist yeasts from the kingdom of Fungi, with me: but I downgraded the latter from would-be plants to obnoxious large molecules). Among the hopefully "intensely anti-yeast things", I bought Candix at (mainly Capryllic acid, together with the probiotic cultures and vitamin C), 300 ml of coconut oil, and some goat milk (and yoghurts based on it) which is about 5 times more expensive than the cow milk counterpart(s) but is rich in the capryllic and similar acids that suppress the kingdom of Fungi within our animal body. Your hypothetical contributions (to the piglet at the bottom left of this blog) below $20 will be almost certainly used to buy similar "luxurious" counterparts of usual groceries.

Add to Digg this Add to reddit

snail feedback (17) :

reader Dilaton said...

Nice interview and Nima seems not at all to be frustrated about the future of fundamental physics ... ;-)
Maybe I'm wrong but sometimes I have the impression that the activity at physics SE of users from India is slightly increasing and I'm wondering why this is :-D

Dear Lumo,
I really appreciate the time end effort you have invested into successfully migrating our community to Diskus, such that the comments are still there when I'm looking up an older article :-).


reader Shannon said...

Dilaton, maybe PhD Rajesh Koothrappali has something to do with this SE Indian high interest ;-).
When reading the Arkani-Hamed interview I feel that Space and Time is a concept that soon will be put on the shelf beside heliocentrism ;-)

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Dilaton and Shannon, thanks for your neat comments.

Of course, I have met many extraordinarily excellent physicists - and string theorists - over the years. Many of them were very fun folks, too. I still think that they're exceptions in India.

But the Indian "supremacy" in certain criteria goes years back, e.g. when Larry Summers asked Andy Strominger who had the best production of physics per unit invested dollar.

It was the Indian string theorists, Larry learned, and he made his friend Jeffrey Epstein pay $100,000 to a fund for Indian string theorists - without any bureaucracy, just after a phone call, something that everyone involved who is used to write dozens of pages of grant proposals was impressed by. ;-)

reader anna v said...

Glad to hear you are feeling much better, Lubos. Keep up the good work of staying away of harmful input. You may end up being a yogi in addition to a physicist :)

reader Dilaton said...

There Lumo,

that is good that your colleagues in India obtained some higly deserved support unhindered by bureaucracy, I like this. And the Inidian Express article was a lot of fun to read and made me smile in sympathy :-)

After the foundation of the fundamental physics prize I thought by myself that science journalism probably is less spoiled in India then in Europe or the USA for example. Below an Indian online article that properly celebrated the Milner Prize (as it should have been everywhere ...!), everybody was happy and cheerful in the comments, congratulating Ashoke Sen and wishing him all the best, etc. This was so nice to see in contrast to what happend in most European or American articles reporting about the Milner Prize and the corresponding comments ... :-(0). I'm not sure if this is correct but to me it seems physics is better appreciated by the public (who has access to the Internet and can online-comment :-/) than in some other parts of the world (?) ...

reader Dilaton said...

Ah, I did first not see the last paragraph, did you add it later Lumo?

Anyway, I'm happy about the good news that you are feeling better now too ! I still wish you all the best in recovering further and getting your strength back :-)


reader Shannon said...

Well done Lubos for following your strict diet. Your self-discipline is... just wow ! You must have lost a bit of weight... like 3 or 4 kg ? I can't believe you wouldn't buy vegetables in the past... In my home I force my kids to eat my homemade soups... even when they look like slugs purée :-)

reader Mikael said...

This is a happy article, most importantly on your health of course. I wish you all the best on your way to recover your full strength. It makes me also always happy to hear something good about Nima. The recorded lectures he gave as part of the PSI program at Perimeter Institute are still my favourite ever theoretical physics lectures. One reason is that they live in a happy place between being totally serious educational lectures and fun stories (with a high enough emphasis of being serious). (If anybody asks me for the links I will give them.)

reader Dilaton said...

Jep, want to have the link :-)

I just love Nima talks :-D

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Shannon, most soups I eat have some vegetables, but it's either in complete frozen products or in the restaurants or in other people's places etc., so once or twice a week in average. I've never cooked soups with vegetables myself and I still don't do.

reader Peter F. said...

I too very much like to see your report of your nearly complete recovery/advanced progress toward full health!

One of the aspects of What Is going on that people are usually most stubbornly ignorant or stupid about is their own (often slowly destructive) dietary habits!

Soon there will be not a single aspect of What Is going on that flies under your radar! ;-)

reader Shannon said...

Lubos, you should buy yourself a blender (around 30€). Boil some vegetables and blend them together (like carrots, celery, oignons, turnip, parsnip,leeks... whatever you find. Even if the mix is not great, it is always eatable, and it's good for your health ;-). Bon appétit :-) (for the slugs purée throw green veg only).

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Shannon, I think fresh vegetables is healthier and various blended or processed vegetables is what I can buy in the supermarkets, and what is a part of various deeply frozen meals I would be actually buying, too.

reader Synchronize said...

This song goes well with your recovery.
I also like reading this old post of yours while that song is playing:

reader Dilaton said...

Ha ha, there is some more to cheer up :-):

Mr. Milner has extended the Fundamental Physics Prize by a Physics Frontier Prize, that will give to 3 Physicists, who get nominated for the Milner Prize, 300 000 $ each. The first winners of this new Prize will be announed at the end of the year :-))). (Hope I got it right how it works)

I've just seen the corresponding title in kneemo's side bar, but instead of following this link I've googled to find a nontrolling report about this update of the Milner Prize :-D

Mr. Milner must be a really really a cool nice guy :-)

reader Jason said...

It's great to hear you're feeling better!

reader Mikael said...

Ok, Dilaton, here you go:

There are similar ones for 2010/2011 called "Theorerica Physics".
The first lecture alone about units blew me away.