Thursday, March 11, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Robbert Dijkgraaf will review the IPCC

Robbert Dijkgraaf is a Dutch string theorist and mathematical physicist. He has discovered many things.

The one most cited of them remains a more complete version of screwing string theory pioneered by your humble correspondent. Together with the Verlinde brothers, they later found it independently and gave it a new funny name, matrix string theory.

(I have actually also considered that name but at the end, I decided it was too arrogant. Could one invention of myself be given a name that only differs by one important word, "matrix", from the name of the whole discipline, "string theory"?)

Robbert's 2009 general popular TEDxAmsterdam talk about the theories of the Universe. If you don't see any video above, go to the individual page of this post.

But his name is also linked to the WDVV formula, Dijkgraaf-Witten invariants, insights in topological string theory, matrix models, and other things. And by the way, he is also a very good artist as we could have seen from various string conference posters he drew.

Dijkgraaf and your humble correspondent have written a small paper together - about the higher-order DVV-style interactions in matrix string theory. And yes, I took the Wikipedia picture of him at Harvard.

Scientific politics

But of course, the topic of this posting is different. Robbert Dijkgraaf is the current president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and a co-chair of the InterAcademy Council, an international umbrella group that includes similar academies.

A matrix string, also known as a slinky. By the way, I recently found a new method to derive the U(N) matrix model in the "reverse way", by adding bilocal degrees of freedom, corresponding to the KK-modes in the new third M2-brane direction, to the free string.

Because this umbrella group has just been chosen by Ban Ki-Moon as the force responsible for reviewing the IPCC, Dijkgraaf - together with Lu Yongxiang, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences - is almost guaranteed to play the key role in the independent review panel that will look at Pachauri's climate panel:

AFP, Wall Street Journal, others
On March 22nd, Dijkgraaf et al. are destined to choose the members of the new committee. The report will be released in August. Robbert has said that the panel won't really look at the climate science. It will only be concerned with the procedures. Dijkgraaf wants the IPCC to collect and fix errors in a proper way, inform about its results in the scientific fashion, and so on.

I am not so sure whether the procedures and the science can be so cleanly separated. Robbert's panel may find - and it almost certainly will find because they're generally well-known - mistakes in the collective IPCC methodology.

But it's clear that if the IPCC is going to survive, with the same basic job description as it has today, it will have to replace these tricks or "mistakes" by other tricks and new "mistakes" in their methodology so that the basic conclusion is not changed: the nations of the world have to be united and fight against a threat of climate change.

There exists a certain lower bound on the number of "alarming findings" that are necessary to justify the existence of monsters of the IPCC type. And they simply have to squeeze them in, whatever the precise methodology is.

Alternatively, of course, it's conceivable that the new independent panel will fix the IPCC so thoroughly that the IPCC will honestly admit that there exists no worrisome dynamics and no justification for the existence of such an international panel.

With all my immense respect for Robbert Dijkgraaf, I have some doubts whether the panel he will choose will be able or willing to end up with such conclusions once the evidence shows them that they're the right conclusions.

So I am afraid that the result of the new panel can only be about subtle rearrangements of the tricks that are needed for the untrue propositions - about dangerously melting glaciers, dying rainforests, skyrocketing sea levels, Dijkgraaf's home country disappearing under the ocean, etc. - to be told to the public as the result of science.

In some sense, a permutation of the tricks is the only thing one can get if he refuses to look at the science itself. It can change the detailed microscopic information but the macroscopic quantities - about the level of alarm etc. - are pre-determined and no local, microscopic fixes can correct their values.

Let me explain this observation using matrix string theory. ;-)

One can obtain different states in different sectors in the symmetric orbifold CFT by acting with the Dijkgraaf-Verlinde-Verlinde interaction vertex (or the Dijkgraaf panel). These states are associated with different permutations. But by changing the permutations, you won't change the total "P^+", the light-like longitudinal momentum. It's conserved. :-(

Many people say that that the work of the new panel will be a whitewash and Robbert has been manipulated into it because of his naivite - his opinion that he can make the world a better place by recommending generally positive things but without hurting the thugs. And I am afraid that I understand where these projections come from.

But in August, we will see whether this is the right memo. Let me say one thing: while I am not too hopeful that the new panel can really improve the deepest causes of the IPCC problems, I do think that Robbert Dijkgraaf is a genuinely independent scholar (from the IPCC types).

While Dijkgraaf says that there will be no preconditions, he has been heard as saying some potentially embarrassing things in the Netherlands, such as:
“What we observed the last few years, is that within the scientific community they moved meticulously towards a consensus, something everybody can agree to.”
Well, a community surely can't move towards a "consensus" on something it doesn't understand, can it? And if it does, then this motion has nothing whatsoever to do with scientific, rational, or honest reasoning. Moreover, there is clearly no consensus about these matters, is there? Maybe, we just misunderstand what he was saying? Maybe, he's just "observing" but not "endorsing" this utterly unscientific methodology.

However, even if it is so, I don't have any indication that Robbert has the slightest idea about the climate science so my impressions and expectations remain decidedly mixed.

Add to Digg this Add to reddit

snail feedback (4) :

reader Brian G Valentine said...

That's fine but will he (correctly) recommend to disband the whole IPCC sewer and encourage the UN to focus on meaningful things like disaster relief instead?

Or will he instead come back with a bunch of sappy "recommendations" that will allow IPCC fraud to perpetuate ad nauseam?

("Remember, now, don't quote hysterical fantasies from socialist non-governmental organizations and the like as 'evidence'.")

reader Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Motl,

You mention under the slinky diagram that you have done some work recently that uses bilocal degrees of freedom.

Does the validity of using bilocal degrees of freedom in your work remain intact because you are not associating the degrees of freedom with specific points in spacetime?

This is in reference to -- I was originally assuming that bilocal degrees of freedom were not valid objects altogether. Now I imagine that the flaw with quantum graffiti lies in how the bilocal degrees of freedom are associated with points.

Your insights would be greatly appreciated, if you have the time and interest.

- Shawn

reader Lumo said...

Dear Shawn,

good questions. Indeed, I would agree with you that bilocal fields in spacetime are problematic, at least in generic cases, because they contradiction the locality of a theory. Well, I don't want to say this thing too strictly but it's true at least morally.

The bilocal degrees of freedom in the matrix theory context are not bilocal in spacetime but in an auxilliary space, the world sheet or world volume of a string (or something that generalizes it). It's a well-known fact that such things appear in Matrix theory quite often. See e.g. Melvin matrix models where they appear in various "twisted" orbifold compactifications etc.

The point of my matrix theory comment is that non-Abelian degrees of freedom at one point can be considered as bilocal degrees of freedom linking pairs of points. This is bilocality in the worldvolume which, in any useful sense, always gets identified with local points in spacetime whenever the bilocal degrees of freedom matter.

The reason is that if they're light, the spacetime points corresponding to the two world sheet points must inevitably be close to each other - in some sense, Planckian distance from one another. If it is so, they're local in spacetime.

Best wishes

reader Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this information, and for the link to the manuscript.

Much appreciated, as always.

- Shawn

P.S. The veverka are out in full force this weekend. Hopefully the weather's being good for you too.