George Musser who writes for Scientific American has authored an unusually (for SciAm) scientifically oriented blog entryUpdate:See also a newer article on 11-dimensional supergravity

The Emperor, Darth Vader, and the Ultimate Ultimate Theory of Physicsabout the 35th birthday of the maximally supersymmetric i.e. \(\NNN=4\) Yang-Mills theory in \(d=4\). It's not just the anniversary. A conference is taking place at Caltech between Thursday and Saturday (it ends today),

Conference "\(\NNN=4\) Super Yang-Mills Theory, 35 Years After".The list of big shots who are participating is spectacular.

*An approximate photographic reconstruction of the \(\NNN=4\) Yang-Mills theory or "Darth Vader" as it was renamed by Nima (no idea why but my guess is that he wasn't on crack). Does she look younger or older than 35 years?*

This quantum field theory has become one of the modern era's "quantum harmonic oscillators". It involves much more nontrivial structures and relationships than the quantum harmonic oscillator but it has a comparably far-reaching and intellectual diverse impact on a large fraction of the landscape of the modern theoretical physics research.

One of the most efficient ways to determine that someone who talks about high-energy physics is a hopeless and worthless deluded crank is to notice that he either dismisses the importance of the \(\NNN=4\) gauge theory or he doesn't even know what it is.