Friday, February 20, 2015

Barry Kripke wrote a paper on light-cone-quantized string theory

In the S08E15 episode of The Big Bang Theory, Ms Wolowitz died. The characters were sad and Sheldon was the first one who said something touching. I think it was a decent way to deal with the real-world death of Carol Ann Susi who provided Ms Wolowitz with her voice.

The departure of Ms Wolowitz abruptly solved a jealousy-ignited argument between Stewart and Howard revolving around the furniture from the Wolowitz house.

Also, if you missed that, Penny learned that she's been getting tests from Amy who was comparing her intelligence to the intelligence of the chimps. Penny did pretty well, probably more so than Leonard.

But the episode began with the twist described in the title. Barry brought a bottle to Amy because she had previously helped him with a paper that Kripke wrote and that was apparently very successful.

Kripke revealed that the paper was on the wight-cone quantization (I suppose he meant light-cone quantization) of string theory.

It's funny because some of my most well-known papers were about the light-cone quantization (in particular, Matrix theory is a light-cone-quantized description of string/M-theory), and I've been a big fan of this (not terribly widely studied) approach to string theory since 1994 when I began to learn string theory at the technical level. There are no bad ghosts (negative-norm states) or local redundancies in that description (well, except for the \(U(N)\) gauge symmetry if we use the matrix model description) which is "very physical" from a certain perspective.

Throughout the episode, Sheldon was jealous and unhappy that he had left string theory. Penny was trying to help him to "let it go"; this effort turned against her later. Recall that in April 2014, the writers turned Sheldon into a complete idiot who had only been doing string theory because some classmates had been beating him with a string theory textbook and who suddenly decided that he no longer considered string theory a vital branch of the scientific research.

The yesterday's episode fixed that harm to string theory – but it hasn't really fixed the harm done to Sheldon's image. Nothing against Kripke but the path that led him to write papers to string theory seems rather bizarre to me. When he appeared in the sitcom for the first time, I was convinced that we had quite some data that he was just some low-energy, low-brow, and perhaps experimental physicist. Those usually can't write papers on light-cone-quantized string theory.

But the writers have gradually transformed the subdiscipline of physics that Kripke is good at (this was not the first episode in which Kripke looked like a theoretical physicist). Of course, this is a twist that I find rather strange and unlikely but what can we do? Despite his speech disorder and somewhat obnoxious behavior, we should praise a new string theorist. Welcome, Barry Kripke. ;-)

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  1. Luboš Motl wrote (Friday, February 20, 2015):

    > In the S08E15 episode of The Big Bang Theory […] Kripke revealed that the paper was on the
    wight-cone quantization (I suppose he meant light-cone quantization) of string

    I suppose (accounting for the familiar kind and severity of his
    suffering from rhotacism)
    that Kripke actually revealed in this episode that the paper was on the wight-cone
    quantization of stwing theowy.

    (What precisely he meant by that, if anything particular, may be
    subject to forthcoming experimental tests … ;)

  2. Thanks for this update to find the 55+ Community in Massachusetts and make them in single organisation.

  3. Lubos, concerning your remark “I've been a big fan of this (not terribly widely studied) approach to string theory since 1994 when I began to learn string theory at the technical level”, you will be happy to know that (well, you probably already know that) nearly all of Barton Zwiebach’s excellent introductory text A First Course in String Theory uses light-cone quantization.

  4. Great. Maybe it's the natural instinctive approach for undergrads, which I was when I began with string theory...

  5. True--I thought for sure that Kripke was a roboticist after his psycho robot competition, or at least an experimentalist. My view of string theorists (or theorists in general) is that in a lab of any sort, they are unable to tie their shoe laces. The Pauli effect is real--(Whenever Pauli got near a lab, the experiment went haywire..fortunately I had a hands-on lab partner and mostly was there for decoration and to help with the theory and write-ups.)

    Just what is Sheldon supposed to be doing these days if he is not doing string theory? I haven't been watching. I miss his battles with Sarah Gilbert.

  6. Dear Gordon, Sheldon is working on dark matter, some aspects of it that are pretty much close to string-like phenomenology, actually. ;-)

    Exactly - for Kripke to be a better robotics engineer than Howard; and now a more successful string theorist than Sheldon - he must be a really versatile genius. :-)

  7. OT: I have been skimming Max Tegmark's book, "The Mathematical Universe"..I had previously read his arxiv paper and found it interesting.
    As a gratuitous aside, with virtually no support, Max states (as you did) that he doesn't think there is any other intelligent life in the Universe and mentions the Drake equation, a pseudo-non equation if there ever was one. For many reasons, which I won't elaborate on here, there has to be advanced, self-aware life elsewhere (well within epsilon). The compelling question is whether or not it exists here :)
    Well, Max does start a chapter with a quote from the great Soviet physicist, Lev Landau "Cosmologists are often wrong, but never in doubt."--something Feynmann found out after attending a Cosmology conference.

  8. One more comment OT if you have the patience.

    Max says he was blown away by the elegance and logic of Hugh Everett's Phd thesis, which convinced him of the many worlds view. He said that it is misunderstood and that Everett never did think of the wave function of splitting----just the ongoing time evolution of the deterministic Schrodinger equation as it interacted with things...

    I may read it just for fun and am sure I can learn a few things from it...after all John Wheeler was his supervisor (and Feynmann's)--but, hey,
    Sidney Coleman was Lee Smolin's...I guess all the greats got saddled with a few duds.

  9. kashyap vasavadaFeb 20, 2015, 5:24:00 PM

    Let me venture to ask a dumb question. Does "light cone quantization" lead to a spectrum of all zero mass particles or there is a spectrum of massless and massive particles? It may very well be that I misunderstood the meaning of the word "light cone quantization".

  10. "and perhaps experimental physicist" Theory fears Pyrex, and well it should. Measure vacuum trace chiral anisotropy selective to matter, DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.15445 Chiral Eötvös experiment, chiral microwave rotational temperature, chiral enthalpy of fusion, chiral pawnbroker rotation.

    Rewrite theory so it empirically works. Academia is elegant, industry is useful. "Useful" pays the bills - and is not embarrassed by being elegant.

  11. "some low-energy, low-brow, and perhaps experimental physicist"

    Come, now, don't be mean.

  12. And since this blog entry is about The Big Bang Theory and to further raise Lubos blood pressure, I distinctly remember one episode of the series where Howard mentions that Sheldon's favorite interpretation of QM is the many worlds interpretation (but that they are all equivalent anyway).

  13. Thanks for the amusing and interesting reports, including the partial synergy I have with Tegmark (not about the reasons LOL).

    While watching what's new with Greece (rumors about a deal, holy cow), I saw Carroll's blog about many worlds interpretation again.

    Annoying. For example, Moshe Rozali tells him all the right things but in such a submissive way that it gets completely lost.

    The main point is that the probabilities derived from QM reduce to probabilities in classical statistical mechanics (on the phase space) in the classical physics, once decoherence is taken into account, so if the "other possible outcomes" were considered "real" in quantum mechanics, the "other possible, unrealized outcomes" must be considered "real" in classical statistical mechanics as well. This just follows from classical physics' being a limit of quantum mechanics!

    But that's not how we thought about probability in the classical world. A reason to see that the claims by the likes of Carroll that we're "led" to MWI by quantum mechanics are self-evident rubbish.

  14. Sorry, Kashyap, but I think that you have misunderstood not only "light cone quantization" but also the phrase "string theory" and, I think, even the very phrase "theory", too.

    Light cone quantization is a formalism, a description of string theory. But it's still the same theory - in this case string theory - that we are describing. And the mass spectrum obviously only depends only on the theory, not on the description.

    String theory's mass spectrum consists of a finite number of massless particles and an infinite tower of massive particles. I have no idea why you decided that all particles should be massless. It makes no sense. There is no logic in your reasoning.

  15. This can't make me upset, I still view Sheldon as someone who is not real haha.

  16. Yes. My point is that the Internet was around long before the web and that the web is what made internet accessible to the rest of the world.

  17. Thanks Lubos for clarification. Obviously I did not understand the word "light cone" in the "light cone quantization" I need to study some more!

  18. There was the episode where HOWARD! gave Sheldon his box of tools because Sheldon was going to show him that the could do engineering and actually fix something and then Sheldon asks, "How do I open it."

  19. Note--
    "guest" is me.

  20. Yes, Moshe's answers seem clear, as did his replies to questions on PhysicsStack.
    Sean's blog is getting too annoying to read. Reading Dirac,say, is like looking in a clear mountain stream for gold nuggets. Reading Sean's Boltzmann Brains, MW, and philosophical maunderings about ontology etc is like sluicing through tons of muck contaminated with every feminist and current PC trope in order to find a lump of iron pyrite (fool's gold).
    Once you find yourself in a discussion that throws around "epistemological" etc, you might as well just die...The person you are arguing with just uses the "squid defense"--
    disappears in a cloud of ink...

    Here is a skit on Oxford philosophers that I have posted before--

  21. I bet you haven't even read Spock's paper "Mathematical Consequences of Nonhomogeneous Convergences Between Orthogonal Unbridged n-spaces With Substantiating Field Measurements"...:)

  22. To clear the air, there has to be an episode featuring the real deal, Luboš Motl, starring as himself. ;)

  23. Dear Kashyap, what I find annoying is your implicit suggestion that you *know* something about light-cone quantization even though it is 100% clear that you don't have the slightest clue.

    If you had spent at least 30 seconds of your life in the past with that, you would know that it's a description of a theory in terms of slices with a "light-like time" x^+ = x^0 + x^{d-1} equal to a constant.

    There is absolutely no reason why this quantization should say that all particles are massless. The spacetime is sliced in that way but there is of course no reason and no claim that any particle moves along the light cones only. It's just complete and total stupidity and there is no justification for you to pretend that you were participating in an intelligent discussion.

  24. True - and his blog is actually rather close to what the feminists would love to do out of physics.

  25. Heh. He did make clear from the start he didn't understand what he was talking about and your responses have been informative. I'd call this a fairly intelligent discussion under the circumstances.

  26. Can't credibly comment on an episode without the visual aid so,

    The Big Bang Theory season 8 episode 15 "the comic book store regeneration".

  27. I have one comment. The premise that Mrs Wolowitz would die visiting Florida is very credible. It's a tropical swamp for christ sake! Who knows what kind of bacteria fugus and general nastiness is growing in that atmospheric soup. Tailor made to kill old people, with their compromised immune systems.

  28. She had a nap and didn't wake up - I would guess that due to her excess weight, it was some cardiovascular problem, wasn't it?

  29. You're the doc. It just seems to me there's a big difference between Los Angeles and Florida. An old man I knew died under a similar senario, a trip from Sacramento to Tampa. But he took ill in an obvious way that was exasperated by the climate shock.

    What would be worse for a heart attack, dry heat or moist?

    Off the cuff answer would be neither. Cold climate would be the coronary killer.

    If it were a respiratory thing, like her airway closed up suddenly, then Florida is the killer.

  30. And who can be trusted?

  31. Dear papertiger, just to be sure, I have lots of evidence that your scenario is good enough to die.

    During a week in Nice a few years ago, I had the flu-like symptoms - almost certainly one of those episodes that actually were kickstarted by the yeast - so that I am confident that the moist and heat may be bad for many people.

  32. How is that yeast thing doing with you? Hope it's clearing up, getting better, or in remission.
    Which ever more closely applies.

  33. Thanks for asking, I was planning to write a blog post, and I consider myself "cured" to the extent I was before I realized what many of the minor things were.

  34. Since you enjoyed watching Schindlers List, I can recommend to you another Oscar-award winning Spielberg movie about the Holocaust called The Last Days with interviews of 5 Jewish Holocaust survivors. There’s also a critical edition of this movie called the Last Days of the Big Lie

  35. Wasn't there an episode where Kripke and Sheldon collaborated and Kripke did better work to Sheldon's chagrin?