Thursday, January 20, 2011

In The News V

This year's FQXi grants have been announced! Apparently, only members of the Old Boys' club are qualified to think about The Nature of Time. Of course, none of them seem to know the first thing about Quantum Gravity, but since when does it matter what you know? As usual, there are two, nice, well behaved token females, just for good form.


  1. As usual, money only for the rich.

  2. Historically, the breakthroughs are more likely in the minds of courageous grad students and postdocs. Recall that Dirac was only 26 when he proposed the now famous Dirac equation, Riemann a mere 28 when he extended Differential geometry to n dimensions and Einstein was but 26 when he published his four groundbreaking papers. Now these, of course, are the years these great minds unveiled their results, but seeds of these ideas go back even years before that, to their early twenties.

    I'm certain there are many young minds that are actively thinking about the deeper issues, in revolutionary new ways. To these minds, we might ask, in a Bohr like fashion, "We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. But is it crazy enough to be correct?"

  3. Kneemo, I know the precise age of some of these people ... and I assure you that they are not 26.

  4. Do you really think you know more about quantum gravity than Strominger does? Really?

  5. The fact that awardees do not fit the profile of a Dirac or Einstein speaks volumes about how useful this choice will be for foundations of physics.
    (Disclaimer: ths writer came up with some ideas under 30)

    Is it crazy enough to be correct? Well, they make testable predictions..

  6. Yes, I agree, that is my whole point. The funds aren't reaching these people directly. In the best case, they trickle down indirectly. It would be nice to see a long list of young guns with fresh new ideas.

  7. Rhys, yes. That is, if you will agree that the correct criteria for assessment is experimental evidence. Rhys, Nature may be cruel, but She is not corrupt.

    And I agree that an organisation like FQXi should be giving most of their funds to young, talented people who would otherwise not be supported.

  8. In the context of quantum gravity, to what are you referring when you say "experimental evidence"?

  9. Naughty Rhys, you have not been paying attention. The list includes:

    1. Riofrio's confirmed prediction of Omega_b
    2. Riofrio's account of horizons, supernovae data, lunar results, Pioneer anomaly etc.
    3. Neutrino mass fits giving antineutrino mass predictions that agree with MINOS results
    4. Said 0.00117eV antineutrino equivalence with CMB temperature
    5. HEP mixing matrix anomalies (quantitatively accounted for by arithmetic information)
    6. The whole rewrite of the Standard Model using modern twistor techniques and operad polytopes
    7. The NON observation of SUSY, grav waves, God particles, inflatons
    8. The consistency of the above
    9. The potential of the above to DERIVE all string theories ... and GR
    10. Condensed matter physics ...

    OK, I could carry on, but I'm getting bored.

  10. 1. and 2. Pure nonsense.
    3. To be honest, I haven't paid much attention to this, but I think it's a bit hasty to conclude that CPT is being violated.
    4. Can't really comment
    5. What anomalies? There are hints at contributions to flavour and CP violation beyond the CKM matrix, but nothing definitive.
    6. Vacuous. The recent advances made using twistors have nothing to do with the structure of the standard model. And your pretty diagrams don't seem to have any physical content.
    7. Time will tell.
    8. ?
    9. What a ludicrous thing to say.
    10. Architecture (seems just as relevant).

    But most importantly, none of the above seems to have anything to do with quantum gravity, so my doubts that you know anything substantive about the subject remain.

  11. Oh, dear me. Pretty sure of yourself, aren't you? Like I said, Rhys, you have not been paying attention ...


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