Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Twisties and Stringers

The Kavli Institute's workshop, The Harmony of Scattering Amplitudes, starts in early April. On the workshop website it states:
The key goal of this workshop is not only to consolidate the new advances, but to cross-fertilize different sub-disciplines, charting future advances. Our plan is to bring together people working in more formal areas with those working on more phenomenologically oriented subfields. We believe that not only are we at the cusp of revolutionizing the way we view scattering amplitudes, but the new ideas will have an important impact in other areas as well.
Remembering that I was probably the first person to appreciate that twistor scattering theory involved polytope integrals on spaces whose dimension increased with particle number, I applied some time ago to attend this workshop. When I spoke about this subject in 2009, one of the mathematicians asked, "shouldn't the string theorists be doing this?" It is now a very trendy topic in Theoretical Physics, although people working in this area do not yet seem interested in operads. Anyway, many ex stringers are now paid handsomely to think about these techniques. I only received a stock rejection letter, signed by a prominent string theorist, which begins:
Thank you for applying to participate in our program entitled The Harmony of Scattering Amplitudes. Your application has been carefully considered. Unfortunately ...


  1. If it wasn't for the workshop blurb, I could have let it slide. After all, they would have had to pay for me to go. But that blurb just takes the cake, as they say. What are they going to discuss? Oh, I know! Let's find ten million devious ways to avoid thinking about operad polytopes, category theory, or non stringy physics ...

  2. I've concluded that unless one holds down an academic job, the mainstream will exclude one. Along this line, I got my 6th rejection letter for grad school but have various alternatives under negotiation. And I might spend most of the next 6 months cutting steel.

  3. Yes, no one likes to admit it, but keeping someone out of an academic job is the surest way to ensure they are not invited to many things. I still do get invited sometimes, but then I don't have any money.

    Well, I guess cutting steel will keep you fit.

  4. If anything improves my fitness it's going to be giving up sugar. Until I saw a 90 minute youtube lecture "Sugar the Bitter Truth" I thought that sugar was just empty calories. Now that I understand that half of it is fructose that can only be processed by the liver I'm reducing my sugar intake by 4 candy-bars per day. That should help.

    A professor invited me to give a seminar on the spin path integral paper but I think it's more of a sign of desperation for seminar speakers than real interest. But it gives me an excuse to see my parents so I guess I'll do it. The CPT violation stuff makes a nice last slide.

    Eventually, I think the world will be forced to explore the little foxhole we're in, when the top quark results hold (and I expect that the experimenters will be working hard on verifying that data). But I'm not going to hold my breath.

  5. I guess the LHC will need some time to find enough tbars to sort this out. Sugar will probably do me in before then.

  6. I should add that I got dis-invited on the spin path talk. Apparently they were already subscribed to the end of the year, after they took into account student presentations. Or whatever.

    Had a root beer the other day. (I got $20 for giving someone's vehicle a jump start. I kept telling them I'd do it for free but when they brought out that crisp new bill I couldn't resist it.) With almost no sugar for a couple weeks I was amazed at how syrupy and over-sweet the root-beer was. With sufficient glucose and starch type carbohydrates I've not been hungry but have had to ratchet down my belt. May eventually have to start drilling new holes.


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