Well, as I said in the previous post, I’m leaving my hideaway/retreat mode and popping over to Vancouver for a short spell to help out at a Summer School. It’s the PIMS (Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences) Summer School on Particles, Fields, and Strings. I’m giving four lectures on some of the techniques in string theory that it helps to know in order to do some of the fun things we do to get at interesting physics (such as the topic of the post before). My title is something like “Perturbative and non-perturbative string theory”, and I’ve no clue what the level of the students really is, so goodness knows how far I will get in four one hour lectures. But it does not hurt to try. I’ll be laying the groundwork for several of the lecturers who will be talking about the more advanced stuff closer to their research work, and so I hope to at least help the students gain confidence with ideas and language that will show up all over the place in the two weeks following my presentations.
So what will I cover? Well, I’m going to tailor things to the responses of the students as Continue reading ‘A Hop Over To Canada’
A depiction of a lithium trap from the Kastler Brossel laboratory, in France. Details here.
[Despite appearances, I did not choose the music in what is to follow. I just put on iTunes set to random, and started typing, reporting on what was playing as I went along. Nevertheless, there were some nice resonances.]
Now playing: Mr Day, John Coltrane.
So. I must put the Aspen time on hold for a short while, as I promised to give four lectures in Vancouver starting tomorrow. While I sit here in a lounge in Denver at 8:00am, wondering why I booked a 7:00am flight out of Aspen, and also wondering exactly what is in this muffin that I picked up to have with the (rather good) tea they have here this morning, I thought I’d tell you about a little bit of really nice physics that’s going on in the neighbourhoood of my world. Since I’m too cheap and too disinterested to pay for a connection to the web, this’ll only get uploaded quite a bit later when I get a free hookup. (This is a bit more technical in places than usual. Please don’t give up too easily. Oh, and you might have to read some things I point to from earlier to get everything I’m saying – I’m not one for endless repeating myself I’m afraid.)
You can think of this as another story in the line of development I’ve been pushing (and telling people about here and elsewhere) for many years now. Applications of string theory to a broader range of physics areas than the popular discussions of the topic seem to touch upon. I told you last year about the exciting work going on in understanding properties of new phases of nuclear matter being unlocked at the Brookhaven experiment RHIC (colliding heavy nuclei together to create a sort of hot quark-gluon soup). That work continues. This new work pertains to experiments as well, and this time, these are closer to the human scale bench top experiments we all get misty-eyed over (ok, I do, maybe no-one else). It is super-cute stuff. I should Continue reading ‘Atoms and Strings in the Laboratory?’