I just noticed, via this article at the Guardian, that not only has Edward Witten been awarded the Institute for Physics’ Isaac Newton medal, but his lecture at the ceremony has been posted online for all to see! See the link below. It is not often that you get an opportunity to see Witten, one of today’s giants in theoretical physics, on the public stage, to the extent that most people outside the field have not heard of him at all. The public view of who is driving forward and massively contributing to the field is rather skewed as a result of the number of appearances and grand pronouncements (often on subjects they’d be better shutting the hell up about!) from certain other renown theoretical physicists. So here’s an opportunity to hear from one of the true masters of the field.
When you speak to sensible people in the subject, whatever their own work is about and whether they like some of the things he works on or not (such as string theory), they will quite readily concur that he has done a huge amount for the field, driving forth many powerful ideas, sharpening the way we think about certain kinds of problems, conceiving of new ideas, and overall strongly influencing much of the basic manner in which practitioners think about the physics they are doing. Often, even if he is not the originator of a particular Continue reading ‘Witten at Your Fingertips’