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Tag archives: string theory

Lateral Thoughts: some things never change

By Margaret Harris

This is the second in a series of blog posts about “Lateral Thoughts”, Physics World’s long-running humour column. You can read the first one here.

The Lateral Thoughts column of humorous, off-beat or otherwise “lateral” essays has been part of Physics World ever since the magazine was launched in October 1988. In my previous post about the column’s history, I described some ways that Lateral Thoughts have changed since the early days (tl;dr version: loads of sexism, side order of class conflict).  But in my trawl through the archive, I’ve also discovered that some things haven’t changed very much at all over the past quarter-century.

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A Bohemian rhapsody on string theory

By Matin Durrani

I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has had the seemingly bright idea of remaking a well-known song, altering the lyrics so they’re about some “cool” aspect of science, and then unleashing a cataclysmically awful video to the rest of the world, with the original song mangled to death.

So I braced myself before playing this new a capella version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, entitled “Bohemian Gravity”. It is sung and performed by Tim Blais – a student in theoretical physics at McGill University in Canada, who recently completed his Master’s thesis under Alex Maloney.

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Perimeter Institute welcome speech reignites the string wars

Neil Turok at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Courtesy: Gabriela Secara)

Neil Turok at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. (Courtesy: Gabriela Secara)

By Hamish Johnston

A series of four articles about people at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) has been published in the Canadian magazine Maclean’s and one article in particular has got people talking.

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Supersymmetry revisited

By Hamish Johnston

Supersymmetry and Beyond

Courtesy: Basic Books

I think it’s safe to say that Peter Woit was never going to like Gordon Kane’s latest book about string theory. Woit, who is at Columbia University, is a prolific anti-string-theory blogger and author of Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Continuing Challenge to Unify the Laws of Physics, whereas Kane is a leading string theorist who is based at the University of Michigan.

Kane’s latest tome is called Supersymmetry and Beyond: From the Higgs Boson to the New Physics and it will be published later this month by Basic Books. On his blog – also called Not Even Wrong – Woit compares the new book with Kane’s previous effort Supersymmetry: Unveiling The Ultimate Laws Of Nature, which was published in 2000.

Woit makes the controversial claim that about 75% of Supersymmetry and Beyond is a simply a rehash of the 2000 book. To make his point, Woit focuses on several examples of how Kane has updated the text to paper over the fact that little experimental evidence for supersymmetry has been found over the past 13 years.

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String theorist bags $3m Fundamental Physics Prize

By Hamish Johnston

Alexander Polyakov

Alexander Polyakov has something to smile about. (Courtesy: Technion University)

The string theorist Alexander Polyakov has won the 2013 Fundamental Physics Prize. The $3m prize is awarded by Milner Foundation, which is funded by the Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner and was inaugurated last year.

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