Maldacena on the Beach

As I mentioned earlier, I'm currently attending the Simons Workshop in Mathematics and Physics at Stony Brook University. The weather finally warmed up today, and we relocated to Smith Point Beach to hear Juan Maldacena tell us a bit about AdS/CFT and gluon scattering. If you're looking for a precis of the talk, I'm afraid I'm not going to give it a try, but I'll commend you to the paper if only so you can read about the beautiful wire frames.

This is actually the second workshop for me this summer. Before coming here, I had the opportunity to spend three weeks at the Aspen Center for Physics. These workshops have been wonderfully productive and are a great chance to get together with one's colleagues in an unstructured environment and see what happens. Not that conferences don't have their uses, but the wall-to-wall talks don't leave much time for productive work. If you put enough physicists and mathematicians together with a few random chalkboards and whiteboards and nothing else to do, however, great things can happen. And, if not, at least it tends to be amusing.

And there's nothing wrong with mountains or the beach either.

(incidentally, in addition to funding this workshop and many other worthwhile causes, Jim Simons also got a few friends together to help fund Brookhaven National Labs for some weeks last year.)

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Was this AdS/CFT stuff about "unparticle physics?" I don't actually know what "unparticle" theory is. I've heard it's new and exciting. Have you heard anything about it?

By Jason Slaunwhite (not verified) on 25 Aug 2007 #permalink

Not really. I might talk a little more about this in an upcoming post, but the short story is that unparticle physics is a horrible name for a regime of QFT where the fields don't act like particles any more. It's all still ordinary QFT, and the various papers on the subject are working out the implications of the existence of such a sector in the real world.

Unparticles are neither new nor exciting. Georgi's papers on the subject are fun, but the idea that there might be a conformally invariant sector is not new (a previous incarnation of this idea was suggested by Randall and Sundrum and goes by the name "RS2", for instance). There are fairly tight constraints on such possibilities, ignored by most papers on the subject.