Monday, May 22, 2006

Back in Black

Well it's been a while... I've often heard people wonder how researchers find the time to write a blog and do their work. Well while some bloggers are superhuman, this one is not. I've had a busy and not to mention stressful start to the year and really the blog only gets my attention when everything else is in good working order. What have I been up to? Well first of all I was applying for postdoc positions earlier in the year, the necessary finger-crossing meant that typing a blog became impossible for a short while. I was offered and accepted very happily a position at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa where Augusto Sagnotti has recently moved. Much hurrahing all round. Second I have just been working hard on what will be the last part of my thesis. That's not to say the thesis is all written up and ready to submit, oh no I have left two months for that, and a spare third, just in case. Finally, a confession: I really haven't been to any seminars for ages now. It's peculiar but the seminar series at KCL has dried up for the last few weeks. So today I tidied up my papers, organised my room and put everything in its right place to begin writing up. But of course I better get my blog up to date first so I can give a running commentary of sorts on the ups and downs of submitting a thesis.

In my absence there have been a number of exciting papers on E10 and E11, in particular:
  • Enhanced Coset Symmetries and Higher Derivative Corrections by Neil Lambert and Peter West
  • Curvature corrections and Kac-Moody compatibility conditions by Thibault Damour, Amihay Hanany, Marc Henneaux, Axel Kleinschmidt and Hermann Nicolai
  • IIA and IIB spinors from K(E10) by Axel Kleinschmidt and Hermann Nicolai
  • The first two demonstrate the very exciting emergence of higher derivative terms very naturally from the large algebra approaches, in the first case for E11 and in the second case for E10. The third paper continues the success of the E10 research teams ability to find fermions in their approach, for which there is as yet no equivalent result for E11.

    There have also been numerous great links from the other blogs, via Lubos we have the Horizon episode on Feynman, from which the stories will be very familiar, but it might be nice to see the man himself telling them. Thanks to Peter Woit we have links to all the talks at the recent Eurostings 2006 conference in Cambridge. Of particular interest to those predisposed to very large algebras are,
  • E11 and Ten Forms by Peter West
  • Hidden Symmetries and Fermions in M-Theory by Axel Kleinschmidt
  • Since videos and transparancies are available for all talks this conference site is highly recommended, also of interest will be the following talks:
  • The Quantum Structure of Black Holes by Samir Mathur
  • Singularities, Black Holes, and Attractor Explosions by Eva Silverstein
  • But there are plenty of good talks available here, so go and find out the latest from your favourite stringy research area.

    Also I've noticed two review articles for the E11 approach to M-Theory are now available on the archive. They are both a couple of years old, but worth a look:
  • Algebraic structures in M-theory by Ling Bao
  • Hidden Symmetry Unmasked: Matrix Theory and E(11) by Shyamoli Chaudhuri
  • Now I have to make sure my thesis is nothing like these reviews...Ho-hum.

    So let's see, things to do: 1. Learn Italian 2. Write-up thesis. So... the first thing I am going to do is fly off to Corsica tomorrow for the Cargese summer school (at much personal sacrifice to my better desires to start writing up!), and internet permitting I'll try and write some blog postcards from there.

    I've just checked the weather and tomorrow it's supposed to be 31 Celcius and sunny, which sure beats the grey sheets of rain we had in Greenwich today.


    Dick Thompson said...

    Congrts on your appointment and best of luck with your thesis. I know the feeling :)

    P.P. Cook said...

    Dear Dick,

    Thanks a lot. On both counts. Good luck writing up.

    Best wishes,

    Anonymous said...

    Dear Dr. Cook,

    Congratulations on your new postdoc. I am an avid
    reader of your blog, from India. Wishing you success in your new position at Pisa.

    Best regards

    Gautam Sengupta

    Dimitri Terryn said...

    Congratulations on getting the Post-Doc position! Guess I'll have to move you away from the "student blog" section of my links ;-)

    P.P. Cook said...

    Dear Gautam,

    Thanks for your congratulations - but I'm not a doctor, and do not want to tempt fate by masquerading as one.

    You're the avid reader! It's nice to make your acquaintance at last!

    Best wishes,

    P.P. Cook said...

    Dear Dimitri,

    Thank-you for the congratulations - but, erm, don't go moving me out of the student section just yet please!

    Four months, one thesis and hopefully one viva are significant obstacles before I change my status (one way or the other). So hold your horses.

    Best wishes,

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