Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Klein Four (A group)

Perhaps The Klein Four have passed you by as well as me. Well fret not. They are an a capella group from the maths department of Northwestern Univeristy and they shot to fame last year with their love song Finite Simple Group of Order Two, which can be watched online:

They have an album out, full of more maths puns than you can shake a stick log at, which you can purchase via their website (where you can see some of their other performances) or even via iTunes.

The Klein four group, or Vierergruppe, is a direct product of two copies of Z_2, and allows us to solve the quartic.

When Art is Not Art

Via the BBC, Empty plinth sidelines sculpture a very funny, non-physics story about a sculptor who packaged his work together with a plinth for it to stand upon in a gallery. The Royal Academy of Arts decided that they had received two separate entries into the competition to be exhibited and a panel of judges decided that the plinth was the better work of art and put it on display. Hilarious.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Cargese: The Lectures

Well despite the beach life Cargese was a school and there were plenty of interesting lectures. The format for an average day was
0800-0900hrs Breakfast
0900-1030hrs Lecture 1
1030-1100hrs Coffee break
1100-1230hrs Lecture 2
1245-1630hrs Lunch and beach break
1630-1730hrs Lecture 3
1800-1900hrs Lecture 4
Which was very good and not too tiring. Most lecturers were given one morning and one afternoon slot, and frequently this wasn't enough time to bridge the gap between being completely pedagogical and also interesting to the experts in the audience. Let me give a list for posterity of all the talks we heard. Suggeseted preparatory literature for the talks can be found here.

BPS Black Holes by Bernard de Wit
Black Holes, Attractors and Topological Strings by Andrew Strominger
The Standard Model in String Theory from D-branes by A. Uranga
Time dependence and space-like singularities in String theory by M. Berkooz
Strings, Cosmology and Supersymmetry Breaking by S. Kachru
Multitrace deformations of vector and adjoint theories and their holographic duals by Rabinovici