Friday, July 16, 2010

ESQG 2010 Conference Photo

We just wrapped up our workshop on Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity. It was a tremendously interesting meeting, and well worth the effort of the organization. Though plagued by several problems and technical glitches (beamer not working, speaker sick, wireless not working, building company deciding to replace the windows in the guest apartments) I think we managed it reasonably gracefully and people had fun. The discussions in particular I thought went very well and stimulated a lot of vivid exchange. It will take a week or so for the talks and slides to be uploaded, and at that point I'll write a short summary of my impressions, so stay tuned. For now, here's the conference photo, taken yesterday evening before the BBQ. As you can see, we had brilliant weather, and lots of bright people ;-)


I wish you all a nice weekend!

24 comments:

Steven Colyer said...

Hi Bee, congrats and you sure deserve a vacation. Enjoy the Alps or the south of France or The Aegean or whereever you're going.

Two questions:

1) Did you shoot the professional Photographer? I hope you didn't pay him. Half your faces are bleached white by the sun! As far back as 1927 and 1930 at two of the other Solvays the photographer knew how to "paint with light" so to speak. ;-)

2) Who was the sick speaker? Was it Amelino-Camelia? Did they speak, miss the conference, submit a copy of their speech on their paper for History?

Bee said...

Hi Steven,

The photo was taken by one of our students with my digital camera. Not the greatest photo ever, but will do as a memory.

We had two sick speakers actually, neither of which was Giovanni. They both came straight from a meeting in Mexico. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Should add: They both gave their talk, we just had to shift things around a bit.

Steven Colyer said...

Thanks, Bee. Phew, I'm glad you didn't pay a "Pro" for that pic! Lol, I'm just teasing you, Bee. (I only tease my friends. I would tease my enemies but I don't hang out with them, by definition).

Ultimately, I'm glad to see the workshop was a success. Like most workshops, I'm sure getting these fine minds together will lead to some very interesting collaborations in the years ahead. Good on you and Lee and Greg and all the participants.

Now, no more from me, go dip your tootsies in the Naxos beaches with your fine husband, and I guess we'll all just have to wait a couple of weeks to get into the details.

'Tis summer, enjoy.

Phil Warnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Nice photo of what you report to have been a good meeting of the minds in respect to the hopes of identifying observable consequences of thinking there be reason for a quantum gravity theory. That is as you mentioned to Steven although not a professional image it does serve to document the event quite adequately. Besides as far as I’m concerned the dominance of digital imagery has virtually killed what I would call the craft of photography, which became a science in of itself with understanding the nature of film in respect to optics. with now no need to know about f stop aperture settings, focus and exposure duration to get the results that’s required as it all reducing to you getting what you see. So once again the need to know science fads while the appreciation for magic increase.

There is one curious thing revealed in the photo as the weight and height of the scientists seem to be less than the general mean value and has me wonder if this might be a consequence of studying QG >-)


Best,

Phil

Uncle Al said...

Lubos demands the Equivalence Principle, string theory through BRST invariance and ab initio as QFT. Einstein's elevator contains no loopholes - to a physicist. Physics maintains an illusion of knowledge that emergent phenomena cannot be fundamental.

Quantum gravitations assume the EP.

The EP can be analytically correct and empirically wrong. Massless photons reveal no loophole. Lab and astronomic observations to one part in 20 trillion allow no measurable property to violate the EP by composition or field.

Mass distribution chirality is observable but not measurable. (Optical chirality does not require physical chirality). Chirality emerges in 3-space as four or more points whose configuration contains no improper rotation axes. NOBODY knows whether opposite shoes violate the EP. Inverse geometric parity mass distributions are chemistry not physics. One EP loophole is unexamined and unconstrained,

http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/erotor1.jpg
Somebody should look. The worst it can do is succeed.

Physics has never been able to handle chirality. It patches theory after observed fact. (Majorana neutrinos cannot be opposite chirality antineutrinos. Good luck with that). Nobody knows how matter predominated over antimatter, breaking conservation laws. A Big Bang intense chiral background works, then stretched absolutely flat during cosmic inflation.

Almost flat. Somebody should look.

Steven Colyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven Colyer said...

Somebody SHOULD look, Uncle Al. I totally agree that Chriralty has been swept under the rug so to speak. That's BAD, but it's also GOOD in that if an explanation of Physics can't explain it, then that theory is WRONG, man.

God bless ALL Industrial Chemists such as your self Al, everywhere.

Organic Chemistry. If THAT isn't the biggest kick in the gonads, what is? Awesome. Did you know Phil Skell at Penn State or Dr. Pilato at Bakelite (Union Carbide)? Jus' asking.

Hi Phil,

You wrote:
There is one curious thing revealed in the photo as the weight and height of the scientists seem to be less than the general mean value and has me wonder if this might be a consequence of studying QG >-)

Well, good theory, but I don't know.

What I DO know is that Lee Smolin has lost a LOT of weight, and that CAN'T be a bad thing.

He'll live longer, yes?

Luke said...

Bee,

So 80 years from now we'll look at the photo and be counting the Nobel Prize winners. Right?

Bee said...

I hope it will be a little sooner than 80 years because by then I and almost everybody else in the photo will likely be dead. Maybe 50 years? 20 years to find evidence for QG, 10 years to settle it, 20 years for the Nobel Prize committee to make up their mind. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,



This photo I believe is the one that inspired Luke’s thoughts. After careful review and comparison it occurred to me that one of the problems with not being able to discover a new theory is perhaps resultant of failing to enforce a stringent enough dress code for physicists who attend the conferences :-)

However it appears you took this into consideration:-)


Best,

Phi

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steven,

I made the same observation and yet you know when incorporating induction as the basis for your scientific method the significance of a single element of datum is not enough. Now if you were to use deduction with aid of an unshakeable premise that would be a different matter. How about I shrink, therefore QG is :-).

Best,

Phil

Georg said...

Hello,
looking at Bees photo and the one
from the 5th Solvay I think that
not much has changed:
The "Top Babboons" and the girls
are in the front row. :=)
Regards
Georg

jal said...

Do any of the participants have access to the data from LHC to see if their model can fit the results?
jal

Uncle Al said...

Phil Skell almost discovered buckeyballs in his carbon arc species trapping experiments. He should have done (obviously unneeded) controls. John Roberts almost discovered CIDNP diddling with Grignard reagent formation in his home-built NMR in the good old days. He discarded the observations, assuming his equipment was wonky for displaying paired inverted peaks. PAIRED inverted peaks.

Collman's reagent was discovered when an inorganic grad student recognized the smell of acetaldehyde - his roommate was an alcoholic. The Comstock Lode started as gold prospecting. The assayer - against procedure - did the cupel on both submitted rock and its accompanying curious blue mud. The rock held no appreciable values. The mud was fat with silver. Comstock produced $5.8 billion in silver and gold (2007 dollars).

Discovery requires both heterodox venture and interdisciplinary awareness. You must look, then you must know what you know.

SuperGlue appeared when methyl cyanoacrylate had its refractive index measured between the squeezed glass prisms of an Abbe refractometer. Proper procedure would have fired the idiot chemist for ruining expensive apparatus. The research project was seeking a better Plexiglas (never found).

Luke said...

Bee,

Sounds like a plan. Now if it were only that easy.

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Are there really conferences where a dress code is 'enforced'? I mean, I've been at conferences were everybody was wearing suits and ties, but this was more a community habit. If you'd have walked around in jeans and T-shirt you'd probably have gotten funny looks, but not been thrown out. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Jal,

That's not quite how it works. It's not like there's one person who cooks up a model and then works through petabytes of data. It's more that you develop a model, you make predictions, you test in simulations whether you can recover the model from the simulated data. Then you try to convince experimentalists that this is an analysis they should be doing. The best is if you have connections to the experiment collaborations or, even better, are among them. That's the same for pretty much all very data-intensive analysis. But yes, we had some talks about models that the LHC data will very likely be tested for, like the various extra dimensional models resulting in graviton/black hole production etc. At the very least, the LHC will constrain the parameters further. Best,

B.

Steven Colyer said...

I've been at conferences where everybody was wearing suits and ties...

Oh, you've been to Princeton, Bee? Or was it Haaahvid?

I'm not sure when "dressing down" came into vogue (late 1980's?), but it began with dress-down Fridays, then expanded into the other 5 work days. I'm not sure when, but I'm pretty sure Paul Dirac would not have approved. He went for his weekly long Sunday walkabouts in a suit!

jal said...

I Bee!
Thanks

As a follow up ...
The following conference should be on everyones agenda.

List of speakers at ICHEP 22-28 July 2010

http://indico.cern.ch/confSpeakerIndex.py?view=full&letter=%5Ball%5D&confId=73513

By going to the title you will get an abstract.

There is something for everyone.

[B]If you have the time, there will be LIVE WEBCAST.[/B]
jal

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

You realize of course I was just kidding and besides we might attribute Einstein the credit for the change of fashion or lack thereof, depending on how it’s considered. It’s even been reported he gave up wearing socks as sighting them subject to developing holes and therefore a nuisance. So I really don’t believe the clothes make the scientist, although I do find it interesting how things have changed within the span of a few generations. I would note that although the formalities might have changed quite a bit for the most part the formalisms remain the same:-)

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Hi Steven,

"Oh, you've been to Princeton, Bee? Or was it Haaahvid?"

No, just not a physics conferences. Go to a conference in the social sciences, economy, sociology, etc, in my (admittedly rather limited) experience most people will wear suits and ties (or the female equivalent). Best,

B.

Steven Colyer said...

Hey Uncle Al,

Phil Skell married into my wife's family and I had 4 wonderful 4 hour-long afternoon conversations with him at family reunions 4 years in a row in the late nineties. Interesting man, and thanks for noting his contribution. I didn't know that.

About the Eotvos experiment, which you keep bringing it up. I love that experiment. It's like the poster child for tabletop experimentation, which is so much cheaper than large astronomical observatories like Hubble, Herschel, WISE, Planck, and Webb, and orders of magnitudes cheaper than particle accelerator/colliders. I always laugh when a million dollar machine advances science over a billion dollar one.

About Chirality, I find that the most vexing puzzle in Physics. I often wonder if the interpretations of Kaluza's work went too far; that instead of looking down (ana, or keta), we should be looking OUT (the other one). Dunno.

Hi Bee,

Yeah, the fields of study are in transition, both by content and by dress code, I suppose. The late 80's/early 90's weren't that long ago. The only constant in nature is change, etc., and fashion is no exception. Nobody wears powered wigs anymore for example, except of course in English courts. ;-p