Kea September 16, 2009

Arcadian Functor

Dear Reader The first three years of Arcadian Functor have seen many changes in the world and in my life, and I am pleased to publish these posts for your enjoyment. Physical theory is slowly developing, transforming today from a 20th century local theory into something beyond what we can imagine.



Dedication Switchback Swagger II Sad News Switchback Swagger III M Theory Lesson 140 Happy Holidays Carols Andromeda Riemann's Brane M Theory Lesson 141 M Theory Lesson 142 M Theory Lesson 143 Dear Santa Here's to 2008 Neutrino 08 DARPA Challenge At The Edge A Green Year GRT Wonderland Riemann Rekindled Riemann Rekindled II Search Term Riemann Rekindled III 1 24 24 24 25 25 25 26 26 27 27 27 28 29 29 29 30 30 30 31 32 32 32


There in Time Excuses Sir Edmund Hillary M Theory Lesson 144 Threefold Way Final Touch M Theory Lesson 145 M Theory Lesson 146 My, How Time Flies How Time Flies II M Theory Lesson 147 Monthly Misquote M Theory Lesson 148 M Theory Lesson 149 Associativity Brave New World M Theory Lesson 150 Pretty Preons Categorical Aside Swagger Again Summer Holiday M Theory Lesson 151 M Theory Lesson 152 M Theory Lesson 153

33 34 34 34 34 35 35 35 36 37 37 38 38 38 39 39 40 41 41 42 42 42 43 44


M Theory Lesson 154 Mutual Unbias Mutual Unbias II M Theory Lesson 155 M Theory Lesson 156 M Theory Lesson 157 Ternary Geometry Mutual Unbias III M Theory Lesson 158 Ternary Geometry II Eleven Mutual Unbias IV Mutual Unbias V Mutual Unbias VI M Theory Lesson 159 M Theory Lesson 160 Housekeeping Against Symmetry M Theory Revision M Theory Lesson 161 Against Symmetry II M Theory Lesson 162 M Theory Lesson 163 Damned Numbers

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Day At Work History Meme M Theory Lesson 164 Time Machine Quote of the Week Autumn Days M Theory Lesson 165 M Theory Lesson 166 Resolving Power M Theory Lesson 167 M Theory Lesson 168 The Dark Side M Theory Lesson 169 M Theory Lesson 170 M Theory Lesson 171 Riemann Rainbow The Dirac Code The Dirac Code II The Dirac Code III The Dirac Code IV Quote of Last Century GRB 080319B M Theory Lesson 172 M Theory Lesson 173

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Extra, Extra M Theory Lesson 174 Riemann Rainbow II Cartoon Fairy M Theory Lesson 175 Greetings M Theory Lesson 176 M Theory Lesson 177 Knot Monkey Achilles and the Tortoise The Dark Side III Purple Extra, Extra II Ternary Geometry III Return of the Jedi Light Nostalgia M Theory Lesson 178 Job Hunting M Theory Lesson 179 M Theory Lesson 180 M Theory Lesson 181 M Theory Lesson 182 M Theory Lesson 183 M Theory Lesson 184

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't Hooft Talk Differential, Dude M Theory Lesson 185 M Theory Lesson 186 Today's Mottle Quote M Theory Lesson 187 M Theory Lesson 188 Around About M Theory Lesson 189 Oh Mini Me Cool Cats M Theory Lesson 190 M Theory Lesson 191 Oh Mini Me II Hidey Holes M Theory Lesson 192 Mass Update Neutrino08 Neutrino08 - Smirnov Neutrino08 Day 1a Neutrino08 Day 1b Neutrino08 Day 1c Neutrino08 Day 2a Neutrino08 Day 2b

78 78 79 80 81 81 81 82 82 82 82 82 83 83 84 84 85 85 85 86 87 87 88 89


Neutrino08 Day 2c Neutrino08 Day 2d Neutrino08 MiniBooNE Neutrino08 Day 3a Neutrino08 Day 3b Neutrino08 Day 3c Neutrino08 Day 3d Neutrino08 continued Neutrino08 Day 5a Neutrino08 Day 5b Neutrino08 Day 5c Neutrino08 Day 5d Neutrino08 Day 5e Neutrino08 Day 5f Neutrino08 Day 5g Neutrino08 - GSI Interlude Neutrino08 Day 6a Neutrino08 Day 6b Neutrino08 Day 6c Neutrino08 - Sarkar M Theory Lesson 193 F Theory POW Riemann

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POW Riemann II M Theory Lesson 194 Neutrinos Again Neutrinos Again II Neutrinos Again III M Theory Lesson 195 M Theory Lesson 196 M Theory Lesson 197 Neutrinos Again IV Neutrinos Again V Lieven's Trinities M Theory Lesson 198 Idempotent Nilpotent Idempotent Nilpotent II M Theory Lesson 199 M Theory Lesson 200 Foggy Friday M Theory Lesson 201 The Institute Phoenix Neutrinos Again VI M Theory Lesson 202 M Theory Lesson 203 Carbon Beauty

103 103 104 104 105 106 106 107 107 107 108 108 109 109 109 110 110 110 111 112 112 112 113 113


Riemann Hypothesis Carbon Beauty II Riemann Again Carbon Beauty III Alia Sabur Winter Weekend Carbon Beauty IV Mermin Magic FQXi Proposal M Theory Lesson 204 M Theory Lesson 205 M Theory Lesson 206 Varying Alpha Lieven's Trinities II M Theory Lesson 207 M Theory Lesson 208 Ninja Prof M Theory Lesson 209 FQXi II The Naked Emperor M Theory Lesson 210 M Theory Lesson 211 M Theory Lesson 212 Moving Up

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Moving Up II LHC Rap Origin of Species Moving Up III Origin of Species II Moving Up IV M Theory Lesson 213 FQXi III Quote of the Month More Moonshine Cool Cats Cool Cats II M Theory Lesson 214 M Theory Lesson 215 M Theory Lesson 216 M Theory Lesson 217 Another Kea Neutrinos Again VII Neutrinos Again VIII M Theory Lesson 218 Fardwit of the Week Strings 2008 From Gamma M Theory Lesson 219

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Mass Gap Revisited M Theory Lesson 220 Problem of Time I M Theory Lesson 221 Banks on Holography Problem of Time II Time at the LHC M Theory Lesson 222 Operads in 2d Working M Theory Lesson 223 Holiday M Theory Lesson 224 M Theory Lesson 225 M Theory Lesson 226 The Dark Side IV M Theory Lesson 227 M Theory Lesson 228 M Theory Lesson 229 M Theory Lesson 230 M Theory Lesson 231 Machian Gravity Dialogue of the Week Congratulations

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CKM Rules CKM Rules II An Evening Out Beautiful Sol CKM Rules III M Theory Lesson 232 M Theory Lesson 233 M Theory Lesson 234 Quick Update Quick Update II CKM Rules IV The MUB Tower Hilarious Quick Update III M Theory Lesson 235 Go Tumbling Down Faster Than Light Talk of the Week M Theory Lesson 236 Moving North I Picoseconds I Renormalisation Picoseconds II Talk of the Week II

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A Day at Work Moving North II Quote of the Month M Theory Lesson 237 Moving North III M Theory Lesson 238 M Theory Lesson 239 Moving North IV Spring is Here M Theory Lesson 240 M Theory Lesson 241 M Theory Lesson 242 Time Essayed M Theory Lesson 243 M Theory Lesson 244 Darkness Rising Gravity Probe Update M Theory Lesson 245 M Theory Lesson 246 Moving North V Standing Still Still Standing Still Happy New Year M Theory Lesson 247

157 157 157 157 158 158 158 159 159 160 160 161 162 162 163 163 164 164 164 165 165 165 165 166


Oh, Pythagoras M Theory Lesson 248 Riemann Products Riemann Products II Riemann Products III M Theory Lesson 249 M Theory Lesson 250 M Theory Lesson 251 M Theory Lesson 252 M Theory Lesson 253 Keaaawww CKM Rules V M Theory Lesson 254 Still Down South M Theory Lesson 255 M Theory Lesson 256 Quote of the Week Still Down South II Matrix Power I M Theory Lesson 257 M Theory Lesson 258 Still Down South III Abtruse Goose M Theory Lesson 259

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M Theory Lesson 260 Quote of the Month Pioneering C Change CKM Recipe CKM Recipe II M Theory Lesson 261 M Theory Lesson 262 M Theory Lesson 263 Still Down South IV Still Down South V Good, Bad and Ugly M Theory Lesson 264 Operadification Operadification II Still Down South VI Operadification III S-matrix Reloaded From Oxford Seminar Heaven Mersenne MUBs Keeping Up Oxford Life Seminar Heaven II Oxford Life II

175 176 176 176 177 177 177 178 178 178 179 179 180 180 181 181 182 182 182 183 183 183 184 184


M Theory Lesson 265 Oxford Life III Seminar Heaven III M Theory Lesson 266 Oxford Life IV The Even Prime M Theory Lesson 267 A Stringy Universe M Theory Lesson 268 A Stringy Universe II Conference Heaven M Theory Lesson 269 Interlude Oxford Life X QPL 09 A Debate Cosmology 101 QPL 09 II Oxford Life XI A Stringy Yarn M Theory Lesson 270 Stringy Appeal Oxford Life XII M Theory Lesson 271

184 185 185 185 186 186 187 187 188 188 189 189 189 189 190 190 190 191 192 192 192 193 193 194


Breakfast Ideas M Theory Lesson 272 Quote of the Week Problem with the Matrix M Theory Lesson 273 Visa Update M Theory Lesson 274 Quick Update Congratulations Tommaso M Theory Lesson 275 M Theory Lesson 276 GRB 090423 Taxicabs Twistor Seminar Twistor Seminar II M Theory Lesson 277 Happy Journey Force of Gravity M Theory Lesson 278 Angels and Demons More Seminars Everett Today M Theory Lesson 279 Fairy Update

194 195 196 196 198 200 200 202 205 205 206 208 209 211 215 215 216 216 218 219 219 220 222 222


Perimeter Quantum Cosmology CQC at PI October Rejecta Mathematica CQC Monday Back in Oxford Cool Cats A Pi Groupoid A Question Twistor Time A New Home Jordan M Theory Quote of the Week Emerging Holography Ambitwistor Holography The String Wars M Theory Lesson 280 M Theory Lesson 281 A Preprint Mixing History Magic Matrix M Theory Lesson 282 M Theory Lesson 283

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Summertime M Theory Lesson 284 M Theory Lesson 285 At Your Leisure At Your Leisure II An Idea Is Everyone Dead Yet? A New Archive Strings 09 Midsummer Fairies M Theory Lesson 286 Quote of the Month Fairy Interlude Volume One is Out Cats in London News from home M Theory Lesson 287 M Theory Lesson 288 Fairy Update Apollo 11 Gina Says II Oxford Continued Biological Theory Multi Muon Fairies

253 254 254 255 256 261 265 267 271 272 274 275 275 276 277 277 278 279 280 281 282 282 283 284


M Theory Lesson 289 M Theory Lesson 290 Women in Science The Imperial Force Imperial CLAP M Theory Lesson 291 The Farce M Theory Lesson 292 Happy CLAP Fun at Fermilab A Sunny Day Changing Light Speed viXra Rules Disclaimer Go Goose Saturn Equinox Conference Video Fermi on GRB 090510 Deligne at Cambridge Quote of the Week EPSRC Blog Highlights Gravity Goose Endangered

285 286 286 287 289 289 290 296 296 297 297 298 302 304 305 305 306 306 310 311 312 312 313 314


Ultra Deep Big Jupiters The Latest Battle Computing Masses The Fermi Debate Extra LIGO Twistor Buzz Quote of the Week Mighty Jupiter Planets Galore T Duality New Worlds M Theory Lesson 293 Amused Varying Mass Mass Gap Revisited viXra Reading Quote of the Summer Perpetual Summer M Theory Lesson 294 A Wedding End/Start of Summer

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Switchback Swagger II
Monday, December 17, 2007
Courtesy of a commenter at God Plays Dice we have this nice link about the fact that there are no solutions to the sum of squares problem for $n > 24$. This was proved in 1918 by G. N. Watson, in the paper The problem of the square pyramid. In fact, the only solutions are $n = 1$ and $n = 24$. The equation $\frac{1}{6} n (n+1) (2n + 1) = k^{2}$ originally described a pile of cannonballs, built from a base layer of $k \times k$ balls into a square pyramid of height $n$. So it's really a sphere packing problem. Posted by Kea at 08:26AM (+13:00)

Sad News
Thursday, December 20, 2007
As reported in New Scientist, one of my esteemed colleagues from Mt Cook Village has expired after eating too much chocolate. Seriously folks, what are you doing throwing chocolate into the garbage can in a National Park? The kea is now officially endangered. Posted by Kea at 09:00AM (+13:00)

Switchback Swagger III
Thursday, December 20, 2007
An intriguing paper [1] by Kalman Gyory discusses the equation $m(m+1) \cdots (m + i - 1) = b k^{l}$ For $b = 1$ Erdös and Selfridge proved in 1975 [2] that this equation has no non-trivial solutions in the positive integers. The $(i,l,b) = (3,2,24)$ case can be seen to correspond to the cannonball problem under the substitution $n \mapsto \frac{m}{2}$. In general this suggests that the sequence of switchback expressions $P_i \frac{\textrm{sum of squares}}{in + T_i}$ may hardly ever be expressed in the form $b k^{l}$ for $k \geq 2$, where $T_i$ is the tri-


angular number $\sum_{j=1}^{i} {j}$, even though it is certainly a positive integer. This is an interesting fact about the cardinality of these faces of the permutohedra, and for some mysterious reason the proof for $b=1$ seems to involve the mathematics of Fermat's last theorem. Note also the similarity between the denominator above and terms in the associahedra sequences $F_{n}(i)$. [1] K. Gyory, Acta Arith. 83 (1998) 87-92 [2] P. Erdös and J.L. Selfridge, Illinois J. Math. 19 (1975) 292-301 Posted by Kea at 12:15PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 140
Monday, December 24, 2007
In an increasingly fascinating series of blogposts, the great mathematician Lieven Le Bruyn has finally reached the stringy topic of superpotentials. Apparently Grothendieck's children's drawings are dimers for Dedekind tesselations. Here is the recommended paper by Stienstra. Aside: The very colourful graduation went well, on a stunning day. There were bagpipes, trumpet fanfares, Maori greetings, a Brahms sonata, singing in Maori, English and Latin, and the town hall organ was played. I would like to check my UC mail, but unfortunately somebody has managed to crash the system on the first day of the holidays, as usual, so I may have to wait until the New Year. Posted by Kea at 07:45AM (+13:00)

Happy Holidays
Monday, December 24, 2007
Happy holidays from my three nephews: Connor, Nathan and Aidan. Posted by Kea at 08:03AM (+13:00)


Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Here are some carols for the celebration of Newton's birthday. I quite like We Three Quarks, which begins

We three quarks fine particles are. Bearing charm we travel afar. Fields and forces, spin of course is Multiplied by h-bar. Oh, Quarks are wondrous, quarks are light. Quarks have colors, clear and bright. Still misleading, still exceeding All the physicists' insight. Posted by Kea at 09:11AM (+13:00)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Following up on the GRG18 news, the LIGO collaboration have posted a paper on the non-observation of gravitational waves from the bright electromagnetic event GRB 070201. Of course, this has been reported in a number of places already. Posted by Kea at 10:28AM (+13:00)

Riemann's Brane
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
By now we've all heard about the relation between the Riemann zeta function and Hermitian operators associated to matrix models. With CFT/AdS in the air now, it is not surprising to find this paper by McGuigan, which discusses brane partition functions. Somehow, according to McGuigan, on the gravity side we are supposed to end up with modular functions like those appearing in the already notorious Witten paper on 2+1D gravity. In fact, the so-called cosmological constant (just think extra time coordinates) appears as the variable $z$ in a function whose zeroes must lie on the real axis, namely


$\Theta (z) = \zeta (iz + \frac{1}{2}) \Gamma (\frac{z}{2} + \frac{1}{4}) \pi^{- \frac{1}{4} \frac{iz}{2}} (- \frac{z^2}{2} - \frac{1}{8})$ Who would have thought such stuff could get published on the arxiv? Posted by Kea at 11:13AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 141
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Hoffman's 1997 paper begins with this example of an MZV relation: $\zeta (2) \zeta (2,1) = 2 \zeta (2,2,1) + \zeta (2,1,2) + \zeta (4,1) + \zeta (2,3)$ which M theorists can try to draw in a number of ways, such as the 2-ordinal picture This suggests that zeta relations are in some sense functorial, or categorified, and arise from relations amongst arguments. In the last post, for instance, the argument of the Riemann zeta function was given by a complex cosmic time coordinate, which is often substituted in M theory for a value of $\hbar$ or $N$th root on the unit circle. Posted by Kea at 12:08PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 142
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The original Hoffman post mentioned an expression in $\Gamma$ functions, similar to that appearing in the relation $B(a,b)= \frac{\Gamma(a)\Gamma(b)}{\Gamma(a + b)} + \frac{\Gamma(a)\Gamma(c)}{\Gamma(a + c)} + \frac{\Gamma (1 - a - b) \Gamma (b)}{\Gamma (1 - a)}$ $ = \frac{\zeta (1 - a)}{\zeta (a) } \frac{\zeta (1 - b)}{\zeta (b) } \frac{\zeta (a + b)}{\zeta (1 a - b) }$ which appears in Castro's discussion of the zeroes of the Riemann zeta function. The $B$ function is the familiar 4-point amplitude of Veneziano, which we have been expressing in terms of chorded polygons; in this case a square with two diagonals representing the 1 dimensional associahedron, the interval. Posted by Kea at 08:16AM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 143
Friday, December 28, 2007
Putting together the Hoffman and Castro expressions, for real $s$ and $t$ in the critical interval with $|s+t| < 1$, we obtain $\sum_{m,n} s^m t^n \zeta (x^m y^n) = t [ \frac{\zeta (s)}{\zeta (1-s)} \frac{\zeta (1+t)}{\zeta (-t)} \frac{\zeta (1-s-t)}{\zeta (s+t)}]$ where the left hand side is the expression $\sum_{m} \frac{s^m}{m!} \sum_{k_1,k_2,\cdots,k_m} \frac{1}{k_1 k_2 \cdots k_m} \sum_{n} \frac{t^n}{(k_1 + k_2 + \cdots + k_m)^{n}}$ Specific values of the zeta function include, for the choice $t = 0.5$, $\zeta (1.5) = 2.612$ and, using the functional equation, $\zeta (- \frac{1}{2}) = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} \pi^{\frac{-3}{2}} \Gamma (\frac{3}{2}) \zeta (\frac{3}{2})$ so that the centre ratio in the first equation above becomes $\sqrt{2} \pi^{\frac{3}{2}} \frac{2}{\sqrt{\pi}} = 2 \sqrt{2} \pi$ giving a particularly interesting relation for the parameter $s < \frac{1}{2}$ involving the expression $\frac{\zeta (0.5 - s)}{\zeta (0.5 + s)} \frac{\zeta (s)}{\zeta (1-s)}$ It would be nice to extend this to complex values of the parameters, because zeroes of the zeta function occur in conjugate pairs and the finite positivity of an MZV could then rule out zeroes lying in this region. Posted by Kea at 08:03AM (+13:00)

Dear Santa
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I know it's a bit late for this year, but I found the perfect cheap present for a budding M theorist: the Sudokube! Of course, some basic knowledge of magic squares makes it too easy to solve, but it would look good on the shelf. And if you don't mind me saying so, Santa, I was a bit disappointed with The Golden Compass. Why were all the physicists male? And that extended arm double ice axe arrest was just plain ridiculous. Posted by Kea at 09:30AM (+13:00)


Here's to 2008
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Posted by Kea at 02:37PM (+13:00)

Neutrino 08
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Registration for Neutrino 08 here at UC is open, so make sure you consider heading up this way! Posted by Kea at 04:56PM (+13:00)


DARPA Challenge
Monday, December 31, 2007
At first I thought the problem list was a mildly amusing, handwaving bit of entertainment, but it turns out that the U.S. DARPA Mathematical Challenge has funding opportunities, open also to foreigners! And the 3 page announcement is the coolest I've ever seen, including the words Submissions that merely promise incremental improvements over the existing state of the art will be deemed unresponsive. I feel yet another funding proposal coming on ... HAPPY NEW YEAR! Posted by Kea at 08:07AM (+13:00)

At The Edge
Thursday, January 03, 2008
This is just too funny: lest you thought the Lisi debacle was over, Garrett has contributed to The Edge New Year's essays for 2008 as an Independent Theoretical Physicist. Ooooh. His answer is one of the wittiest, by the way. CV has a summary of some essays, including a mind-bogglingly condescending one from Sean himself. Sabbagh, the author of a book on the Riemann Hypothesis, tells us that he used to believe experts, but now he figures his guess is as good as theirs. Interesting essays on the scientific front include one by Ledoux, who explains that memory is not stored in the brain, one by Deheane on a theory of the brain being developed by Friston et al, and another by Steinhardt on taking quantum cosmology seriously. The token women include Janna Levin, who questions the assumption that the universe is infinite. Meanwhile, the journalist De Pretis discovers social processes in science. Posted by Kea at 08:43AM (+13:00)

A Green Year
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Check out your Conservation Profile at Earthlab. Scores tend to range from 150 to 900. The average score in the U.S. is 325. I scored 179 and have a carbon output of 2.1 tons, which I could definitely improve upon by living closer to work and eating more organic foods. Alas, poverty is the real impediment to progress. Posted by Kea at 09:21AM (+13:00)

GRT Wonderland
Thursday, January 03, 2008
John Baez recommends further installments of Geometric Representation Theory. In Lecture 17 see James Dolan explain how degroupoidification is related to logos theory! If a map taking sets to the trivial category (which we think of as a -1 category) is decategori-

fication, then an enriched version takes us from categories to categories enriched in the trivial category, which are just sets (with Boolean truth values). Imagine a whole recursion process of decategorifications! In Lecture 17 you can also see homology and cohomology rear their Medusa's heads! These functors give a way to turn spans (the natural morphisms which have been floating around) into matrices. Then Baez's Lecture 18 looks at the example of the groupoid of finite sets (and bijections), before explaining how groupoid cardinality can be a fraction! Recall that this came up when we looked at Abel sums and counting trees, not to mention that Euler characteristics for orbifolds are secretly this kind of number! That's one of the ways we counted the number of particle generations in M theory. Our preference for operadification and cooperadification should be viewed with these new ingredients in mind. Remember that an operad is a one object multicategory. An example of an arrow in a multicategory is a cospan diagram, which is made of two arrows with the same target. Multicategories generalise to allow arrows with an arbitrary number of inputs and outputs. Fixing our attention on the 1-operad of associahedra, recall that the coherence law dimension is associated to the number of inputs. Thus spans and cospans are naturally associated with two dimensional structures underlying duality. An instance of duality can be seen in the cardinalities for $Z_{2}$ (appearing in Lecture 18), namely 2 as a set and $\frac{1}{2}$ as a groupoid! Decategorification takes groupoids to vector spaces (or sets), and cardinality is thus reduced to an integer. Posted by Kea at 04:49PM (+13:00)

Riemann Rekindled
Friday, January 04, 2008
The demise of the arxiv continues into 2008 with yet another (cough) disproof of the Riemann Hypothesis (reported by Lubos). Elementary disproofs seem popular these days. Since Connes tells us the Riemann Hypothesis is closely related to Quantum Gravity, that means Quantum Gravity must be Elementary also. Elementary in the sense of axiomatically foundational, maybe? Yesterday we came across categorified cardinalities once again. For example, to compute the cardinality of the groupoid of finite sets we just need to sum the cardinalities of the groupoid components, | FinSet0| = $\frac{1}{1} + \frac{1}{2!} + \frac{1}{3!} + \frac{1}{4!} + \cdots = e$ The Riemann zeta function, for real arguments, looks a bit like such a sum, namely $\zeta (s) = \frac{1}{1^{s}} + \frac{1}{2^{s}} + \frac{1}{3^{s}} + \cdots$ so when $s$ is a positive integer this might measure the cardinality of the sequence of products of cyclic groups $( \mathbb{Z}_{n} )^{s}$ for $n \in \mathbb{N}$. What sort of groupoid is this? It is very reminiscent of Rota's ideas on profinite combinatorics and the Riemann zeta function. Hmmm. We know that $\zeta (2) = \frac{\pi^{2}}{6}$ and so on, so


the factors of $\pi$ must come from a cardinality for such a groupoid. The question is, what basic thing has (products of) cyclic automorphism groups? One possibility is oriented polygons and we already know that $n$-gons are associated with $n-3$ dimensional associahedra, and associahedra are related to the permutohedra, the vertices of which give the elements of the groups counted by $e$. This seems like such a nice way to relate $e$ and $\pi$ and $-1 = e^{i \pi}$. Posted by Kea at 11:40AM (+13:00)

Riemann Rekindled II
Saturday, January 05, 2008
It's wonderful to see the GRT lectures reach the topic of degroupoidification and homology. The dual groupoidification process would take a vector space to a groupoid, which might be a one object groupoid. An instance of such a process might be the exponentiation of a Lie algebra to its Lie group. Dually, multiple logarithms are associated to many object degroupoidifications, as we see with the MZV algebras. Now a while back the Everything Seminar set off a series of posts on categorified sums, including goodies like $-1 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + \cdots$ so we expect Euler's relation may be written in many ways, such as $\textrm{log} (-1) = i \pi = \textrm{log} (1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + \cdots)$ which I guess is a definition of $\textrm{log} (-1)$, or maybe of $\pi$, which turns up in the Riemann zeta function for integral arguments. I wish I could play this game all day, but alas, the restaurant is busy... Posted by Kea at 09:09AM (+13:00)

Search Term
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Search terms are pretty amusing for blog owners, but I guess mostly dull for others. This one has to be a classic, though: what number on mobile phone when no signal up a mountain Posted by Kea at 09:31AM (+13:00)


Riemann Rekindled III
Sunday, January 06, 2008
I haven't had a chance to watch GRT Lecture 19 yet, but the puzzle is to find a groupoid with cardinality $\pi$ and one with cardinality $e^e$. What fun! As it happens, I was thinking about $e^e$ last night, because $e^{e^{i \pi}} = \frac{1}{e} = \textrm{exp} (1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + \cdots) = e \cdot e^2 \cdot e^4 \cdots$ and that made me wonder about rescalings of the Riemann zeta function, such as $F(s) = \sqrt{\frac{1}{2} (s+1) (s+2) \zeta (s) }$ in terms of which $i = \frac{\textrm{log} (1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + \cdots)}{F(2)}$ with $F(2) = \pi$, and this looks something like a count of binary trees, with an increasing number of branches at each step. What are the higher dimensional analogues of $i$? What if we took the $s$-th root, so that $F(2n)$ was some multiple of $\pi$ for all $n \in \mathbb{N}$, just like the volumes of spheres? Posted by Kea at 09:16AM (+13:00)

There in Time
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Most discussions of the Fermi paradox, at least amongst scientists, involve the mundane multiplication of several numerical factors, pulled out of the air, such as a concentration of life-supporting planets in the galaxy. But as Matti Pitkanen has discussed, a quantum gravitational view of the cosmos allows a more interesting resolution of the paradox. Let us assume, first of all, that we are not special. That is, similar types of observer are possible in galactic or planetary states that differ from ours. Secondly, as the example of Earth illustrates, let us assume that the 20th century technological state is locally short lived. Then, even restricting ourselves to classical ideas of information transmission, we should not expect to detect alien signals until our ideas of information encoding become a lot more sophisticated. But a truly quantum gravitational view of things would say something more profound: perhaps we haven't met alien dust because it isn't Time. In the evolution of emergent cosmic time, as viewed by Earthlike observers, the cosmos must reach a threshhold of complexity before its state can accomodate the transmission of information between galactic civilisations. Thus our state of understanding itself is the barrier that one day, if we survive, we might break. Posted by Kea at 09:37AM (+13:00)


Friday, January 11, 2008
Blogging may be light for a week or so, as I've left UC, spent all the money I saved working over the holidays on a computer, and now I must save for an internet connection. Posted by Kea at 09:04AM (+13:00)

Sir Edmund Hillary
Saturday, January 12, 2008
We will all remember this great man, who said: It is not the mountains that we conquer but ourselves Posted by Kea at 08:56AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 144
Saturday, January 12, 2008
The 9 faced associahedron in $\mathbb{R}^{3}$ keeps popping up in M Theory. Today we'll turn it into a pair of pants, with the three discs at the boundary corresponding to the three squares of the polytope, which were occasionally marked with crossings of a trefoil knot. The numbers labelling the real axis (which are a bit hard to read) are $-1$, $0$, $\frac{1}{2}$, $1$, $2$ and $\infty$. The first image is an extension of the Riemann sphere of lesson 62 to a hexagon on the real axis. The second image is a Grothendieck ribbon graph associated to the j invariant. Note that the ribbons pass through $-1$, $\frac{1}{2}$ and $2$ on the real axis. By splitting the ribbon into six pieces on the pair of pants, marked with a trivalent vertex on the back and front, and attaching vertices to the nodes of the projection onto the plane, we find exactly 14 vertices, six pentagons and three squares, describing the associahedron. This might just be a bit of fun, until we look at what happens when we glue four of these pants together to form a genus 3 surface. By adding vertices on the squares from each side of the gluing, the pentagons are turned into heptagons, and we get a 24 heptagon tiling of the Klein quartic. Who said operads weren't useful? Posted by Kea at 09:06AM (+13:00)


Threefold Way
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The discussion at PF has taken a more octonion bent with the arrival of G. Dixon on the scene. Thanks also to Tony Smith for another interesting link. Aside: All essential software installations complete. Cheap internet connection procured. Am now web surfing and working on applications at home. Posted by Kea at 06:20PM (+13:00)

Final Touch
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The final touch to a new system is an appropriate choice of background. Posted by Kea at 11:29AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 145
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Thinking about pairs of pants, we see that the twistor moduli surfaces are made of either four pants, or three pants, or two pants, although they are not entirely glued up like the Klein surface. If we like, we can make a $3 \times 3$ matrix of such spaces, since spaces are just a kind of higher dimensional groupoid. Posted by Kea at 01:11PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 146
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Thinking of ordinals $n \in \mathbb{N}$ as finite sets, one notes that the prime numbers don't seem so special any more. What is so special about a set of three oranges, as opposed to a set of four oranges? Still, a composite number of oranges can be arranged into a rectangular shape of dimension equal to the number of prime factors. Primes are then single lines of oranges. At least its nice to see that building blocks for sets are geometrically one dimensional, somehow like space filling curves. Maybe these sets are equipped with further structure. For instance, they might be the finite fields with $p$ elements. Most fields that physicists play with have the unfortunate property of having no zero divisors, unlike the interesting operator algebras studied by Carl Brannen, where it is quite possible that $\rho_{1} \rho_{2} = 0$. The number $0$ represents an experimental beam stop: the action of allowing no Stern-Gerlach particles through, which is a simple state that one's mathematics really shouldn't ignore. In the topos Set, the empty set is the object of cardinality zero, but we are not used to breaking the empty set up into pieces. This is a clue that the classical topos set (including set theory) is not the right setting for quantum physics, although we already knew that, because all 1-toposes rely on distributive lattices. Brannen's operator algebras also have the nice feature that the requirement of idempotency (projectors are the natural way to look at quantum lattices) specifies a normalisation for any state, removing the arbitrariness of the usual picture. Posted by Kea at 12:34PM (+13:00)

My, How Time Flies
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The blogosphere has been abuzz with comments on the Big Brain Theory article in the New York Times. Not surprisingly, Woit and Mottle have outdone themselves in providing entertainment. But much criticism proffers counterarguments along equally problematic lines: universal evolution must do such and such, or we cannot assume typical observer types, or alternative anthropic biases, as if Time were God-given to Man, as if looking back in Time from the chains of Earth was a view into a concrete jungle, fixed for an objective eternity. The entropy of our observable universe is mostly about black holes, the observables for which we can use completely apersonal mathematics. By the same token, quantum brains are states dependent on completely apersonal mathematics, at least in the context of M Theory, albeit mathematics which we may not yet understand. However, this mundane statement hints at the appearance of life in the New Physics, and it is there. I agree with the stringers about that! The first paragraph of the New York Times article provides a glimpse of the new intuition, but in the second paragraph we get a feeling for the actual spirit of the analysis, with the words


Nobody in the field believes that this is the way things really work, however. Maybe they should ask around a bit more. Posted by Kea at 03:31PM (+13:00)

How Time Flies II
Friday, January 18, 2008
Schroedinger, in his famous Dublin lectures of 1944, discussed the clockwork nature of life, and he demonstrated that new laws of physics would be required to really understand the function of genes, whose mutations occur via a single quantum molecular transition between isomers and yet may be transmitted faithfully through centuries. He also discusses how organisms feed on negative entropy (order) in their environment. ...the new principle that is involved is a genuinely physical one: it is, in my opinion, nothing else than the principle of quantum theory over again... We seem to arrive at the ridiculous conclusion that the clue to the understanding of life is that it is based on a pure mechanism, a clockwork in the sense of Planck's paper [1]. Unfortunately, I can't find a copy of Planck's paper, which might be interesting to look at as a very early discussion on the differences in physical law at different scales. But observe that life, as observed on a fixed scale, requires both kind of law, that governing the large, and that governing the small. [1] M. Planck, The dynamical and the statistical type of law Posted by Kea at 09:14AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 147
Friday, January 18, 2008
First let us consider the relation on matrices defined by $A \simeq B$ if $[A,B] = \lambda I$ for a scalar $\lambda$. It is not necessarily transitive, except for triples satisfying rules of the form $[A,B] + [B,C] - [A,C] = 0$ but it is reflexive (since $[A,A] = 0$) and symmetric (since $[A,B] = -[B,A]$). In the world of categories we think of transitivity as a triangle of arrows, but we might weaken this triangle by allowing 2-arrows, or even higher dimensional structure. Under this equivalence, the usual Heisenberg rule $[X,P] = i \hbar$ is a kind of equivalence between position and momentum. If we exponentiate this expression we find that $\textrm{exp}(XP)=\textrm{exp}(i \hbar) \textrm{exp}(PX)$ which naturally reminds us of the Weyl rule for the discrete Fourier transform underlying the mass matrices. Now we see that $\hbar$ naturally defines a root of unity, and there is no reason to assume it takes on a fixed value. Moreover, when the root of unity is specified by the dimension of the matrix, as is the case for the Fourier transform, the value of


$\hbar$ is specified. Posted by Kea at 09:18PM (+13:00)

Monthly Misquote
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Either the source was not a coalescing binary or there is some exotic situation where the gravitational waves disappear into another dimension said Jim Hough of Glasgow University on the latest non-observation of gravitational waves by LIGO (report from Physics World). Posted by Kea at 07:57AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 148
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Another interesting sequence of polytopes is the cyclohedra, but these are thought of as a module for an operad. The $n$th cyclohedron is a $K( \pi , 1)$ space, which means that there exists a group $\pi$ such that the first homotopy group of the space is $\pi$ and all other homotopy groups are trivial. This is mentioned in one of Devadoss's classic papers, which explains the labelling on the 2-cyclohedron, namely the hexagon. Note that hexagons with chords are also used to label the three dimensional Stasheff associahedron, but here only centrally symmetric chorded polygons appear. An appendix in a paper by Markl explains how this hexagon is turned into a triangle by shrinking down three of the sides. In general, there is a process for turning cyclohedra into regular simplices. Note that the cyclohedra are sometimes named after their inventors, Bott and Taubes. Posted by Kea at 06:34PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 149
Monday, January 21, 2008
Now the hexagon that runs through the three discs of the pants in lesson 144, and along the real axis on the Riemann sphere, is just like the hexagon (cyclohedron) from yesterday, because three edges are labelled by single chord hexagons (the squares of the associahedron in 3 dimensions) and the other three edges by edges in the associahedron which link the squares. The two vertices of the associahedron which do not appear in the circuit correspond to the two vertices of the trivalent trees drawn on the pair of pants.


So this hexagon is a real dimension shifter! Previously, the three squares were associated with three faces of the mass generation cube. The completion of the cube is now seen as a pairing between the two triangular circuits of the hexagon, denoted respectively by 1-circulant and 2-circulant matrices in the Fourier transform. Posted by Kea at 08:00PM (+13:00)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
It is easy enough to invent associative algebraic structures that quickly lead to associated non-associative structures. Unfortunately, ordinary numbers are almost always used as models in the sense that addition is assumed to be commutative. Let us consider a system with two binary operations, by convention called addition and multiplication, neither of which is commutative. Let us assume that scalars are associative and distributive, so that $x(y + z) = xy + xz \neq xz + xy = x(z + y)$ What happens with $2 \times 2$ matrices over these scalars? Matrix multiplication is well defined by the usual rule, but one must be careful about ordering scalars. In a triple product of matrices $ABC$, associativity is lost, because the first element of the product $A(BC)$ is given by $A_{11} B_{11} C_{11} + A_{11} B_{12} C_{21} + A_{12} B_{21} C_{11} + A_{12} B_{22} C_{21}$ which is distinct from $A_{11} B_{11} C_{11} + A_{12} B_{21} C_{11} + A_{11} B_{12} C_{21} + A_{12} B_{22} C_{21}$ in $(AB)C$ by non-associativity of addition. Commutativity of addition would restore associativity for all matrices. Posted by Kea at 11:22AM (+13:00)

Brave New World
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I joined Facebook just to look at a few photos, but then momentarily found myself drowning in the temptations of procrastination, so I joined the group The Petition for Alexander Grothendieck to Return From Exile. A local paper ran a feature last week on the Evil of Facebook, but the evils discussed sounded more like a list of shallow 20th century social constructs, ever present on the web due to the conditioning of its participants. But a Brave New World could lead to an even braver New World, if we so desired. We


can create the benevolent Big Sister, one who looks back on the 20th century respectfully, but in dismay. For instance, much funding for such sites clearly comes from advertising revenue. How can we remove advertising from the forums of the future? Personally, I don't want to discuss life, the universe and everything whilst being bombarded by pictures of women wearing underwear that doesn't fit properly. I went into one of those popular lingerie stores once and was disgusted to find that none of the expensive items was well made, or fitted. That implies that their revenue is generated entirely by trend value, gladly paid by women, many of whom are technically living below the poverty line and should be spending the money on more fresh fruit and vegetables. I don't see why Alexander Grothendieck would want to return from exile. Posted by Kea at 11:50AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 150
Friday, January 25, 2008
Quite a while back, kneemo recommended a paper by Duff and Ferrara on the two way entanglement of three qutrits. The paper actually begins by looking at qubits associated to $4D$ stringy black holes, and in particular the use of a hyperdeterminant to express the entropy. This hyperdeterminant is invariant under the U triality, which is a kind of three (spatial) dimensional analogue of the two dimensional duality currently generating much interest. Thus it is no surprise that when they move on to seven qubits and tripartite entanglement (giving seven lines with three nodes on the Fano plane) we start to see the familiar circulants, this time associated with $E(7)$, namely the matrix 2212111 1221211 1122121 1112212 2111221 1211122 2121112 Observe that this circulant is basically the $7 \times 7$ circulant for the Hamming code, with $1$ added to each entry, and indeed this circulant is associated to the Fano plane and seven bits of information. Moreover, an $E(8)$ interpretation has the advantage of agreeing with the 3 Time interpretation of the spatial dimensions, at least in the context of M Theory. By considering the entries of the matrix above to be qutrit elements, $A_{ij} \in \{ 0,1,2 \} = \mathbb{F}_{3}$, we see that the addition of $1$ to each entry again yields a circulant, which is twice the complement of the Hamming circulant. And finally, yet another addition of unit entries returns the matrix to the Hamming circulant. Thus a triality is made manifest by the root vector circulants.


Duff and Ferrara point out that the question of real forms for $E(7)$ is not really important in this context, since the coefficients defining the state are allowed to be complex. Hmm. This also sounds like something that came up recently. Posted by Kea at 03:52PM (+13:00)

Pretty Preons
Friday, January 25, 2008
A new, endorsed arxiv paper by T. R. Mongan discusses a Bilson-Thompson like preon model for the holographic principle. Posted by Kea at 07:31PM (+13:00)

Categorical Aside
Saturday, January 26, 2008
After a few lectures of basic category theory, people often become quite enthusiastic about discussing their favourite examples of objects and morphisms, as if recognising a category for what it is will be magically useful somehow. After a few more lectures their enthusiasm is usually dampened by the obtuseness of it all, and the realisation that just lumping things into categories doesn't really get one anywhere. And then, after learning some more tricks, there is a tendency to apply these tricks to the same old examples that came up in the first place. For example, we often discuss the category of (finite dimensional) vector spaces over a field $\mathbb{F}$, where it doesn't really matter what $\mathbb{F}$ is, because the only structure given to the category is the basic properties of a vector space, and its ability to be tensored with other spaces. So we might as well be discussing the category of vector spaces over $\mathbb{F}_{2}$, the field with two elements. In M Theory, lumping everything into an arbitrary well-known category (or functor category) is analogous to deciding that path integrals for quantum gravity should rely on classical geometry: it amounts to making a ridiculously unacceptable assumption about Nature's way of doing geometry. The category theory itself should provide the geometry. Alternatives tend to be tricky, and require delving into axiom systems, or obscure logic


and philosophy, but calculating is eventually meant to be easy! Posted by Kea at 07:33PM (+13:00)

Swagger Again
Monday, January 28, 2008
Recall that one of the permutohedra series begins with the relation $n(n+1)(2n + 1) = 6(1^2 + 2^2 + 3^2 + \cdots + n^2)$ With the surreals, this relation could extend all the way to $\omega$, resulting in the nonsensical equality $\frac{1}{6} \omega (\omega + 1)(2 \omega + 1) = \zeta (-2)$ in contrast to the usual definition, where $\zeta (-2)$ is zero. Moreover, it needs to be zero to cancel the pole of $\Gamma (-2)$ in the functional relation defining $\zeta (3)$. This suggests that, paradoxically, $\Gamma (-2)$ should be expressed in terms of the infinitesimal $\omega^{-1} = \varepsilon$. Perhaps we got $\zeta$ and $\Gamma$ mixed up! Now consider the interesting number $\zeta (2) = \frac{\pi^{2}}{6}$, defined using $\zeta (1) = \frac{1}{2} \omega (\omega + 1)$. The $\Gamma$ function is conveniently infinite again, usually in order to balance a zero from the sin factor in the functional relation. It seems necessary to balance an awful lot of zeros and infinities just to define the $\zeta$ function. A surreal zeta function may distinguish different zeros with polynomials in $\varepsilon$. Wouldn't that be fun? Posted by Kea at 06:09PM (+13:00)

Summer Holiday
Thursday, January 31, 2008
A little animal friend told me that Betsy Devine is currently blogging from New Zealand! She has an odd collection of posts on the North Island, the latest entitled In some alternate universe we are all surfer dudes. The presence of many Americans in NZ at this time of year does not go unnoticed by those of us who have to run around madly carrying salads and glasses of fine South Island pinot noirs to the tables outside in the sun. If any visiting physics bods want a really enthusiastic and cheap travel guide around the Southern Alps, then just give me a bell! Posted by Kea at 09:15AM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 151
Friday, February 01, 2008
L. B. Crowell has shown up at PF with some remarks about sphere packing, codes and quantum gravity. He seems quite interested in the Leech lattice and associated theta functions, as well as the familiar j-invariant. The triple of $E8$ lattices is most evident in the generating function for the Leech theta series, namely $f(q) = (\Theta (q))^{3} - 720 q^2 \prod_{1}^{\infty} (1 - q^{2n})^{24}$ where $\Theta (q)$ is the series for the $E8$ lattice. A triple $E8$ is suggestive from a traditional stringy point of view, extending the heterotic pair of $E8$ to a ternary logic. However, as Gannon explains, there is a more interesting triality involving affine $E8$, $F4$ and $G2$. One can label the $E8$ diagram by conjugacy classes of the Monster group! The $F4$ comes from a two folding of affine $E7$ and the $G2$ from a triple folding of affine $E6$. The $G2$ case corresponds to conjugacy classes for a Fischer group, which itself has a triple cover in one of the conjugacy classes of the Monster. $\Theta$ is really the Eisenstein series $E_{4}$. The series $E_{2}(\sqrt{z})$, $E_{4}(\sqrt{z})$ and $E_{6}(\sqrt{z})$ satisfy the triality, for $D = z \frac{d}{dz}$, $D E_{2} = \frac{1}{12} (E_{2}^{2} - E_{4})$ $D E_{4} = \frac{1}{3} (E_{2}E_{4} - E_{6})$ $D E_{6} = \frac{1}{2} (E_{2}E_{6} - E_{4}^{2})$ This triality uses the zeta values $\zeta (2)$, $\zeta (4)$ and $\zeta (6)$. The next Eisenstein series, $E_{8}$, corresponds to the theta series for $E8 \oplus E8$. The investigation of trialities for mass generation always seems to come back to this very fundamental mathematics. Posted by Kea at 10:32AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 152
Saturday, February 02, 2008
In a 2002 paper, in referring to another paper which never appeared, Batanin mentions a topological 2-operad containing the sequence of permutohedra, which are labelled by extended 1-ordinal trees as shown. The sequence begins with the interval, the hexagon and the hexagonal and square faced 24 vertex polytope. Notice that the 2-ordinal labelling here is different from the more modern one, which Batanin used to solve the general compactification problem. For example, the hexagon should be replaced by the Breen polytope, a double 12 sided object, which may be resolved into a 12 sided cylinder in the B operad.


But sticking with the old example, the last polytope (labelled by the 4 leaved tree) maps to the 3d Stasheff associahedron (labelled by a single level 4 leaved tree) under a Loday type map, which forgets the levels on the trees that are used to label permutations. So the Loday-Ronco triples are based on 1-ordinal sequences, whereas we would like to view the permutohedra as part of a 2-operad, and similarly the cubes as part of a 3-operad. The old example actually considers a 2-operad in Cat, and another operad in Span(Cat) (spans in the category of categories), the algebras of which give the sought after Gray categories. If anyone has further references to such examples, I would really appreciate finding them! Now a 3-ordinal tree with only three leaves, which looks like a central extension of the 2ordinal tree which usually labels the hexagon, happens to label a hexagon of the form shown, which came up recently in lessons when we tried to tile Riemann surfaces with associahedra. So maybe this silly hexagon on a pair of pants really is trying to tell us something. We know we want it to come from a 3-operad eventually, because mass generation is characterised by Gray type structures. Posted by Kea at 07:06PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 153
Sunday, February 03, 2008
On the pair of pants, the hexagon on one side is divided into three pentagons. This triple is associated to the three level quantum number, called mass. Recall that these become three heptagons on a tiling of the Klein quartic. There are 24 such tiles. Observe how the so-called higher dimensions of string theory are simply spaces spanned by quantum numbers: two for spin, three for mass, six for em charge and so on. In this light we can reevaluate ridiculous expressions of the form, "gravitons leak into extra dimensions". If a graviton is a particle, either it has certain quantum numbers or it doesn't. It cannot decide to take a leak and find itself more quantum numbers. The 24 tiles are the 24 dimensions of the Leech lattice. The 8 hexagons are the 8 dimensions of the E8 lattice. Each of these exhibits a triality. I'm beginning to find this quite a lot of fun.


Posted by Kea at 06:19AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 154
Monday, February 04, 2008
The three pentagons on the upper half plane (ie. the front of the pair of pants) are marked by boundary pieces from the fundamental domain tesselation of the modular group. The compact pentagon has three edges on the real axis as shown, where the point $\omega$ is the vertex where the three pentagons meet. The real points -1 and 2 define the ends of the larger circles on the ribbon graph. Thus there exist modular transformations mapping points from one pentagon into the others. We would like to consider a triality for the pentagons, such as that given by $(ST)^{3} = 1$, which fixes $\omega$. Recall also that the three strand braid group $B_3$, which covers the modular group, is the fundamental group for the complement of a trefoil knot in $\mathbb{R}^{3}$. Embedding the Riemann sphere in $\mathbb{R}^{3}$, we can draw the trefoil on the sphere and choose to place the three knot crossings near the points $0$, $1$ and $\infty$, which are the squares of the associahedron. The cell complex dual to this associahedron in $\mathbb{R}^{3}$ turned up in the description of the moduli for the 6-valent ribbon vertex of Mulase et al. Aside: The critical line of the Riemann zeta function, which is self dual under the functional relation, is the line that divides the hexagon into two pentagons on the front of the pair of pants. Posted by Kea at 08:02PM (+13:00)


Mutual Unbias
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Thanks to Carl Brannen for pointing us to a PI seminar by Thomas Durt, based on papers which study canonical bases for Hilbert spaces of dimension $p^{n}$ using, in particular, finite fields arising from subgroups of permutation groups on $p^{n}$ letters, where $p$ is prime. Now it turns out that Durt has written a paper with John Corbett, who is one of few topos theory physicists, and who happens to be at Macquarie University in Sydney, the heartland of Category Theory. This makes it not unlikely that Durt et al are thinking very abstractly when they mention in passing their interest in foundational axioms for quantum mechanics. Posted by Kea at 02:01PM (+13:00)

Mutual Unbias II
Thursday, February 07, 2008
While Carl has already launched an attack on the unsolved problem of finding a 7 MUB set for $d=6$, I have just begun mulling over the MUB literature. This recent paper, by Monique Combescure, studies MUBs for prime dimensions, and shows that in this case Fourier matrices and circulants are sufficient to construct a full MUB set. There is evidence that a set of $d+1$ MUBs may be impossible if $d$ is not a prime power. For example, finite projective planes with $d+1$ points on a line are associated to MUBs in dimension $d$. An example of a finite projective plane with 3 points on a line is the Fano plane, the nonzero points of $\mathbb{F}_{2}^{3}$, which we saw was related to a three qubit triality via the Hamming code. Thus MUBs provide a connection between Koide mass matrices and E8 type trialities, perhaps explaining the current enthusiasm for Lisi's work. Posted by Kea at 02:32PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 155
Friday, February 08, 2008
It is often said that the Fano plane is the smallest projective geometry, because there is a silly axiom ruling out diagrams with fewer points. Well, this axiom has the reasonable motivation, arising from perspective drawing, that a third point on a line specifies its direction. But if the Fano plane represents the units of the octonions, we should have a geometry that represents the units of the quaternions, not to mention the complex numbers. The triangle clearly fills this role: for any 2 points there is only one line running through them, and given any 2 lines there is only 1 point incident upon both. Similarly, a single point and


line represents the complex number $i$. Since we allow a one point field $\mathbb{F}_{1}$, this should be a perfectly legitimate projective geometry. $PG(2,1)$ has only one element, because there is only one element in the field. Posted by Kea at 08:09AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 156
Friday, February 08, 2008
Linas Vepstas has some really nice pictures on his webpage. This is the real part of the J invariant. And check out the polylogarithm movie! In the movie, the polylogarithm parameter $s$ is varied along the critical line of the Riemann zeta function (from the real axis upwards) and the $\textrm{Li}_{s}(z)$ phase is plotted in the plane. Posted by Kea at 08:21PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 157
Sunday, February 10, 2008
It's a while since we stressed the fact that there should be some category theory happening, so here is a diagram of a tensorator, which weakens a basic commutative square for maps involving tensor products. Observe that both sides of the square represent $f \otimes g$. These squares appear in the definition of a monoidal 2-category, where $\phi$ is essentially unique for any given $f: A \rightarrow A'$ and $g: B \rightarrow B'$. From a higher categorical point of view, we need to move away from Hilbert spaces when investigating mass matrices and MUBs. In particular, we are allowed to completely change the rules for tensor products of spaces. What might this mean for mutually unbiased bases? Instead of bases we can consider $d$ change of basis maps for a prime $d$ dimensional space. Instead of being ordinary matrices, these operators are permitted to be less well defined under a tensor product, via the tensorator. For example, if $f \otimes g$ is only defined up to a scalar, depending


on the order of composition, the map $\phi$ might correspond to multiplication by the scalar between the two alternative types of $f \otimes g$. Thus higher categories offer excellent ways of cheating to get just what one wants! Aside: What is Category Theory? is a lovely book, which one can browse with Google. It contains a helpful article by Coecke: Introducing categories to the practicing physicist. Posted by Kea at 07:33PM (+13:00)

Ternary Geometry
Monday, February 11, 2008
In classical geometry, duality is a basic feature of the axioms. For 2 dimensional marked surfaces, swap points for face elements and lines for lines. Since the simplest concept of dimension is totally ordered, in an $n$ dimensional space one can always swap points for $n$-faces, lines for $(n-1)$-faces, and so on. What would a ternary analogue of projective duality look like? Even without fixing upon axioms, it is clear that the ordered nature of dimension cannot so easily accommodate a ternary transformation between points and lines and surface elements. That is, we would like to consider a triality which takes points to lines, lines to faces, and faces to points. So we choose to generalise dimension to values in the higher ordinals, as necessary. First, however, let us consider the case of points, lines and faces with assigned dimensions of 0,1 and 2 respectively. Are there any obvious collections of 0, 1 and 2 cells that allow for such ternary transformations? Consider the sphere with 2 hemispheres, 2 marked points and 2 half equators. This object is self-ternary in the sense that a triality takes the space to itself. By the way, when orienting the geometric elements, this kind of arrow in an $n$-category is known as a globule. It is a simple choice of arrow with well defined sources and targets in each dimension. It is also an operad polytope. Now consider the humble cube. Ordinary duality takes the cube to the octahedron, which is equally symmetric. Triality should specify three spaces with (8,12,6) then (6,8,12) then (12,6,8) points, lines and faces. It is possible to maintain a marking of the genus zero sphere by adjusting the number of points that lie on a line. Thus the three Euler characteristics are given by $8 - 12 + 6 = 2$ $6 - 2 \times 8 + 12 = 2$


$12 - 3 \times 6 + 8 = 2$ which helps solve the cube triality. For instance, note that since the average number of edges to a face in the third case is 4.5, we know that there are probably 4 pentagons and 4 squares. Posted by Kea at 07:21PM (+13:00)

Mutual Unbias III
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
It turns out that Wootters, one of the MUB pioneers, gave a talk at a 2005 PI conference, at which Coecke also gave an interesting talk on categorical quantum mechanics. Highly recommended. Posted by Kea at 04:01PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 158
Thursday, February 14, 2008
In lecture 25, Baez looks at the functor +1 on the groupoid of finite sets. Recall that addition is the disjoint union of sets, so this functor takes a finite set and adds a one point set to it. Now we can define groupoidified creation and annhilation operators. First take the span shown on the left. Applying the zero homology functor will turn the arrow +1 into the (groupoidified) creation operator. Similarly, starting with the functor +1 on the left yields the annihilation operator. The commutation relation between $a$ and $a^{\dagger}$ follows from considering the number of ways to take things out of a set and put them back in again. Think about it. Note that the composition of spans (the pink arrows) is given by a (weak) pullback, which conveniently exists for this category. Pullbacks allow products of arbitrary numbers of creation and annihilation operators. Back down inside FinSet, recall that a pullback of two subspace arrows $U$ and $V$ is the intersection $U \cap V$. But in the groupoid FinSet0 the only arrows are bijections, and such limit diagrams do not exist. The finite set with $n$ elements has no arrow connecting it to the finite set with $n + 1$ elements. Thus the functor +1 acts simply as a categorified successor arrow for the ordinals. Although not a satisfactory quantum gravitational definition for creation and annihilation, this approach goes some way towards giving a canonical diagrammatic representation for these operators. As Carl has pointed out, the Feynman diagrams for density matrix QFT should have an interpretation as products of creation and annihilation operators, a la Schwinger. Posted by Kea at 09:55AM (+13:00)


Ternary Geometry II
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Recall [1] that the pullback $U \cap V$ of open sets in a manifold $M$ is essential to the definition of homology, which begins with the differential forms functor $\Omega^{\ast}$ acting on the arrows relating $M$ to the disjoint union of $U$ and $V$, in which the set $U \cap V$ is included. From the point of view of logic, it is a nice feature of manifolds that they are defined in terms of glued sets. Let us view the Euler characteristic of a space as a homological entity (which it is). For a compact oriented manifold, under geometric Poincare duality the homology groups, and cohomology groups in the dual dimension, are isomorphic. Since the Euler characteristic is an alternating sum of dimensions of homology groups, it behaves simply under duality. Considering a compact hypersurface, in odd dimension $d$ we see that $\chi = n_0 - n_1 + n_2 \cdots + n_d$ goes to $- \chi$ under duality. These two can only be equal if $\chi = 0$, which is the general result. Thus $\chi$ is not always a useful invariant. Its essence is already captured in dimension one, where $\chi = n_0 - n_1 = P - L$. Observe that here we see only 2-logos (binary) logic, rather than ternary logic. Moreover, quantum invariants need not take values as scalars, but rather as q-numbers, perhaps represented by matrices. Now let us reinterpret the 2-logos $\chi$ as a combination of the Pauli MUB operators $1$ and $\sigma_{x}$ (the swap circulant, interpreted as -1). A ternary analogue for $\chi$ is then naturally the $3 \times 3$ quantum Fourier transform, an example of which are the neutral and charged lepton mass matrices. Under triality, these matrices are invariant, at least up to equivalence. [1] R. Bott and L. W. Tu, Differential Forms in Algebraic Topology, Springer (1982) Posted by Kea at 01:48PM (+13:00)

Saturday, February 16, 2008
This paper by Kostant (a great mathematician who is currently busy giving seminars on Lisi's E8) mentions the $11 \times 11$ circulant matrix (associated to a $12 \times 12$ Hadamard matrix) with first row $1, 1 ,1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1$ The paper looks at $PSL(2,11)$ for the finite field $\mathbb{F}_{11}$, which is a little larger than the 5 or 7 that we are used to, but also interesting. One can make a planar geometry for this group, like the Fano plane, but with 11 lines. Posted by Kea at 08:52PM (+13:00)


Mutual Unbias IV
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Thanks to Phil for the link to this recent seminar by A. Ericsson on MUBs and Hadamard matrices. The seminar looks at geometric aspects of the MUB problem, and its connection with more well known combinatorial problems. For example, the $3 \times 3$ circulant with entries $1,2$ and $3$ appears as a Latin square. Ericsson's construction considers the $d+1$ bases as a polytope defined by the convex hull of points lying on certain simplices (with $d$ vertices defining a basis) in $(d-1)$ dimensional planes in the quantum state space (or rather, a density operator space) of dimension $d^2 - 1$, which is to say the space of $d \times d$ Hermitian matrices of trace 1. For example, when $d=2$, the polytope is the octahedron on a Bloch sphere (didn't that polytope come up just the other day?). The problem of fitting the regular simplices into the polytope is shown to be equivalent to finding $d-1$ orthogonal Latin squares! This is the same as finding a finite affine plane of order $d$. Posted by Kea at 07:37PM (+13:00)

Mutual Unbias V
Monday, February 18, 2008
The MUB literature review continues with a paper by Planat et al, containing this beautiful diagram of a Fano plane lying inside a cube, describing the geometry of operators for a system of two spin $\frac{1}{2}$ particles. This paper moves away from fields to look at projective geometry for Galois rings. Posted by Kea at 08:16PM (+13:00)

Mutual Unbias VI
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Here are the slides for a talk by the computer scientist Ross Duncan on MUBs at the workshop on Categories, Logic and Physics at Imperial College in January. No, I did not know about this before today's announcement about the next workshop. Posted by Kea at 08:07PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 159
Thursday, February 21, 2008
The PF thread discussing Lisi's work (and the E8 talk by Kostant) contains a link to Baez's page on some interesting remarks by McKay, alluded to by Gannon (see here). McKay says: There is a remarkable connection between the three groups: Monster, 2.Baby Monster and 3.F24, and the graphs for E8, E7, and E6 respectively ... We may [alternatively] work with the folded Dynkin graphs of type E8, F4, G2 and collapse the centre. By moonshine, this means that each node of these extended graphs can be labelled by a modular function given by the moonshine correspondence, with the elliptic modular function j(z) corresponding to the identity of the Monster and so to the affine node of the E8 Dynkin graph. There is a similar interpretation for the other nodes. Adjacency is not understood but there should be a mechanism for obtaining the neighbours of a moonshine modular function occurring here. Posted by Kea at 05:48PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 160
Friday, February 22, 2008
Monstrous moonshine tells us that the 1-ordinal indexing of the j invariant by powers of $q$ $j = q^{-1} +744 + 196884 q + 21493760 q^{2} + \cdots$ is roughly associated to the 1-ordinal indexing of an operad, since the coefficients are dimensions of the Monster modules $V_{i}$, which form an operad algebra. When interpreted as a lattice theta function, this indexing corresponds to the lengths of lattice vectors. This correspondence between distance from the origin and dimension crops up in many unexpected quarters. For instance, in the method of geometric quantisation, the representations of $SU(2)$ are given by discretely spaced spheres in the dual of the Lie algebra for the group, basically $\mathbb{R}^{3}$. In fact, root lattices are just like this, living in the dual space to the Cartan algebra. Well, it's probably time to mention E8 again: not only does the j invariant label a single node of an E8 diagram, but as Gannon points out, the dimension of E8 also appears in a single term of the expansion $j^{\frac{1}{3}} = q^{\frac{-1}{3}} (1 + 248 q + 4124 q^{2} + 34752 q^{3} + \cdots )$ which is the generating function for the modular congruence group $\Gamma (3)$. It's neat that $4124 = 1031 \times 2^{2}$ has a simple prime factorisation, just like $248 = 31 \times 2^{3}$ (as Kostant mentions) and $34752 = 181 \times 3 \times 2^{6}$. I wonder


why? Posted by Kea at 07:07PM (+13:00)

Saturday, February 23, 2008
Apparently the arxiv is now accepting Word documents. Clearly, they need to cater to the formatting preferences and abilities of all those permitted to post papers there. Meanwhile, Pioneer One writes about the ineffectiveness of peer review, and there is a wonderful mathematics carnival at JD2718, where AF is honoured to be included in the category Meta-topic. Posted by Kea at 06:01PM (+13:00)

Against Symmetry
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Kostant's talk on Lisi's $E8$ physics appears to have renewed interest in the idea of One Big Group to explain everything. But symmetry, on its own, explains nothing at all. The 20th century idea that (standard) model building has sufficient explanatory power in itself is hopelessly inadequate for tackling the problems of quantum gravity. Lots of smart people tried this idea (Lie group based GUTs) and they failed. Did anyone notice? This idea FAILED! Consider some basic examples of symmetry groups and their representations: say rotations of a sphere. One easy way to shift to a larger group is to increase the dimension of the sphere. But in doing so, observe that nothing in the underlying geometry of the space has been enriched. Whatever the dimension of $\mathbb{R}^{n}$, the symmetry rules for a sphere rely on the basic properties of the real numbers, analysis and the axioms of set theory and topology. In this scheme, what is the symmetry group of a point? You don't know? Shouldn't we actually understand this if we want our spaces to be associated with physical spacetime and matter's internal degrees of freedom? I am sure Lisi appreciates that his paper is not a final explanation of how to unify the SM with gravity, but rather a new direction to probe effective descriptions of SM particle fields. So where does $E8$ really come from? Maybe $E8$ is pure moonshine... Posted by Kea at 06:05PM (+13:00)

M Theory Revision
Monday, February 25, 2008
Let us recall that one familiar instance of a hexagon represents the paths in a cube, labelled by monomials in $X$, $Y$ and $Z$. Edges of the hexagon must represent the morphing of one path into another, which is to say a face of the cube. Observe how a 1circulant and a 2-circulant label three vertices each. We could teach this in kindergarten. Posted by Kea at 07:44PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 161
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The permutohedron in three dimensions is the octahedron with truncated vertices, which form six square faces between eight hexagons. Recall that the octahedron is dual to a cube, which in turn gives the permutohedron via the Loday maps. That is, the permutohedron ( and the associahedron) acts as an intermediary between the two dual objects. Beneath duality lurks the shadow of triality! Posted by Kea at 08:48PM (+13:00)

Against Symmetry II
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Carl might not like the term background independence, but I have fond memories of independently lurking in the dark corners of a Sydney library in the early '90s, trying to figure out how quantum groups might allow us to throw out classical spaces in our construction of operators. I gave some seminars on applications of quantum groups to high temperature superconductivity, but these were no doubt naive and no one in the audience paid the least attention. Not much has changed, although with the net I can now lurk from the comfort of home. Sometime in 1995, I decided that the early quantum group papers were trying to put spaces underneath the algebras, just like in old fashioned gauge theory. And even today, some people insist on pointing out that operads must act on something. Fortunately, at this level of abstraction, we can say that the spaces concerned are models or ideas imposed as experimental constraints, and they are not supposed to represent an actual aether, appearing universally in any question we might think to ask. Posted by Kea at 09:10AM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 162
Thursday, February 28, 2008
As a zonohedron, the 3 dimensional permutohedron is generated by the 12 edges of the octahedron, which become the edges shared by two hexagons. In this scheme, the required list of 6 generators (edges come in pairs) is {1,1,0} {1,-1,0} {1,0,1} {1,0,-1} {0,1,1} {0,1,-1} which corresponds to two $3 \times 3$ circulant sets. Now to obtain the cube from the permutohedron, observe that the 8 hexagons are vertices, the 6 squares are faces, and the 12 special edges ($\frac{1}{3} \times 36$) are the edges. The incidence relations for a cube may be read off the permutohedron: * each hexagon touches 3 squares * each edge joins 2 squares * each edge lies on 2 hexagons and so on. Note also that the 24 vertices represent 3 times the number of vertices of a cube, because each of 6 vertices of a hexagon is shared by 2 hexagons. Posted by Kea at 07:58PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 163
Friday, February 29, 2008
I was delighted to come across a remarkable paper by Bolker, Guillemin and Holm, entitled How is a graph like a manifold? The paper begins with some remarks on Stanley's proof of McMullen's conjecture and then moves onto geometric definitions and problems involving the Betti numbers of graphs. For example, the graph of the symmetric group $S_{n}$, that is the permutohedron, corresponds to the flag manifold of subspaces of $\mathbb{CP}^{n}$. In M Theory we are particularly interested in $S_{3}$, a hexagon including the diagonals, which has three geodesics, one of which is shown in the diagram. Posted by Kea at 10:09AM (+13:00)


Damned Numbers
Friday, February 29, 2008
Carl and kneemo, amongst others, like to think about that damned number, otherwise known as the phase angle determining the charged lepton mass matrix, which is $\phi = 0.22222204717$ to within experimental precision: notably close to $\frac{2}{9}$. The $3 \times 3$ MUB problem says nothing about this phase. Since phases usually involve factors of $\pi$, one wonders if there are any well known numbers that, when multiplied by $\pi$, also give numbers very close to $\frac{2}{9}$. For example, consider the first zero of the Riemann zeta function, namely $\gamma_{1} = 14.134725142$. Observe that $\frac{\pi}{\gamma_{1}} = 0.222260611(5)$ which differs from $\frac{2}{9}$ by a factor of 1.000172751(75). So we didn't really need to look far to find a number satisfying this curiosity. Are there better ones? Posted by Kea at 03:17PM (+13:00)

Day At Work
Sunday, March 02, 2008
I was about to commiserate with Tommaso regarding the state of bureaucracy in Italy, having just received a telegram giving me a time for an interview there, which of course I am completely unable to attend, my swimming abilities not extending to global circumnavigation. Now, I've never actually received a telegram before. It reminded me of my favourite childhood Agatha Christie stories, of adventurous women wandering in the African jungle in between afternoon tea and biscuits and telegrams. But then I recalled that my email address has changed a number of times since I sent off the application, and I had to change my cellphone number because I was being harrassed, and I don't have have any other phone numbers or means of contact. Anyway, the state of bureaucracy in Italy may well be dismal, but I am in no position to judge it. Meanwhile, I am attempting to deal with the forms for a local postdoctoral fellowship. I sent off a draft to the university research office and it was returned with a large number of suggested corrections, most notably that I should cut down the technical summary to 300 words or less. The remaining 20 or so pages are for detailing the benefits of the proposal for the country's economic, cultural, industrial and educational welfare. This is going to take me some time to figure out. Posted by Kea at 08:06PM (+13:00)


History Meme
Monday, March 03, 2008
Tommaso Dorigo has tagged me with the history meme, but my charity towards pyramid schemes only extends to rules 1 and 2, and I omit links to other blogs in the post. Besides, I don't actually know enough people to pester. So then, seven weird and/or random things about an historical figure... The idea of a favourite never really makes sense to me. How does one compare the merits of a Marie Curie to a Cyrus the Great? Anyway, I settled on the warrior Artemisia, the Queen of Halicarnassus: 1. most famous for deceptively ramming a friendly Persian ship, which sunk along with its crew, in order to escape after the Persian defeat at Salamis, where Artemisia commanded 5 ships 2. thinking that the sunken ship was Greek, Xerxes remarked: my men fought like women and my women fought like men 3. she supposedly fought in the previous Persian victory near Cape Artemisium, at the same time as the Persian victory on land at Thermopylae, at which point the Greek situation wasn't looking good 4. it was Artemisia that advised Xerxes to return to Asia, and it was her that had warned Xerxes of the Greek strength at sea 5. she is said to have put out the eyes of her beloved but neglectful Dardanus 6. as punishment she died by taking the lover's leap 7. the later namesake, Queen Artemisia II, built a great tomb for her brother (and husband) Mausolus, who died in 353 BC (this is where the word mausoleum comes from) Posted by Kea at 05:33PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 164
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Let's do some really basic algebra. On Friday we wondered whether or not the inverses of Riemann zeroes might be related to that damned number. Note that inverse eigenvalues naturally occur for inverse matrices, since $A^{-1} A v = v = A^{-1} (\lambda v)$ where $\lambda$ is an eigenvalue for $A$. If $A$ (assumed complex) is both Hermitian and unitary, it satisfies $A^{\dagger} = A^{-1} = A$, from which it follows that $A^{2} = I$. What are the solutions to this equation? In the $2 \times 2$ case one quickly finds that either $A = I$ or $A = \sigma_{x}$. For the $3 \times 3$ case, relations of the form $a_{11}^{2} - a_{22}^{2} - a_{33}^{2} - 2 a_{23} \overline{a_{23}} = 1$


suggest setting off diagonal elements to be real, since diagonal elements are already real. So if $a_{12} = 1$, it immediately follows that $A$ is completely specified by the circulant matrix 010 100 001 The remaining possibilities are left to the reader. Now note that if $A = A^{-1}$ then the real eigenvalues come in pairs $(\lambda , \lambda^{-1})$, with $\lambda = \pm 1$ considered a double eigenvalue. As a factor of the characteristic polynomial, these 2 roots give $x^{2} - x(\lambda + \frac{1}{\lambda}) + 1$ which in the $2 \times 2$ case is precisely the statement that $\textrm{det} (A) = 1$ (the constant term) and $\textrm{tr} (A) = \lambda + \frac{1}{\lambda}$. Posted by Kea at 05:05PM (+13:00)

Time Machine
Friday, March 07, 2008
Although it caused quite a stir in the press and on the blogosphere, I didn't take much notice of the Time Machine paper until today, when I realised it was written by Irina Aref'eva and Volovich, who happen to work on p-adic strings and the quantization of the Riemann zeta function. Ultimately, they are simply speculating about new kinds of objects, related to classical causality violation, that may be visible at the LHC, and the catchy title is simply a gimmick without which it is difficult these days to get papers posted on the arxiv. In this paper, the authors discuss some pretty hairy mathematics, in the physicist's characteristic shockingly hand-wavy manner. To quote: [this lends] additional support to the proposal that the Beilinson conjectures on the values of L-functions of motives can be interpreted as dealing with the cosmological constant problem ... in section 6 we shall discuss an approach of how to use a Galois group and quantum L-functions instead of SUSY to improve the spectrum. By the spectrum they are referring to their analysis, inspired by the non trivial zeroes of the Riemann zeta function, which correspond to $m^{2}$ values in Klein-Gordon operators. In other words, the zeta function is defined not on numbers, but as a pseudodifferential operator. The Hypothesis says that the zeta field is given by a sum of such Klein-Gordon Lagrangians. Note that in M Theory, we prefer to replace $\Lambda$ with the heirarchy of Planck scales, but this idea is basically present in their work. Posted by Kea at 12:18PM (+13:00)


Quote of the Week
Friday, March 07, 2008
From Dynamics of Cats, regarding the WMAP release: If you're a cosmologist, you need to rewrite your proposal. Now. Aside: according to Mottle (oh, wait, it's in the abstract) the 5 year data strongly suggests 3 (or 4) neutrino species, of mass sum $\leq 0.61 eV$, in agreement with Carl Brannen's prediction of $\Sigma m = 0.0600(40) eV$. Update: Louise Riofrio has an informative post on the results. Posted by Kea at 12:50PM (+13:00)

Autumn Days
Saturday, March 08, 2008
I am thinking of going on a walk soon with some friends down south. Posted by Kea at 07:14PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 165
Sunday, March 09, 2008
In his newest preon model, Carl Brannen (whose diagram I have filched) uses a total of 24 objects, including six squares as shown. In other words, think of the six squares of a permutohedron, given by the squares of a truncated octahedron. These ternary geometry type squares were rotated by 45 degrees from the squares used to specify the usual dual, namely a cube. Posted by Kea at 08:01PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 166
Monday, March 10, 2008
Recall that the third theta function in the j invariant numerator, namely $\theta_{10}(0, \tau)$, transforms under $\tau \mapsto \tau + 1$ to $\theta_{10}(0, \tau)$ multiplied by the 8th root of unity $\textrm{exp}(i \frac{\pi}{4})$. For the j invariant, the 8th root disappears with the power of 8. Perhaps we should think of the power of 8 here as representing 8 vertices of a cube, where 3 cubes are formed from the six squares of a permutohedron, each paired to its opposite. Every vertex of such a cube is obtained by rotating the octahedron dual by $\textrm{exp}(i \frac{\pi}{4})$, as mentioned yesterday. But why would one try to associate the j invariant with such low dimensional polytopes rather than, say, the $E8$ or Leech lattices? Why not! It is far easier to visualise what is going on in three dimensions, because that happens to be the dimension of our classical space template. And for 6 dimensional twistor type moduli, perhaps we can put 3 and 3 together. Posted by Kea at 07:03PM (+13:00)

Resolving Power
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
It is quite a while since we looked at Batanin's picture of the three dimensional permutoassociahedron, so here it is! Observe how it resolves each vertex of a permutohedron (labelled by an ordering of four letters) into a pentagon (which represents the Mac Lane bracketings of four letters). This is a 120 vertex polytope. Posted by Kea at 07:02PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 167
Thursday, March 13, 2008
At PF, Lawrence B. Crowell taught us about the remarkable invention of non-commutative geometry by the great Hamilton, the inventor of the quaternions. But I do not refer to the quaternions themselves. Rather, as Janet Heine Barnett explains in a beautiful article on the icosian game, in Hamilton's own words: I have lately been led to the conception of a new system, or rather family of systems, of non-commutative roots of unity, which are entirely distinct from the i j k of quaternions, though having some general analogy thereto. The basic icosian calculus describes moves through the vertices of a dodecahedron and is generated by three kinds of move, let us say $a$, $b$ and $c$, such that $a^{2} = 1$, $b^{3} = 1$, $c^{5} = 1$ and $c = ab$. Observe the appearance of the rules for the modular group. All these moves apply to the oriented graph and are given by a. reverse the edge (eg. $ST \mapsto TS$) b. rotate (say left) around the endpoint (eg. $HG \mapsto BG$) c. move one edge (to the right) along a pentagon (eg. $BZ \mapsto ZQ$) At least one crazy retired physicist has incorporated this calculus into a spacetime model for the leptons and quarks, in which the $E8$ lattice magically appears out of paired quaternion like (ie. octonion) operations. A triality involving three $E8$s is briefly discussed. Actually, it was supposedly Hamilton who first considered the complex numbers algebraically as an ordered pair of reals, in a paper entitled, Theory of Conjugate Functions, or Algebraic Couples; with a Preliminary and Elementary Essay on Algebra as the Science of Pure Time. Hamilton's next publication was entitled, On the Propagation of Light in Vacuo. (I almost wish I was 15 again so that I had time to read more.) Posted by Kea at 05:47PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 168
Friday, March 14, 2008
Like Hamilton's dodecahedron, the squashed permutoassociahedron also permits a circuit that passes once through each of the 120 vertices. It helps to paint the squares, pentagons and dodecagons in different colours. Try it! Posted by Kea at 04:23PM (+13:00)


The Dark Side
Saturday, March 15, 2008
I'm a bit behind the times down here sometimes. I only just noticed, whilst passing the news stand at the supermarket, that the cover story of the last issue of New Scientist is about the possible non-existence of The Dark Force. I didn't need to open it to know that it mentioned David Wiltshire, but of course not Louise Riofrio, Matti Pitkanen or a whole of host of other quantum gravity researchers who think The Dark Force is absurd. Posted by Kea at 04:17PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 169
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Thanks to Steven H. Cullinane for this diagram of Hamilton's quaternions, the whirligigs. Recall that this plane over the three element finite field $\mathbb{F}_3$ arises in the $d = 3^{n}$ MUB problem, associated to the Fourier transform of the $p = 3$ mass matrices. Posted by Kea at 04:28PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 170
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Hamilton circuits are drawn on the cube and associahedron. Observe how a step on the parity cube shifts a bit by 1. This circuit is used to define the space filling Gray code by shifting one edge across a boundary. Tony Smith explains how this is related to $E8$ lattices. Posted by Kea at 07:21PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 171
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
As one moves up the $n$-ordinal ladder, perhaps by adding levels to a tree (as in the case of the extension of the associahedra to the permutoassociahedra), the spherical polytopes acquire more and more vertices and faces. That is, they begin to better approximate a sphere. In all dimensions, both the cube and the permutohedron tile $\mathbb{R}^{N}$. The translation lattice for the 3 dimensional permutohedron may be generated by the vectors $(1,1,-3)$, $(1,-3,1)$ and $(1,1,-3)$. The associahedra do not share this property, but recall that they instead tile the real points of interesting moduli spaces. Posted by Kea at 01:14PM (+13:00)

Riemann Rainbow
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
David Corfield brings our attention to an AIM press release about the discovery of a new L function. As the blurb explains, this new function $L(s)$ satisfies a degree 3 symmetric functional relation $F(s) \equiv \frac{\sqrt{q}}{\pi^{3}} \Gamma (\frac{s}{2} + r_{1}) \Gamma (\frac{s}{2} + r_{2}) \Gamma (\frac{s}{2} + r_{3}) L(s) = F(1 - s)$ for some integer $q$, in contrast to the degree 1 behaviour of the Riemann zeta function (for which $q = 1$). Of course I immediately emailed Michael Rubinstein to ask for a reference on the actual values of these Langlands' parameters, as well as values for the first few known zeroes, which lie on the critical line. I eagerly await a reply, but my server may well be treated as a spam generator. In the meantime, Minhyong Kim has kindly provided helpful comments and links. Posted by Kea at 03:10PM (+13:00)

The Dirac Code
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Thanks to Carl Brannen for links to slides by physicist Peter Rowlands. I thought the name was familiar: had I met him at a conference a few years ago? If so, it was odd that I could not recall somebody working on a nilpotent operator theory related to Brannen's


measurement algebra. Ah! That's it! He has also been banned by the arxiv server, without explanation, despite being a qualified physicist and author of a book on the foundations of physics. Do any of the blacklisted physicists not have an interest in this approach to unification? Posted by Kea at 07:20PM (+13:00)

The Dirac Code II
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
In a new post, Carl Brannen compares Rowlands' nilpotents with the idempotents of the density operator formalism. Rowlands says on slide 22, " this is intriguingly close to twistor algebra", in reference to 4 complex variables arising from a combination of his quaternions ($1$, $I$, $J$, $K$) and multivariate vectors ($i$, $u$, $v$, $w$). This results in 64 possible products of 8 units, which may be generated, for example, by the combinations $iK$, $uI$, $vI$, $wI$, $1J$ namely 5 in number, as the Dirac gamma matrices. Rowlands then writes the Dirac equation in the form $[ iK \frac{\partial}{\partial t} + Iu \frac{\partial}{\partial x} + Iv \frac{\partial}{\partial y} + Iw \frac{\partial}{\partial z} + iJ m ] \psi = 0$ thereby associating the quaternion units $I$, $J$ and $K$ with momentum, mass and energy. The nilpotency appears for the amplitude $A$ when trying to interpret $\psi$ as a plane wave solution. See the slides for extensions of these ideas. For example, requiring $iKE + Ip + Jm$ to be nilpotent, we obtain the expression $E^{2} = p^{2} + m^{2}$ of special relativity. It is OK to put $c = 1$ here, because we work in the one time approximation. From the perspective of M Theory, even novel algebras are merely representative of the meta-algebraic categorical axioms (Rowlands eliminates equations on slide 40), but analogous number theoretic structures, such as those arising from the $\mathbb{F}_{3}$ matrices for the quaternions in a Langlands type context, contain an even richer potential for interpreting operators in a measurement context, where numbers are the inevitable outcome. Posted by Kea at 01:32PM (+13:00)

The Dirac Code III
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The Pauli exclusion principle for solutions to Dirac's equation, and nilpotency in general, are summed up by the expression


$D^{2} = 0$ for an operator $D$. Mathematicians really like this expression. It immediately brings to mind the (co)homological dimension raising and lowering operators. And since we really want to do M Theory, why not skip the boring manifold de Rham theory (including equivariant cohomology, for that matter) and go straight to a universal motivic cohomology? After all, our particle states are to be represented by knotty diagrams with interpretations in higher logos logic, so the cohomology would naturally be universal (and we're supposed to be doing Quantum Gravity, dammit). Dimension shifts are categorical. That's why we try so hard to view cardinalities of sets (such as particle counts) in the context of higher topos axiomatics. Thus we don't even know how to count to 3 until we reach the land of tricategories and their multicategorical analogues. Fortunately, as J. W. Gray showed some time ago, by dimension 3, weak $n$-categories reveal a remarkable surprise: the ability to contain dimension altering operations. Rowlands talks about simple fermions, for which two spin states form the basis of the quantum logic. The squareness of nilpotency, as opposed to the more general $D^{n} \simeq 0$, may be viewed as a consequence of exclusion in two steps, arising from the spin quantum numbers. A mass analogue therefore suggests the study of $D^{3} \simeq 0$. In the context of generalised cohomology, this asks for an enormous extension of the idea of cohomology itself, which relies on concepts such as duality, as opposed to triality. If the categorical structure was significantly extended with each dimension, such as via a concept of $n$-ordinal category, the nilpotent case should be sufficiently rich to reproduce the cohomology theory in question. And there would be so much more. Posted by Kea at 04:01PM (+13:00)

The Dirac Code IV
Thursday, March 20, 2008
On extending Rowlands' quaternion units to the seven octonions of the Fano plane, one encounters a 3 Time interpretation, accounting for the three generations via the projected hexagon, as usual. Whereas Rowlands finds 4 choices of sign in the 3 quaternion terms, resulting in a 4 component state, in the octonion case, leaving 3 positive mass terms, there are $2^{4} = 16$ sign choices. But the Fano plane relations suggest a reduction of these degrees of freedom, perhaps to the 12 expected for 3 generations. It would be interesting to combine this octonionic framework with related $E8$ ideas, although classical groups are not of particular


interest in M Theory, except in establishing links with other formalisms. Posted by Kea at 11:31AM (+13:00)

Quote of Last Century
Thursday, March 20, 2008
From Wigner's The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences: It is not the intention of the present discussion to refute the charge that the physicist is a somewhat irresponsible person. Posted by Kea at 01:45PM (+13:00)

GRB 080319B
Friday, March 21, 2008
AAVSO alert. Stolen from the ccd astronomy blog: an image of this week's record bright GRB 080319B. Thanks to Tommaso Dorigo for the alert. Distance indicated by a significant redshift of 0.94. No prizes for guessing the next question ... has anyone phoned LIGO? Update: NASA news and images. Posted by Kea at 01:01PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 172
Saturday, March 22, 2008
In a post about TWF 261, Baez asks about the trefoil and a knot quandle. The knot quandle looks like $i \cdot j = k$ $j \cdot k = i$ $k \cdot i = j$ which M theorists will recognise as a three dimensional cyclic rule similar to the logic of mass operators. The braid group $B_3$ (recall that this is the fundamental group of the complement of the trefoil) is associated to this quandle, and this is our favourite group covering the modular group. Michael Batanin pointed out that Loday had put the trefoil on the Stasheff associahedron. In M Theory we like to put knot crossings on the squares of this $3D$ polytope, because the polytope can be turned into the pair of pants with marked trivalent vertices which we put onto the Riemann sphere (which has a lot to do with the modular group) and recall


that the squares end up on the real axis, where we might eventually want branch cuts that can accommodate knot crossings, just as in the Ghrist ribbon templates. Clearly there is something very fundamental about knots here that we do not really understand. Recall that we also wanted knots on the squares (rather circle boundaries) of the pants so that we could use planar diagrams orthogonally to the Chern-Simons type knots contained in the tubes, and where we could rotate sources and targets on the circles before gluing. Posted by Kea at 07:43PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 173
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Let us consider the binary operation on three objects $i$, $j$ and $k$ such that $i \cdot j = k$ $j \cdot k = i$ $k \cdot i = j$ For example, if the objects were sides of a triangle, the operation might take distinct edges to the edge opposite their common vertex. Note that $k \cdot (j \cdot k) = k \cdot i = j$ so associativity implies that $j \cdot j = i \cdot i = k \cdot k$ Rules of the form $k \cdot k \cdot k = i$ follow, so one need never encounter more than cubic terms. If the operation were also commutative, then $i \cdot i = k \cdot (j \cdot j) \cdot k = i \cdot k = j$. It follows that $j \cdot j = j$, and in fact all the objects are idempotent. But now there are just too many relations between these objects, so it might be more interesting to drop commutativity and/or associativity. Unfortunately, we can then no longer consider the simple example of an ordinary triangle. Here is a picture of the three squares on the associahedron pair of pants. When a crossing is marked on each square, there is one path around the faces of the associahedron. By choosing crossings correctly, we can draw a trefoil knot. Note how the picture almost looks like two pieces of ribbon too. By mixing the shown edges with actual polytope edges, one can draw a trivalent ribbon vertex on both the front and back of the pair of pants. Now we can have fun dreaming up new quandle examples using this geometry, associated to the circulant mass operators. Posted by Kea at 08:11PM (+13:00)


Extra, Extra
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
From Motl's latest post (which discusses this paper): Conventional physics uses quadratic Lagrangians, two-dimensional worldsheets, secondrank tensors under Yang-Mills groups, commutators between two objects, and similar structures based on the number "2" all the time. We know them quite well. Still, it looks likely that there exists a whole realm of wisdom that remains mostly hidden in a cloud of mystery ... There exist hints that these largely unknown structures might be based on the number " 3" in a similar way as the known theories are based on the number "2". This comment looks extremely vague but there are many reasons to see this prophesy. Hmmm. Sounds familiar. Posted by Kea at 11:57AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 174
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
By smoothing the crossing on one boundary disc of the pants (see last lesson) the trefoil turns into two distinct trivalent ribbon vertices. Recall that Bar-Natan's picture of Khovanov homology for the trefoil knot associates a parity cube to all possible smoothings of the three crossings. So once again we start with the Stasheff associahedron and obtain the cube. Moreover, this cube gives us an invariant for the trefoil knot. For knots with more crossings, Khovanov homology requires higher dimensions, but maybe we can squeeze those into three dimensions by looking at more complicated polytopes with more square faces. For example, recall the 6 crossing knot which we drew on the Klein quartic surface. Can we obtain this knot from the permutohedron, which has six square faces? Posted by Kea at 08:42PM (+13:00)

Riemann Rainbow II
Thursday, March 27, 2008
As it happens, a very friendly bee gave me the data for the new degree 3 $L$ function. Since the data is not mine to divulge, I won't post it here (I'll just have fun playing with the numbers myself for a while). Oh, all right, maybe one little remark: the first positive zero


(they are asymmetric about the real axis) is roughly (certainly not exactly) at $3 \pi$, which is about $\frac{2}{3}$ of the first Riemann zeta zero. Recall that the first zero is probably closely related to a low lying energy level for some fundamental physical system. Posted by Kea at 07:51PM (+13:00)

Cartoon Fairy
Saturday, March 29, 2008
You may have already seen this, but AF definitely needs the link. Posted by Kea at 07:14PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 175
Saturday, March 29, 2008
By placing each knot crossing in a box, we see 4 output lines for each box, defining two ribbon strands. Thus there are always twice as many extra faces (as squares) on an associated polytope in $\mathbb{R}^{3}$. The associahedron satisfies this condition, as does the deformed octahedron of cubic triality (which has four globule faces). The Euler characteristic defines a sequence of such polytopes via $E = V + F - 2$. The ribbon diagram for the trefoil knot is the familiar once punctured torus (elliptic curve). Maps relating elliptic curves to the Riemann sphere go back a long way. In particular, the Weierstrass function $P: E(w_{1} , w_{2}) \rightarrow \mathbb{P}^{1}$ is defined via theta functions (for $\tau = \frac{w_{2}}{w_{1}}$) by $P (z, \tau) = \pi^{2} \theta^{2} (0, \tau) \theta_{10}^{2} (0, \tau) \frac{\theta_{01}^{2} (0, \tau)}{\theta_{11}^{2} (0, \tau)} - \frac{\pi^{2}}{3} (\theta^{4} (0, \tau) + \theta_{10}^{4} (0, \tau))$ Recall that it is the functional relation on $\theta (0, \tau)$ which gives the functional relation for the Riemann zeta function, and these theta functions also define the triality of the j invariant. Posted by Kea at 08:20PM (+13:00)


Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Greetings from Wanaka (not an April fools' joke). Posted by Kea at 10:23AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 176
Sunday, April 06, 2008
In Ben-Zvi's notes of recent work by Ben Webster et al (which he calls the cutting edge of mirror symmetry math) there is this diagram of a triangular arrangement of planes and its associated graph. The vertices represent the 7 regions of the Euclidean space and the edges an adjacency via an edge segment. Notice how this looks like a centered hexagon, or one side of a cube. This is a kind of Cayley graph. The permutations of four letters (which label the vertices of the permutohedron) also give a cubical Cayley graph. Koszul duality is about the correspondence between intersections of the planes and cones emanating from such points in the plane arrangement. Posted by Kea at 07:18PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 177
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Note that an intersection on the triangle plane arrangement becomes a square face on the cube. A (directed) cone from the top vertex will pick out the central horizontal edge of the cube, with the central point of the hexagon at one end representing the triangle. Observe that the number of edges in corresponding diagrams (planar arrangements to graphs) remains unchanged, whereas faces become vertices and vertices become faces. That is, this is a kind of Poincare duality. Posted by Kea at 06:50PM (+12:00)


Knot Monkey
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Carl has been playing with knots that cover a sphere. Rather, when a piece of cord or wool is used, its substantial thickness allows a covering of a sphere with a small finite number of crossings. In the mathematical world, ideal knots are drawn with an infinitely thin line. Such lines can still fill a sphere (a la Thurston) but monkey knot curves with crossings are more interesting in the context of M theoretic quantum information, and it would take some (kind of) infinite number of crossings to properly fill out a sphere. But basically, the monkey knot is a set of Borromean rings in three dimensions (or Borromean ribbons). The rings form a 6 crossing planar diagram. Note that if the outer 3 crossings are smoothed, one obtains a trefoil knot from the centre of the rings (along with a separate unknotted loop). I can't help wondering what this means. Posted by Kea at 06:36PM (+12:00)

Achilles and the Tortoise
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Zeno of Elea's lost book is said to have contained 40 paradoxes concerning the concept of the continuum. The paradoxes are mostly derived from the deduction that if an interval can be subdivided, it can be subdivided infinitely often. As an Eleatic, Zeno subscribed to a philosophy of unity rather than a materialist and sensual view of reality. This led to greater rigour in mathematics, since more emphasis was placed on logical statements than on physical axioms laid down arbitrarily on the basis of (inevitably deluded) experience. Most famously, the paradoxes discuss Time as a continuum. If we have already laid out in our minds a notion of classical motion through a continuum, the infinite subdivisibility of Time must follow. But note the introduction here of a separation between object and background space. To the Eleatics, this is the source of the problem, not the mathematical necessity of infinity itself. By placing a fixed finite (relative to the observer) object in a continuum, we have allowed ourselves to ask questions about its motion which are physically unfeasible.


But the resolution comes not from concrete physical axioms about an objective reality, based as they are on the very prejudices that lead to paradoxes in the first place. Rather, it comes from refining the mathematics until its definitions are capable of quantitatively describing the physical problem correctly. We have known this for thousands of years, but do many physicists really appreciate this today? Posted by Kea at 12:59PM (+12:00)

The Dark Side III
Saturday, April 12, 2008
For anybody who happens to be around next week, I will be giving a simple talk with the title: Posted by Kea at 06:26AM (+12:00)

Sunday, April 13, 2008
Today's pretty picture, from the University of Bristol website, is a convergent beam electron diffraction pattern. Posted by Kea at 07:33PM (+12:00)

Extra, Extra II
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Motl continues with updates on the Bagger-Lambert (ie. 3 is better than 2) M theory revolution, noting three new papers including this one on a SUSY preserving matrix theory deformation of the Bagger-Lambert action which breaks the $SO(8)$ symmetry to $SO(4) \times SO(4)$.


Posted by Kea at 06:34PM (+12:00)

Ternary Geometry III
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Topological field theory enthusiasts like extending the 1-categorical constructions to the world of 2-categories. A candidate source category is then a category of spaces with boundaries which themselves have boundaries. That is, the vertices are the objects, the edges the 1-arrows and surfaces 2-arrows. In the world of ternary geometry this brings to mind the three levels of the generalised Euler characteristics, which were seen as cubed root of unity analogues to the alternating signs that occur in the world of 2. Since the boundary of a boundary is not necessarily empty, it makes more sense to look at the cubic relation $D^3 = 0$ than the usual homological $D^2 = 0$ of duality. Since the latter arises from a fundamental categorical concept, namely monads, one would like to understand the ternary categorical construction. This is why M Theory looks at ternary structures such as Loday's algebras and higher dimensional monads. Posted by Kea at 10:58AM (+12:00)

Return of the Jedi
Saturday, April 26, 2008
There's only one thing to say to the next restaurant patron who thinks they need to add the change for me, or the next guy who thinks he needs to point out to me that physical theories have to agree with experiment: I'll be back. (Thanks to Backreaction for the picture) Posted by Kea at 05:47PM (+12:00)


Light Nostalgia
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Louise Riofrio continues with excellent cosmology posts, and now Carl Brannen also weighs in on the subject. I was wondering what originally got me very interested in the subject of a varying $c$, and I decided it probably happened around 1995, when I spent a few months studying the early physics papers on quantum group fiber bundles. I seem to recall that these papers were not particularly mathematically sophisticated, but one element stood out: whereas a classical principle bundle looks the same at every point, the deformation parameter in a quantum bundle may easily vary from point to point. Even in those days, people thought a lot about relating deformation parameters to $\hbar$. This was all just a mathematical curiosity, until it became clear that some tough (and extremely interesting) algebraic geometry, and other mathematics, lay at the bottom of it. (Of course, all roads led to category theory in the end). Algebraic geometers love spaces with extra structure which varies from point to point. They talk about spectra (usually of rings) and we need not be afraid of these gadgets because they are naturally specified by a functor from a suitable category of algebras into a category of spaces. And it turns out that this functor is best understood from the point of view of a special topos, because the weird topologies that algebraic geometers like to use are neatly encoded by axioms of Grothendieck. (In fact, this is where the idea of a topos comes from in the first place). At the time, I believe it was Zamolodchikov who advised me to ditch lattice gauge theory (which I was supposed to be doing) for something more interesting. In the end, I did give up the lattice gauge theory, but I can't say it was because I listened to anybody's advice. (And as it turns out, lattice gauge theory has actually done rather well over the last decade). Posted by Kea at 05:36PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 178
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Recall that $2 \times 2$ spin matrices are associated with the quantum Fourier transform for $q = -1$. The Weyl rule $UV = - VU$ may be thought of as a square with paired edges marked $U$ and $V$, just like in the planar paths considered by Kapranov. In 3 dimensions one draws paths on a cubic lattice. The paths on a single cube form the vertices of one of our favourite hexagons. A simple braid on three strands is formed by composing two edges of this hexagon, which correspond to two faces on the cube. Since the Weyl edges $U$ and $V$ have become faces in 3D, this composition can represent fermionic spin, just as Bilson-Thompson said. Posted by Kea at 07:31PM (+12:00)


Job Hunting
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Browsing jobs online, with no regard for location, I came across a fantastic opportunity at the Department of Physics in Cambridge: they need a new waitress, and lunch and overalls are provided! Actually, I have been spending a bit of time on a more exciting job application, which I submitted today. Even if I don't get the job, it was fun trying. Posted by Kea at 08:04PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 179
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Recall that Bar-Natan's 1998 paper on the Grothendieck Teichmuller group discusses associated braids. On forgetting the crossing information, a braid in $B_{n}$ becomes a permutation on $n$ letters. So with bracketed endpoint sets, it marks a vertex of the $(n - 1)$ dimensional permutoassociahedron for $S_{n}$. As well as the category of bracketed permutations, BarNatan considers the category of bracketed braids with linearised morphisms of the form $\sum \alpha_{j} B^{j}$, where the $B^{j}$ are allowable braids corresponding to a given element $P \in S_{n}$ and the $\alpha_{j}$ are numerical coefficients. For example, the Pauli permutation $\sigma_{x}$ gives morphisms of the form where $a$ and $b$ are usually rational numbers. The functor to the permutation category that forgets the braid structure is an example of a fibration of a very nice kind. The GT group is a certain group of endofunctors (from bracketed braids to bracketed braids) which fix $\sigma_{x}$ (with a choice of crossing). Bar-Natan shows


that the bracketed braids are generated by the two basic diagrams shown above (ie. associator and $\sigma_{x}$ and inverses). Posted by Kea at 01:32PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 180
Friday, May 02, 2008
The Bar-Natan paper continues with a definition of chorded braids and an algebra over (bracketed) chord diagrams which satisfies, in particular, the 4T relation. On $3$ strands, the algebra is given by combinations of the bracket symbols as shown. We can represent the 4T relation by paths on a triangle. Note that the $[12]$ terms act on either the left or right by composition, giving a direction to the edges $[01]$ and $[02]$, illustrated by the red and green arrows. Thus the 4T relation says that the span and cospan diagrams are equal, in some sense. Posted by Kea at 12:46PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 181
Monday, May 05, 2008
As The Everything Seminar pointed out, the 4T relation may be thought of in terms of trivalent knotted diagrams. The chorded circle below is obtained by shifting the internal node down onto the circle, where is it resolved into two trivalent vertices. See this paper by Bar-Natan. Observe that a chorded braid, as drawn in the last lesson, becomes a chorded circle upon composition with a braid such as $(312)$ in $B_3$. A chord diagram can be turned into a knot, allowing self intersection. One rule is to send the endpoints of a chord to a self intersection. The Vassiliev invariants discussed by Bar-Natan use the idea that smooth paths of deformations of embedded knots in three dimensional space should naturally pass through such self intersecting knots.


Posted by Kea at 06:42PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 182
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
In this 1998 paper [1], Burgiel and Reiner define signed analogues of the associahedra. Recall that the vertices of an associahedron could be labelled by chorded polygons, such as the hexagon for the polytope in three dimensions. Here one uses a pentagon to obtain a three dimensional polytope. Signed squares give the octagon, as shown. Note that edges exist if either a sign or chord is flipped. There are always two vertices which remain unsigned. One wonders whether or not this particular extension is interesting in the context of operads. Does this octagon represent an octahedron in the same way that a hexagon represents a cube? [1] New York J. Math. 4 (1998) 83-95 Posted by Kea at 07:33PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 183
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Recall that the sixth face of the parity cube may represent a breaking of the Mac Lane pentagon by splitting the symmetric four leaved tree into two parts. This tree was also considered by Forcey et al in a 2004 paper discussing higher operads, beginning with the observation indicated by the following diagram. Consider the boxed vertical lines as a fixed object in the category, and ignore the bottom third of the diagram. Then there are


two ways to piece together the tree: do the horizontal (pink) products first, or else the vertical (green) ones. This issue of commutativity for two tensor products is a central axiom of a bicategory, commonly called the interchange rule. By considering categories with three products, Forcey et al magically go on to prove that (ordered) three dimensional Young diagrams can describe what they call a 3-fold monoidal category, a fascinating recursive structure. Moreover, this result generalises to all higher dimensions. Posted by Kea at 05:49PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 184
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Recall that single chorded polygons label the faces (codimension 1 objects) of an associahedron. Codimension 2 objects are labelled by non-intersecting two chorded polygons. For example, the two dimensional polytope has 5 faces labelled by the 5 chords of a pentagon. The 5 non-crossing two chord diagrams give the 5 vertices. By including the crossed chord diagrams, one effectively describes (the dual of) a full simplex (in 4D) with 10 vertices and 5 faces. For any chorded polygon, the choice of an arbitrary pair of chords amounts to the choice of an arbitrary pair of faces on the polytope. If one represents faces by points, two chords represent an edge joining two points, and one always obtains a full higher dimensional n-simplex $K_{n+1}$. The (dual) associahedra then appear as subgraphs of the complete graph $K_{m}$ for $m$ in this sequence. Posted by Kea at 08:04PM (+12:00)

't Hooft Talk
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Check out the new PI talk by 't Hooft. Here is an interesting sample slide: Posted by Kea at 09:21PM (+12:00)

Differential, Dude
Friday, May 09, 2008
The most common criticism I receive about my work is that it can't possibly have anything to do with physics, because there are no differential equations. So it is with great delight I discover that V. Buchstaber at Manchester is working on turning polytope combinatorics into interesting partial differential equations. First, consider only simple polytopes. That is, ones in $d$ dimensions with $d$ faces meeting at a vertex. For example, the three dimensional Stasheff associahedron has 3 faces (pentagons or squares) meeting at each vertex. Now group equivalent polytopes in-


to classes (a common trick) and then make an algebra from combinations of these classes. The zero is the empty polytope and the unit is the single point. There is an operator $D$ that sends a $d$ dimensional polytope to a $(d - 1)$ dimensional one. For example, on the simplex $K_{n}$ it acts as $D K_{n} = (n + 1) K_{n - 1}$ sending a $4$-simplex to the 5 tetrahedra on its boundary. Let $f_{k, n-k}$ denote the number of $k$ dimensional faces of an $n$ dimensional polytope. Then for any such polytope $P$ there is a homogeneous polynomial in $a$ and $t$ given by $F(P) = a^{n} + f_{n-1,1} a^{n-1} t + \cdots + f_{0,n} t^{n}$ Buchstaber shows that the map $F$ satisfies $F(DP) = \frac{\partial}{\partial t} F(P)$ An interesting sequence $P_{n}$ of polytopes turns out to be the sequence of associahedra. In this case, by letting $U(a,t,x) = \sum_{n} F(P_{n}) x^{n+2}$ it turns out that $U(t,x)$ must be the solution of the Hopf equation $\frac{\partial}{\partial t} U(t,x) = U(t,x) \frac{\partial}{\partial x} U(t,x)$ with $U(0,x) = x^{2} (1 - ax)^{-1}$. This is related to the important KdV equation from soliton theory. Posted by Kea at 11:11AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 185
Saturday, May 10, 2008
A recent talk by Yong-Shi Wu points out that multiple qubit quantum circuits are closely related to the Jones invariant at a fourth root of unity. The factor of four comes from the 4 Bell states, or rather the $2^{2}$ MUB case. For any prime $p$, M theoretic quantum information likes to specialise the knot invariants to associated roots of unity. For example, the trefoil knot at a cubed root of unity is always 1, and this normalises torus knots. This follows from the categorical $\hbar$ hierarchy, which insists that $q$ take on a fixed value determined by the categorical dimension. If this dimension were given by the number of knot crossings, as it is in Khovanov homology, it suggests a study of the numerical Jones polynomial for $q$ fixed at a primitive root of unity corresponding to the number of crossings. This is not usually done. One often encounters studies of fixed values of $q$ for all knots, but not a grading by crossing number.


A grading by strand number, however, is common in the connection between MZV algebras, knots, Feynman diagrams and chord diagrams, originally due to Kreimer but now studied by many mathematicians. The strand number is also 3 for a trefoil, or 2 for a basic braid generator associated to a qubit, so this grading is important in the analysis of quantum circuits. Posted by Kea at 05:37PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 186
Monday, May 12, 2008
A new paper by Bloch and Kreimer looks at mixed Hodge structures and renormalization. They begin by noting that the mathematical description of locality in QFT comes from studying a certain monodromy transformation $m: H_{p} \rightarrow H_{p}$ on homology, with the property that the matrix $M = \textrm{log} (m)$ is nilpotent. The nilpotency ensures that the expression $\textrm{exp} (\frac{- M \textrm{log} t}{2 \pi i})$ is a matrix with entries only polynomial in $\textrm{log} t$, where $t$ is a suitable renormalization parameter. This matrix acts upon a vector of period integrals (this is the fancy operad stuff) to give numerical values of physical interest as $t \rightarrow 0$. Let us consider the example they look at on page 38. The binary matrix $M$ will be an $8 \times 8$ matrix in the case that there are $n + 1 = 4$ loops in the graph being evaluated, namely 01110000 00001100 00001010 00000110 00000001 00000001 00000001 00000000 which is built from the modules $0$, $(1,1,1)$, their duals, and the $n = 3$ 2-circulant 110 101 011 which will be familiar to M theorists. Aside: If a kindly mathematician feels like spending a season or two (self funded) in NZ explaining mixed Hodge structures to me, it would be greatly appreciated! Posted by Kea at 04:41PM (+12:00)


Today's Mottle Quote
Monday, May 12, 2008
This was just too funny to pass up. On hearing about the appointment of Turok to the head geek job, Mottle says As soon as the remaining heretics will be removed, the PI's cutting-edge picture of the Universe will be based on ekpyrotic loop quantum cosmology with a variable speed of light and 31+ octopi swimming in the spin network. Presumably the 31 refers to the Kostant work on Garrett's E8, which is presently being discussed by Schreiber et al. Posted by Kea at 05:43PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 187
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Bar-Natan describes the correspondence between chords and self intersections in knots. A crossing of chords becomes a crossing in the knot diagram. This work led to the classic paper [1], which in turn was used by Broadhurst and Kreimer [2] to analyse the algebra of MZVs as it appears in QFT, although the latter paper uses chorded braid diagrams to represent zeta values. Nowadays we understand that the MZV algebra comes from motivic integrals on spaces tiled by the associahedra, so we expect associahedra and chorded braids to be closely linked. [1] T.Q.T. Le and J. Murakami, Topology and Appl. 62 (1995) 193-206 [2] D.J. Broadhurst and D. Kreimer, Physics Lett. B 393 (1997) 403-412 Posted by Kea at 06:48PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 188
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The 1997 Broadhurst and Kreimer paper shows how knot crossing numbers correspond to the weight of the MZV. For example, the positive braid in $B_{2}$ defined by the word $\sigma_{1}^{5}$ is decorated with three chords, and this corresponds to $\zeta (5)$ at weight $w = 5$. The trefoil knot $\sigma_{1}^{3}$ is the simplest $B_{2}$ knot, which gives a three loop chord diagram (well, Feynman diagram, actually) using only two chords. The pattern of crossing and non-crossing chords gets more interesting for braids with $s$ strands where $s > 2$, via the relations of the MZV algebra, where depth corresponds to $(s - 1)$ (this is why the example of $\zeta (5)$ only has one argument). Who would have thought it was so easy to do QED with knots and number theory? Once upon a time physicists admitted that group and gauge theory was a complicated, messy business, so why bother with it? M Theory is much more fun. Observe that the number of points on the circle of the chord diagram is $2n$ (or $w + 1$) where $n$ is the number of chords, so $\zeta (5)$ is really a decorated hexagon, our favourite polygon, often used to label the vertices of the three dimensional associahedron. Posted by Kea at 06:07PM (+12:00)


Around About
Friday, May 16, 2008
Woit points to a very well written article about Garrett Lisi. Todd and Vishal's blog is now on my Category Theory roll. Check out the post on Stone duality. Posted by Kea at 09:02AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 189
Friday, May 16, 2008
Recall that the MZV weights for period integrals work so that $\zeta (3)$ appears in dimension 3 along with the 9 faced Stasheff associahedron, used by Mulase et al to study the 6 valent ribbon vertex, and also used to tile the (real points of the) 6 point genus zero moduli space which counts the particle generations. In the last lesson, we saw that $\zeta (3)$ appears in connection with the trefoil knot. It seems clear, then, that the connection between the polytope and the trefoil is number theoretic, as well as lying at the heart of physics. Posted by Kea at 12:17PM (+12:00)

Oh Mini Me
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Schwetz has a new paper on the LSND puzzle. His 2007 paper discussed the fact that LSND and MiniBooNE results could be reconciled assuming an exotic energy dependence for, in particular, the mass of a sterile neutrino. Posted by Kea at 06:46PM (+12:00)

Cool Cats
Sunday, May 18, 2008
It's already here! Videos and slides from the second Categories, Logic and Physics meeting at Imperial. Thanks! Posted by Kea at 07:04PM (+12:00)


M Theory Lesson 190
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Euler characteristic as an alternating sum is related to inclusion-exclusion said Scott Carter at the n-Category Cafe today. He attributes the quote to Vassiliev. The $n$-simplices used to calculate ordinary Euler characteristics may be viewed as dual to $n$ intersecting sets. For example, the full intersection of three sets corresponds to the face of a triangle, whereas the three edges of the triangle come from the double intersections. The union of the three sets counts vertices once and edges twice, so one takes away the double intersections and then adds back on the single face of the triple intersection. This parity of simple intersections is what gives the terms in $\chi$ their sign. In M Theory, we like to think of set intersections (or the vector space analogue) as topos theory pullbacks, which turns the triangle into the three faces at the corner of a cube! For mass operators, it is important to look at tricategorical analogues. This is why we study ternary geometry! Posted by Kea at 06:28PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 191
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
As one moves up in dimension, it quickly becomes difficult to draw all intersections. The tetrahedron comes from four sets, with single (orange), double (blue), triple (pink) and quadruple (green) intersections. This gives an Euler characteristic of $\chi = 4 - 6 + 4 - 1 = 1$ for the ball in three dimensional space. Observe that by alternating signs we lose the information that there are 15 (= 4 + 6 + 4 + 1) pieces of Venn diagram. An invariant that combines both pieces of information is the Pauli circulant $A$ $B$ $B$ $A$ for $A = V + F$ and $B = E + I$ ($I$ meaning 3d pieces) in this three dimensional example. Recall that the eigenvalues of the Pauli matrix are $A - B$ and $A + B$, the first being $\chi$ and the second the subset counter. This works in all dimensions. Posted by Kea at 05:06PM (+12:00)


Oh Mini Me II
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Tommaso Dorigo reports from PPC08 on a MiniBooNE talk by Zelimir Djurcic, including a discussion of the low energy excess. Photonuclear absorption of photons from $\pi_{0}$ decays was found to be a source of events at low energy. This apparently accounts for some of the excess. Coincidently, there is also available a new PI talk by Jeffrey Harvey, which discusses a low energy QCD (AdS inspired) computation for the MiniBooNE excess based on a novel meson field process which has been neglected in the background analysis (see this paper). Initial results show impressive, if only tentative, agreement with experiment. I am hoping to report further on this after talks by Stephen Brice and Sam Zeller at Neutrino08 next week. Posted by Kea at 06:27PM (+12:00)

Hidey Holes
Friday, May 23, 2008
The cover story of the last issue of New Scientist talks about the last place you'd expect to find a black hole. Yet another story about higher dimensions at the LHC? No, as the first paragraph states: As the outside of the star finally cools, like a dying ember, its outer layers are suddenly blown away into space. And there, uncloaked for the first time, is a monstrous black hole. The article, based on this recent paper, discusses the work of the University of Colorado's Mitchell Begelman and colleagues (but of course not Louise Riofrio). Referring to the conservative star formation mechanisms discussed in the paper, Fulvio Melia from the University of Arizona says: With these mechanisms, something unusual - even dramatic - has to happen to make them work. Somehow this has to happen in a matter of only a few hundred million years, whereas simulations with standard physics show that it should take billions. Perhaps something else is going on here. Posted by Kea at 12:33PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 192
Friday, May 23, 2008
Are the Foaming Loopies secretly doing String Theory at last? The latest paper by Markopoulou et al looks at ribbon graphs in two dimensions and three stranded diagrams in three dimensions. The three strands may be considered as tubes, much as in closed string diagrams. Then the open-closed string duality becomes a duality between 2d simplices and 3d ones. But


how can this be? As a Poincare duality one exchanges 2d and 3d objects only in dimension 5, whereas this stringy duality is usually associated with 2-categorical structures. Fortunately, a moduli space perspective solves the mystery. The tube diagram for the tetrahedron is a 4 punctured sphere, the moduli of which is indeed two dimensional. The other two dimensional moduli space is the space of elliptic curves. These two moduli describe duality as envisaged by Grothendieck in his work on ribbon graphs for surfaces. Posted by Kea at 03:54PM (+12:00)

Mass Update
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Carl Brannen has been surreptitiously posting Koide mass formulas for pi meson and (the lightest) rho meson triplets at PF. For $n = 1,2,3$ and that damned number $\delta \simeq \frac{2}{9}$, the square root mass eigenvalues (for the same choice of units) all take the form $\lambda_{n} = v + 2s \cdot \textrm{cos} (\delta + \frac{2n \pi}{3})$ where the parameters $v$ and $s$ must be set to lepton: $v = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} , s = 1$ pi: $v = \frac{6}{5} , s = \frac{-3}{4}$ rho: $v = \frac{10}{7} , s = \frac{-1}{3}$ Now I must find time to check these against the PDG data... Posted by Kea at 05:04PM (+12:00)

Sunday, May 25, 2008
Neutrino08 kicks off this afternoon in the Town Hall, with a reception and cultural performance. Whilst viewing the latest poster listing I noticed that none other than Professor Koide will be attending and his abstract is already available here. (Now I wish I had made a paper poster myself, although it is probably rude for the hosts to take up conference space). Tommorrow morning kicks off with a lecture on Ernest Rutherford, followed by a talk entitled Where are we? Where are we going?, by A. Smirnov from ICTP. More later. Posted by Kea at 11:17AM (+12:00)


Neutrino08 - Smirnov
Monday, May 26, 2008
The first (slightly) technical talk of Day One was by A. Smirnov, who began with a very entertaining explanation of his title: Where are we? Where are we going? He pointed out that there were 52 (relatively recent) neutrino papers on SPIRES-HEP with headings including the words where are we? Similarly, he found multiple papers in other HEP areas that used the same words. But String Theory only managed one hit. Do they not wonder where they are? He then showed a timeline of neutrino physics, from Rutherford to the present, which was marked mysteriously as being somewhere on a brane. Comments on the standard picture followed, with brief mentions of nuclear physics, neutrino gases, solar neutrinos, supernovae, AGNs, GRBs, CP violation etc. A fascinating fact is the shift in publications indicated roughly by the diagram Smirnov also stressed that although the initial excitement in new neutrino physics moved around the idea of beyond the Standard Model physics, the situation was far from clear. He listed a few bottom up approaches to theory, such as the tribimaximal mixing. Actually, he cited Carl Brannen alongside Koide in a final note about nonperturbative approaches (perhaps I should give him Carl's blog url as a reference). The talk went 15 minutes over time due to a sneaky tactic of lying through teeth promising to be on the last slide. Posted by Kea at 09:50PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 1a
Monday, May 26, 2008
C. Galbiati represents the Borexino experiment, which observes solar neutrinos in real time using a spherical scintillation detector. Both 7Be and pep neutrinos are good sources for exploring the so called vacuum-matter transition. New results for 192 days of data were announced in this morning's talk: the 7Be result is $49 \pm 3$ counts per day per 100 ton. This is in good agreement with the MSW-LMA oscillation prediction of around 48, and rules out the no oscillation scenario at $4 \sigma$ (arxiv preprint 0805.3843). Galbiati began with a summary of the (old) standard solar model and its agreement with helioseismology, which is no longer in such good agreement since the new estimate for metallicity appears to be a factor of 2 different. Can neutrino physics explain this discrepancy? One would like to use CNO* neutrinos to measure the metallicity of the core of the sun. The next speaker was H. Robertson from the SNO collaboration. This is a 12 meter diameter, 1000 ton heavy water detector, with outer water shields. It has operated in three phases: (i) $D_{2}O$ (ii) $D_{2}O$ plus salt and (iii) $D_{2}O$ with 3He detectors. In the final phase, 36 strings of 3He detectors were deployed at a total length of 398m.


R. Hahn then confronted chemically challenged physicists with a talk about radiochemical experiments, including an historical interlude on Ray Davis, who was the first to observe solar neutrinos. He discussed the SAGE and GALLEX experiments. New results are a better fit to the constant flux line than previous results. J. Klein outlined future solar neutrino experiments, noting the current focus on real time observations. One major goal is to look at the metallicity problem. Did Jupiter or Saturn somehow steal metals from the planetary protosphere? Or is something else going on? The correct value for solar surface metallicity may be obtained from 0805.2013. * think Chemistry when you see capital letters, except in the last post Posted by Kea at 10:21PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 1b
Monday, May 26, 2008
The afternoon's talks began with a report on the KamLAND antineutrino scintillator detector by Decowski. The antineutrinos come from 55 reactor cores throughout Japan, giving KamLAND an effective baseline of 180km. Current best values for the standard parameters, including solar neutrino results, are $\Delta m^2 = 7.59 \times 10^{-5} (eV)^{2}$ $\textrm{tan}^{2} \theta = 0.47$ There is now a 6.2 terawatt upper limit on the (popular new crackpot idea of a) Earth's core georeactor. This was also discussed by McDonough, a real geochemist. He presented a beautiful introduction to the history of collaboration between physicists and geologists, from Lord Kelvin and Wiechert to the new potential of neutrino physics for geochemistry. One of the big questions in this field is the K/U ratio for Earth. Geoneutrinos result from U, K and Th $\beta$ decay chains. They form a small flux on top of the reactor background. To understand the mantle, this would best be investigated far from crustal regions, say near Hawaii deep under the ocean. Hanohano is an exciting proposal for a mobile detector, whose size is limited only by the requirement that the transporting barge fit through the Panama canal. Posted by Kea at 11:09PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 1c
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
For a change of topic, we heard from J. Coller on coherent neutrino scattering, which is a Standard Model process not yet measured due to current limitations in detector technology. This group uses cryogenic bolometers and works in the Chicago sewer system! The cross section is the same for all standard neutrinos, so an observation of oscillations would imply the existence of sterile neutrinos. Applications include prospecting, planetary tomography, light WIMP searches and other dark matter phenomenology. DAMA results were also mentioned in a noncommittal yet humorous fashion.


Potzel discussed the antineutrino Mossbauer effect, which is a recoilless resonant emission from decays such as 3H $\rightarrow$ 3He. To achieve minimum recoil one considers situating sources and targets in metallic lattices. For the 3H/3He system it appears possible to achieve recoil free fractions of $f_{(3H)} \cdot f_{(3He)} = 0.07$ at low temperature, but the whole project has the potentially serious problem of lattice contraction and expansion due to different storage volumes for 3H and 3He. The most charming accent award goes to T. Lasserre, who spoke very rapidly about Double Chooz in France. Supposedly systematic errors for the two 7m x 7m detectors have been reduced to 0.2% for proton count and 0.5% for detector efficiency. Data collection should begin in the next year and after 3 years they hope for at least 0.03 sensitivity in $\textrm{sin}^{2} \theta_{13}$. C. White spoke for Daya Bay and RENO. The Hong Kong experiment, which should be fully operational by 2011, uses 0.1% Gd doped liquid scintillator detectors and aims for an impressive 0.01 sensitivity in $\textrm{sin}^{2} \theta_{13}$. Exhausted after microphone wallah duty, I desisted from note taking in the pizza and beer session, which started at 6.45pm. This was a long series of brief talks, chaired by the town crier with his bell, associated to posters. Posted by Kea at 08:05AM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 2a
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
J. Raaf was first up today with a report on Super Kamiokande, a 50 kiloton water Cherenkov detector under 1km of rock. Solar neutrinos: the focus was on phase III (mid 2006 to late 2008) results using 2 data sets, (i) full (E > 6.5 MeV) and (ii) radon reduced (E > 5 MeV), which are expected to achieve a 60cm elastic scattering vertex resolution. Phase II results showed no correlation with solar activity nor any day-night asymmetry (measured at -0.063 with larger errors). Atmospheric: a re-analysis of phase I data looking for exotic effects can exclude many models. H. Gallagher represented MINOS, a long baseline experiment based at Fermilab and a Minnesota mine 735km away. Analyses of both charged and neutral current events were done blind. There are about $10^{18}$ protons hitting the target per day at the main injector, and 92.9% of neutrinos produced are muon $\nu$. Charged case: new run 1 and 2 results indicate a $\Delta m^{2} = 2.43 \times 10^{-3} eV^{2}$ and $\textrm{sin}^{2} 2 \theta = 1.00$, or rather $> 0.90$ at 90% confidence. Neutral case: depletion of neutral events is expected in the far detector but no evidence for it was found, the bound being 17% in a 0-120 GeV range. Neutrino decoherence is disfavoured $5.7 \sigma$. OPERA is a 730km baseline (from CERN) emulsion tracking device which hopes to observe $\nu_{\tau}$ events. Muon neutrino flux is optimized with L/E = 43 km/GeV. Rosa described the detector modules, constructed of scintillator strip target modules embedded in 31 walls, each built from up to 3000 custom bricks of layered emulsion and Pb sheets. See 0804.1985. The short 2007 run saw 38 triggered candidate events with (at


the end) 64060 bricks. With a high intensity beam at about 200 events per week, it is expected that the new run (starting around June 16) will see 1.2 $\nu_{\tau}$ events. Posted by Kea at 01:34PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 2b
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Zukanovitch-Funchal gave an overview of mixings and masses, starting with a 1978 quote from Froggart and Nielsen which refers to neutrino oscillations as exotic. Two mass hierarchies are possible with current results, that is the mass of $\nu_{2}$ is closer to only one of the other 2 masses. Although 2-generation analyses worked well, a 3-generation analysis has been carried out since 2001 (see for instance Prog. Part. Nucl. Phys. 57(2006)742). Parameters have been approaching the tribimaximal mixing values. It is exciting that parameter determinations are weakly correlated and we are entering a precision era! Cosmological bounds were briefly mentioned: a combination analysis sets $\Sigma m < 0.19 eV$. V. Datar described the status of INO, in particular the proposal for detectors (iron) at Pushep, which has a baseline of about 7000km from CERN. See hep-ph 0805.3474. If 1 megaton per year is achieved, then the hierarchy type may be determined. A prototype will be put together in Kolkata in about one month's time. Minakata's talk focussed on long baseline proposals, and he began with a nice picture of Darth Vader to represent our life in the Dark Ages. But if it turns out that $\theta_{13}$ is 'large' then the Dark Ages might end before Neutrino2010! Sigh. Only half way through Day 2 and already I feel like I'm living on a planet of neutrino physicists, with more detector cities than I can name! Must get coffee and beer ... Posted by Kea at 07:05PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 2c
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
H. Minakata continued with 2 possibilities, (i) $\theta_{13} > 3$deg, in which case conventional superbeams and megaton water detectors should work and (ii) small $\theta_{13}$, which would require new beam technologies, although liquid argon technology could change the situation. He promised to mention unconventional physics, but was forced to skip that section when the chair meanly rang the bell a little early. For varying E, he mentioned a possible 100 kiloton argon facility (3 or 4 times more sensitive than water Cherenkov detectors). For varying L, a test of CP violation would best use a low energy, short L setup. Moving on to T2K, a 300km baseline Tokai to Kamioka project: I. Kato sketched the aim of observing $\theta_{23}$ and $\Delta m_{23}^{2}$ via muon neutrino disappearance with the help of the J-PARC accelerator. Achievable precision is apparently 0.01 in $\textrm{sin}^{2} 2 \theta$ and $< 10^{-4}$ for $\Delta m^{2}$. Installation and commissioning is on schedule: the LINAC at 181 MeV had good beam stability in Jan '07, the beam line


tunnel was completed in Dec '06 and the main ring synchrotron is expected to be operational in 2009. After 5 years at SuperK at 0.75 kW they expect from 103 events (for 0.1 $\textrm{sin}^{2}$) to 10 events (for 0.01). Despite the excellent IT support, R. Ray had to fight a Mac vs Bill Gates battle (which some people blamed on Fermilab) before commencing his talk on NOvA. This is a second generation NuMI beam line experiment requiring an accelerator upgrade to 700 kW beam power. A surface detector would be placed at Ash River, 810 km away. This requires a 6 storey, football field sized building on a site needing 40 ft of blasting in solid granite! A top cover of concrete/barite would shield the detector, which is a liquid scintillator in homemade highly reflective PVC cells. He stressed the importance of complementarity in experiments and comparisons of multiple results. For example, NOvA with Daya Bay and Chooz can determine if $\nu_{3}$ couples to the muon or tau neutrino (at 95% confidence). They expect a 36% event efficiency for electron neutrinos. Future neutrino beams at J-PARC and Fermilab were discussed by Kajita and Saoulidou. For J-PARC, a Korean detector would give a 1000km+ baseline. Rubbia talked about proposed megaton detectors, for which there is a positive general consensus after reports in the US, Japan and Europe. In the 100 to 1000 kt range, one needs precise tracking and good calorimetric information. A feasibility study will be carried out 2008-2009. One interesting possibility is supernovae observation: the estimate is for 2 antineutrino events per year at 10 megaparsecs (with a 5 megaton water Cherenkov detector). DeepTITAND (see hep-ex/0110005) is a 1km deep modular steel proposal. As a pathologically punctual person, I have observed that the bell needs to be rung loudly before each session as chatting participants demonstrate their enthusiasm to their colleagues by pretending not to hear the bell. Posted by Kea at 09:40PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 2d
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
K. Lesko introduced the multidisciplinary big cavern DUSEL proposal for the Homestake mine. Construction would take 6 to 8 years and a hopeful timeline is 2012-2018. Funds for concept proposals will be announced in October. The perfectly antipodean J. GomezCadenas decided to start in 2016, now that we were into the swing of living in the future. He discussed superbeams at 1-4 MW and Beta beams, which would be pure neutrino beams. Maltoni chose to spend 1/3 of his talk on the LSND problem and the apparent requirement of sterile neutrinos, which he explained were ruled out in 2+2 gen models by solar and atmospheric results, ruled out in 3+1 by short baseline data, ruled out in the 3+2 case (which attempted to reconcile LSND and MiniBooNE) by appearance and disappearance data, and ... well, he reckons it's all ruled out. The last afternoon talk (before a 'generous' 10 minute break before the short evening talks) by Shaevitz discussed NuSOnG, an exciting generation III, TeV scale Fermilab


neutrino scattering project using 800 GeV protons from Tevatron. It would have pure $\nu$ or pure $\overline{\nu}$ run modes and a possibility of a sizable tau neutrino fraction in the beam dump. It complements the LHC (see 0803.0354). Schedule estimate: 2009 proposal submission to 2016 data taking. Posted by Kea at 10:32PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 MiniBooNE
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Apologies to experimentalists for my complete inability to jot down all error figures when speakers flash up 40 slides in half an hour. Don't worry. Slides will all be made available on the conference site. The 9am start, by S. Brice, was the MiniBooNE talk on oscillation searches! Brice briefly sketched the motivation of LSND observations and the detector setup, namely 3m of top dirt on a 12m sphere of 800 kiloton pure oil with 1280 inner PMTs*. MiniBooNE has the largest sample of neutral current muon neutrino $\pi^{0}$, with 28600 $\pi^{0}$ events. The $\pi^{0}$ rate is measured to a few percent, which is important in considering backgrounds. A draft paper promises a 10% to 30% improvement (at 90% confidence) under about 1 $eV^{2}$ (he mentioned a $\chi^{2} = 12.45$). For comparisons with LSND, Karmen and Bugey see arxiv: 0805.1764. A maximum compatibility for these four experiments is estimated at only 4% at $\Delta m^{2} = 0.242$ and $\textrm{sin}^{2} 2 \theta = 0.023$. Regarding the low E excess, they are near the end of comprehensive review, which is not quite ready, but Brice indicated that there really isn't any change. New effects considered in the analysis are 1. induced photonuclear effect from absorption removing 1 photon from a muon $\nu$ induced $\pi^{0}$ decay 2. some other hadronic processes. These turn out to have a small effect on the excess. 3. now have a better handling of beam $\pi^{+}$ production, which can decrease the excess 4. $\nu$ induced $\pi^{0}$ now better measured 5. better handling of radiative decay of $\Delta$ resonance and new low E electron neutrino cuts, along with upgrades, indicate no appreciable excess above 475 MeV. He also showed some preliminary results regarding NuMI events (from 745km away) which indicate good agreement with Monte Carlo for muon neutrino CCQE. For electron neutrino CCQE there is a 1.26 $\sigma$ excess under 900 MeV. For muon neutrino disappearance events they can reach a new region of phase space, and this result is also due out this summer. In summary, they have $6.6 \times 10^{20}$ protons on target (POT) in neutrino mode and $2.5 \times 10^{20}$ POT in antineutrino mode. *that acronym was easy, but I spend a substantial fraction of talk time trying to figure out some of the more obscure ones


Posted by Kea at 04:26PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 3a
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
M. Sorel spoke next about the MIPP and HARP hadron production facilities. HARP is currently looking at a factor of 2 reduction in the 16% muon neutrino normalisation uncertainty from $\pi^{+}$ production. S. Zeller then discussed low E neutrino cross sections at a range of experiments, including MINERvA, which plans to take data in 2009 using He, C, Fe and Pb targets. For K2K, new charge current $\pi^{0}$ results indicate $\frac{\sigma_{CC}}{\sigma_{QE}} = 0.306 \pm 0.023 \pm 0.02$ which is 40% higher than Monte Carlo predictions. For the new CC $\pi^{+}$ result of $0.734$ see 0805.0186. A very nice outline of QE scattering was given along with a new K2K Carbon12 estimate for axial mass of $M_{A} = 1.144 \pm 0.077 \pm 0.08$ GeV The MiniBooNE result for this was $1.23 \pm 0.20$ GeV (PRL 100 (2008) 032301). Statistics for this result are so good that they did a 2D distribution analysis, for which they quote a $\chi^{2}$ of 45/53 (at 77%). There is apparently 'stunning agreement' across phase space with the oscillation data. Note that modern estimates of $M_{A}$ all tend to give higher values than expected. Is the mass absorbing some nuclear effect, or what? SciBooNE is performing as expected, having taken $0.99 \times 10^{20}$ POT for 21431 events, 16% pure CC. Some preliminary results were (very quickly) shown. Charge current $\pi^{+}$ seen at high E do not show up. Theorists? Posted by Kea at 04:59PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 3b
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
H. Ray discussed the Osc-SNS project for performing precision measurements using a spallation neutron source. They expect to reach 0.8 MW by the end of the (northern) summer and 1.4 MW at full power. Studying $\pi^{+}$ at rest decay for 29.8 MeV muon neutrinos allows, for instance, removal of the cosmic ray background. Of course one thing they plan to test is the LSND and MiniBooNE low E excess. This experiment can probe the 0.00001 to 0.01 $\textrm{sin}^{2} 2 \theta$ range (and 0.001 to 10 mass squared range), which heavily impacts supernovae and BBN physics. It should have 100 times the KARMEN statistics for sterile neutrino tests. The beam structure allows simultaneous neutrino and antineutrino modes. In question time, she estimated a 3.5 year wait until data taking, if all goes well. Vanucci gave an interesting talk on searches for sterile neutrinos (of type [1]). He showed a plot of present limits from BBN and SM decays, which puts the allowed region above


about 200 MeV. Can the MiniBooNE excess be interpreted this way? What about LHCb and ATLAS/CMS? In principle, these could extend the mass region to 4 GeV and 50 GeV respectively. Afternoon sessions began with a run of talks on neutrinoless Double Beta decay, known as $0 \nu \beta \beta$. Kayser from Fermilab introduced the fundamental question of whether or not there is mass gap for the neutrino hierarchy. Cosmology puts $\sigma m_{i}$ at less than 0.17 to 1.0 eV. If there are 3 generations, this constrains the heaviest mass $m_{H}$ to be less than 0.07 to 0.4. Then the question motivating most of the afternoon's talks: are they Majorana? The $0 \nu \beta \beta$ amplitude is proportional to the effective Majorana mass $m_{\beta \beta} = | \sum m_{i} U_{ei}^{2} |$. How large is $m_{\beta \beta}$? A measurement of this value could tell us many things. For example, if the hierarchy is known to be inverted, and we find that $m_{\beta \beta} < 0.01$ eV, then the neutrinos are most probably not Majorana. More on this later. I'm afraid I skipped the last session on Double Beta decay to, er, blog! Now off to the banquet and a trip to see the little blue penguins! [1] Shaposhnokov, Nucl. Phys. B763 (2007) 49 Posted by Kea at 05:25PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 3c
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Kayser then moved on to nuclear matrix elements for $0 \nu \beta \beta$, for example 76Ge, whose element lies somewhere between 2 and 6, a rather large uncertainty. He then discussed dipole moments and the present Borexino bound of $5.4 \times 10^{11} \mu_{B}$. G. Drexlin spoke about direct mass measurements at KATRIN and MARE. In cosmology, KATRIN could shift the allowed region for the equation of state $w$ away from $w = -1$ for Dark Energy to quintessence. His 2d plot of $w$ vs $\sum m_{i}$ is of course restricted to a line by Carl's normal hierarchy mass values, so a determination of $w$ is definitely on the cards. KATRIN hopes


to begin long term data taking in 2011. Sensitivity is at $m (\nu)$ below 200meV at 90% confidence. Drexlin spent the second half of the talk focusing on the big spectrometer and the structure of the windowless gaseous source. To obtain an injection rate down to $\pm 0.1%$, the flow out must be reduced by an amazing $10^{14}$ and the column density needs to get to $\pm 0.1%$. MARE starts phase I soon, in which they hope to improve sensitivity by a factor of 10 for their 187Re $\beta$ emitter and AgReO4 crystal pixel array detector. If this phase is successful, phase II would again improve sensitivity by a factor of 10, requiring much R&D. Posted by Kea at 10:03AM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 3d
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Double Beta decay $0 \nu \beta \beta$ was properly introduced by G. Gratta, who listed candidate nuclei. The one with the highest isotope abundance, at 34.5%, is 130Te. The MOON experiment would use 100Mo or 82Se foils and they have a 142g prototype in operation. Xenon is ideal for a large experiment, because it can be purified in real time, enrichment is easier and safer and the final 136Ba state can be identified using optical spectroscopy (PRC 44 (1991) 931). R. Flack presented results from NEMO-3, situated in a tunnel in the European alps. This has a 10kg source of isotopes and a calorimeter with 1940 plastic scintillators coupled to PMTs. Electron, positron, $\gamma$ and $\alpha$ particle determination is possible in full event reconstruction, which recovers trajectories for the $e^{+}$ and $e^{-}$, their energies, time of flight and track curvature in a magnetic field. Phase II was a radon reduced phase. A preliminary result for phase I/II is a half life for 130Te of $7.6 \pm 1.5 \pm 0.8 \times 10^{20}$ yr. A new value for 96Zr at 90% confidence is $8.6 \times 10^{21}$ yr and for 150Nd a value of $1.8 \times 10^{22}$ yr, also at 90%. SuperNEMO is a future project with initial construction hopefully in 2010. It requires 100-200 kg isotope mass and energy resolution down to 4% (at 3 MeV). All modules should be ready by 2013. The target sensitivity is 50-100 meV by 2016. The morning poster session, accompanied by coffee and some delicious pastries, was pleasantly interactive. Several people humoured me with a very basic outline of their work. There was a very intriguing poster on the GSI anomaly, belonging to nobody as far as I could tell. Only a few people wandered away from their posters, including one theorist who referenced an interesting paper. Posted by Kea at 10:39AM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 continued
Friday, May 30, 2008
Here is Marc Bergevin's authentic conference cell phone photo of Pania, the tagged little blue penguin at the Antarctic Centre (which we visited for a very jolly banquet dinner on Wednesday evening). Lincoln and Poppy were too busy squawking at each other to pay


us much attention and the others were sleeping, but the lonely Pania was more curious. Posted by Kea at 12:47PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 5a
Friday, May 30, 2008
Sadoulet started Friday morning with Dark Matter detection via cosmology, noble liquids, phonon mediated detectors and possibly DAMA. He started with the statement that WIMPs are a generic consequence of new physics at the TeV scale. This was followed by a clear, brief overview of a BBN/WMAP figure for baryonic fraction of $\Omega_{b} = 0.047 \pm 0.006$. His focus was on direct detection of DM via elastic scattering, occurring via a nuclear recoil signal at an expected rate of one event per kg target every two months. Signatures include uniformity throughout the detector and galaxy correlation. The big challenge is freedom from backgrounds. A noble liquid detector using Xenon or Argon (see XENON, ZEPLIN-II, DEAP, MiniCLEAN, WARP and ArDM) takes advantage of recent breakthroughs in electron extraction and in separation of electron and nuclear recoils. Plots for cross section (vs WIMP mass) exclusion were shown for these experiments and also for phonon mediated experiments such as CDMS. A new CDMS result which improves the previous best XENON bound has been submitted. CDMS should run until December this year. We should reach $10^{-44} \textrm{cm}^{2}$ per nucleon by 2009 and he thinks $10^{-47}$ presents a considerable challenge, but by this level one would have to question the WIMP hypothesis. Regarding the DAMA claim, Sadoulet says he is convinced there is a modulation, but it cannot be a WIMP. Could it be an axion like particle? Or perhaps it is an effect related to the well known modulation of muon flux (due to seasonal atmospheric differences), which has the same phase. Posted by Kea at 01:01PM (+12:00)


Neutrino08 Day 5b
Friday, May 30, 2008
J. Monroe had such beautiful diagrams that I didn't take so many notes on neutrino backgrounds for DM searches (see this paper). The first directional limits come from the NEWAGE experiment. Anyway, most slides are now available on the website and the remainder should be there soon. Another short talk, by D. Nygren, discussed $0 \nu \beta \beta$ and WIMPS using high pressure Xenon. There was also a mention of DUET. Posted by Kea at 08:46PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 5c
Friday, May 30, 2008
One of the best talks of the conference (I might be biased) was S. King's outline of neutrino mass models. The introduction explained why we really need to go beyond the Standard Model (where neutrinos should be massless) to understand neutrino mass. King then presented his personal roadmap, a large flowchart (ultimately ending in Some Big Theory) to guide one through a series of true and false questions. He opted to begin with the LSND result, now assumed false. What about large extra dimensions and the string scale? The Majorana option seems nicer, because one can get naturally small neutrino masses via a lepton number violating operator involving some heavier particle. Following the chart, if the hierarchy is normal, then the natural mixing appears to be tribimaximal. This would make $\theta_{13} = 0$. Why should this be precise? Consider instead an expansion around the TBM matrix (see here). This suggests a new family symmetry such as the $A_{4}$ group of the tetrahedron! This could arise from something like 6D orbifolding. See also here. Due to its agreement so far with experimental results, the TBM matrix is considered a key question. In summary, he stresses that the status quo is not an option. Posted by Kea at 09:05PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 5d
Friday, May 30, 2008
Senjanovic suggested there was a moderately optimistic hope of new dynamics at the LHC. The most promising channel is considered to be same sign dileptons plus jets. Budge quickly outlined standard models of supernovae, from 1938 to the present. He then discussed numerical techniques and the possible need for a tooth fairy since transport methods have difficulty producing an explosion. But John Learned, the star commenter of the conference, pointed out that 3d simulations might well be necessary here, especially given the established correlation with GRBs. One expects a release of roughly 120 foe in the initial collapse, followed by 240 foe during the cooling phase. However, supernova 1987A released 1.7 foe visibly, which is consistent with an antineutrino energy of only 100 foe.


Dighe spoke about the potential of another big supernova observation. A day before the explosion, in the neutronization phase, there is $\nu$ emission for about 10 ms. In the cooling phase $\nu$ emission lasts about 10 seconds. The Early Warning system will hopefully help us catch all we can if one goes off. The important thing to note is that $\nu$, $\overline{\nu}$ fluxes at Earth should separate (i) hierarchy type (which is normal from Carl's mass values) and (ii) large/small $\theta_{13}$ (TBM says zero, ie. small). See this paper. Posted by Kea at 09:54PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 5e
Saturday, May 31, 2008
M. Nakahata introduced supernova detection with 1987A and a long list of past and current detectors including Borexino, KamLAND, SuperK and LVD. He estimated about a 7% probability that a supernova at < 3.16 kpc will generate a 10% improvement in statistics. A detector with a reach of 20 kpc would cover 97% of galactic supernova potential. For SuperK, one expects around 100 16Oxygen CC events for a supernova at 10 kpc, and a total of 7300 ${\overline{\nu}}_{e} + p$ events. This should be capable of distinguishing between some models. The original neutrino temperatures would be discerned to around 10%. See here for a flux limit on relic neutrinos. To achieve high background reduction one requires neutron tagging in the water detector, and SuperK is introducing Gd for this purpose. Astrophysical candidate sources were discussed by N. Bell. Deviations from the 1:1:1 ratio at Earth could arise for a number of exotic reasons. For example, a normal hierarchy $\nu$ decay could lead to a 5:1:1 (overabundant in electron neutrinos) observation. Posted by Kea at 06:22AM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 5f
Saturday, May 31, 2008
By mid afternoon the guy next to me, in the front row near the stage right under the bright lights, has fallen asleep. I guess not everybody here finds the theory talks interesting. Anyway, Richard Easther, an ex local, was next up with a talk on neutrinos and Future Concordance. He described the 6 basic input parameters, in particular $\Omega_{\Lambda}$, his description of which invoked a Tooth Fairy, which he pointed out might actually be a real tooth fairy under anthropomorphic thinking. The question is, how will the parameter set develop? It could shrink from knowledge of masses, or perhaps expand. The important point is that the WMAP observations are now sufficiently accurate that neutrino physics is becoming essential to progress in cosmology. Limits indicate that $\sum m_{i}$ is probably less than 1 eV (yes, 0.06 eV) and Planck may well see to around 0.15. The second half of the talk was an intriguing analysis of the idea of a 21cm high $z$ map of the sky. This would require new foreground removal techniques and a


very quiet radio location (perhaps the SKA in Western Australia)! See also this paper. Let me briefly sketch the rest of Friday theory. Another theorist, Shaposhnikov, discussed his sterile neutrino scenario and methods for detecting them. Nir described the Sakharov conditions. In particular, the MSSM should be testable at the LHC, because parameter constraints indicate a $m_{\chi} < 250$ GeV (that's some funny stringy particle). Here is his introduction to Leptogenesis. Posted by Kea at 05:23PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 5g
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Perhaps you were thinking we had reached the end of the neutrino experiment catalogue? Hah, hah! The organisers saved the biggest experiments for last. Moving on to deep water and Antarctic ice high energy detectors, T. DeYoung presented results from 7 years of AMANDA, which was fully deployed in 2000. The 7 year data set amounts to 3.8 years of total live time for 667 optical modules on 19 strings reaching down to 2500m below the surface. The point source search considered 6595 events and a preliminary skymap was shown. Taking into account that 95 out of 100 background maps have point sources with $> 3.38 \sigma$, they conclude that there are no clear observations, but upward fluctuations include MGRO J2019+37 and Geminga. For the solar WIMP search, a preliminary limit on 4 years of data beats the SuperK bound for higher neutralino masses. The IceCube experiment should yield a significant improvement in the 30-100 GeV range. A 7 year analysis paper is due out soon, and AMANDA is being fully incorporated into the IceCube experiment. The ANTARES ocean detector was completed only 12 hours before Carr's report on it. Analysis is progressing on 400 $\nu$ events. Finally, Migneco covered Baikal, Nestor and KM3NeT. Posted by Kea at 06:07PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 - GSI
Saturday, May 31, 2008
It turns out that the GSI poster did in fact belong to Manfred Lindner, who gave a 15 minute talk on the anomaly late Friday. As indicated by the poster, he wanted to stress to theorists the silliness of rushing to publish explanations for rumoured oscillations, which it turns out cannot have anything to do (directly) with neutrino oscillations. GSI has the ability to see single ions via Schottky noise detection, after creating monoisotopic beams. The systems in question are decays of 140Pr58+ to Ce and 142Pm60+ to Nd. On observing the decays over a period of about 80 seconds, they find superimposed oscillations (at very high $\sigma$) in the count rate of $T = 7$ sec in both cases. Also note that the phases are different in each case, whereas one might expect them to be the same if set at $t = 0$ by some mechanism. They say the oscillations cannot be due to


neutrino oscillations, because the capture process should be independent of neutrino mixing. So what is it? There was no clear answer given, but suggestions include a tiny splitting in the mother system, which sounds reasonable. A new run to clarify the situation should be made this fall. Posted by Kea at 06:51PM (+12:00)

Saturday, May 31, 2008
I'm going to leave the Saturday report until later, because I need to catch up on sleep before waitressing all day tomorrow. The committee chose Boston for 2014 and confirmed Athens 2010 and Kyoto 2012. As Schneps pointed out, the weather was perfect all week because everybody got given an umbrella in their conference bag. There was a lot of talk about New Physics, but almost nothing other than sterile neutrinos or stringy or loopy models were discussed. Posted by Kea at 07:14PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 6a
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Everyone who goes down to Antarctica to work on IceCube must pass through Christchurch, and it is not surprising that UC has a neutrino physics group, which is led by Jenni Adams. The IceCube talk on Saturday morning was given by S. Klein, who began with a description of the detector: 4800 optical modules on 80 strings reaching down 2450m into the ice at the South Pole. This depth represents roughly 100000 years of atmospheric history, and one can see ancient volcanic eruptions due to dust layers observed in the calibration data. There is also a 1 $\textrm{km}^{2}$ surface array of tanks. When the full detector (IC80) is in operation in 2011 they estimate 200 $\nu$ events per day. There are a number of trigger systems, for example, the firing of 5 of 7 adjacent optical modules on a single string within $1.5 \mu\textrm{s}$. About 6% of events are considered sufficiently interesting to send north via satellite. IceCube is close to releasing a skymap for IC22, which is about 5 times more sensitive than IC9. Some searches were triggered, including the very bright GRB080119B event, although IceCube only expects 0.1 associated $\nu_{\mu}$ events. Results: The solar WIMP search found no excess and the AMANDA limits have been improved. The solar outburst of December 13, 2006 indicated no large spectral changes. A


preliminary cosmic ray spectrum was shown. Posted by Kea at 03:44PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 6b
Sunday, June 01, 2008
E. Roulet reported from the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory in Argentina. This consists of 1600 detectors spread over 3000 $\textrm{km}^{2}$ along with 24 telescopes looking at the sky over the region. Pierre Auger recently confirmed the infamous GZK cutoff (more on this later) associated to proton energies greater than $6 \times 10^{19}$ eV. Rather, although high energy events were observed, the flux falls off by about a half with more than $6 \sigma$. High energy events are extragalactic. For 2006-2007 data, 8 strong correlations between events and nearby AGN were found, as compared to 3 expected. Centaurus A (the closest AGN) corresponds to 2 events located within 3 degrees. No candidates for diffuse neutrino flux were observed. Construction of Pierre Auger is almost completed. Posted by Kea at 04:20PM (+12:00)

Neutrino08 Day 6c
Sunday, June 01, 2008
ANITA is a radio balloon experiment, which is flown around Antarctica to view a vast expanse of ice and then (ideally) landed neatly. Despite problems with the last flight, 18 days of good live time were recovered for an average 1.2 km depth of ice. For the next flight they expect a factor of 5 improvement in the $\nu$ rate. Some candidate geosynchrotron events were observed, but satellite data still needs to be checked carefully (solid state relays on satellites can cause false events). B. Dingus overviewed multiwavelength astronomy and, taking advantage of the late lecture slot, showed a few photos of her trip to Franz Josef glacier (and Arthur's Pass). Potential neutrino sources were introduced with this stunning image of the Crab nebula, along with other examples. Unidentified high latitude EGRET sources were also mentioned. And GLAST is due to launch on Thursday! One day of GLAST operation should match 9 years of EGRET. Dingus actually works for Milagro, a TeV gamma ray observatory in Mexico that was turned off in April 2008. HAWC was discussed as a promising future detector. Posted by Kea at 04:46PM (+12:00)


Neutrino08 - Sarkar
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Subir Sarkar is one of those rare individuals who can be very critical of his audience without offending anybody (that I know of) because he just makes so much sense. He was assigned the task (by the organisers) of analysing the implications of cosmic ray results. The talk included phrases such as: one could use some Mickey Mouse model of mirror [something] ... or even better, to the audience: please stop drawing limits ... in reference to ideas which have been completely ruled out. The talk began with the catchphrase guaranteed cosmogenic neutrino flux, to which Sarkar had added strong quotation marks to the first word, the main point being that cosmic ray primaries might well be heavy nuclei rather than protons. Auger data was used as evidence for this hypothesis, which is consistent with the observed energy spectrum and predicts a smaller cosmogenic flux. Another 2006 paper looks at Auger bounds for QCD. Colour gluon condensates were mentioned. The steep rise of gluon density at low x should saturate, leading to a supression of the neutrino-nucleus cross section. In summary, he says that neutrino observations are a unique laboratory for both Standard Model and Beyond Standard Model physics. Posted by Kea at 05:25PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 193
Sunday, June 01, 2008
While I was busy at Neutrino 08, the NCG blog posted an update on the Vanderbilt meeting. In particular, they note that Manin's lectures on Zeta functions and Motives are available at Katia Consani's homepage! Niranjan Ramachandran spoke about this paper at Vanderbilt. This work, originating in the physical ideas of Deninger, looks at the field over one element (which is fast becoming a popular subject). Deninger writes the zeta function, completed with the infinite prime, in the form $\zeta (s) = \frac{R}{s (s - 1)}$ where $R$ is a regularized determinant to be viewed as an infinite dimensional analogue of a determinant of an endomorphism of a finite dimensional vector space (according to Connes and Consani). Posted by Kea at 07:29PM (+12:00)


F Theory
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Since my brief comment regarding the new F Theory paper was naturally deleted by Woit, although quite evidently very much on topic, I will post it here: Hmmm, that’s odd. A 200 page paper on F theory should be able to recover Brannen’s precise mass values for the three Standard Model neutrinos ($\sum m_{i}$ = 0.06 eV) because the 12 dimensions are recovered very simply from the three Riemann moduli spaces of twistor dimension (= 6 over $\mathbb{R}$) via marked points = spatial dimension and also holes = times (one hole for the torus and two for the genus two surface). Posted by Kea at 06:35PM (+12:00)

POW Riemann
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Todd and Vishal's Problem of the Week number 3 (solution here) was to compute, for any $n > 1$, the series (from $k = 0$) $S(n) \equiv \sum_{k} B(n+k ; k)^{-1}$ where $B(n+k ; k)$ is a binomial coefficient. In the case $n = 2$ we see that the sum takes the form $S(2) = 1 + \frac{1}{3} + \frac{1}{6} + \frac{1}{10} + \cdots = 2$ which is a sum of reciprocals of triangular numbers $\frac{1}{2} k(k+1)$ (from $k = 1$). For $n = 3$ we obtain the reciprocals of the tetrahedral numbers, and $S(3) = \frac{3}{2}$. The tetrahedral number $T_{k} = \frac{1}{6} k(k+1)(k+2)$ is the sum of the first $k$ triangular numbers. By the way, only three tetrahedral numbers are perfect squares, namely 1, 4 and $T_{48} = 19600$. One guesses that in general $S(n)$ is a series of reciprocals of tetrahedral numbers in dimension $n$. Indeed $S(n) = \frac{n}{n - 1}$ But whenever discussing infinite series of simple polytopes, an M theorist cannot help thinking of the Riemann zeta function. Observe that for $n = 2$ $S(2) = \sum_{k} \frac{2}{k^{2} + k} = 2 \zeta (2) - \sum_{k} \frac{2}{k^{3} + k^{2}}$ $= 2 [ \zeta (2) - \zeta (3) + \zeta (4) - \zeta (5) + \cdots ] = 2$ from which one deduces, allowing cancellation of infinities (!), that $\zeta (2) - \zeta (3) + \zeta (4) - \zeta (5) + \cdots = 1$


What kind of zeta sums do we get in general?

Posted by Kea at 03:56PM (+12:00)

POW Riemann II
Thursday, June 05, 2008
A more respectable result using Riemann zeta values is $(\zeta (2) - 1) + (\zeta (3) - 1) + (\zeta (4) - 1) + \cdots = 1$ because the terms in this series start at 0.6449 and rapidly approach zero. It is well known that for even ordinals $\zeta (2k) = \frac{(-1)^{k+1} (2 \pi)^{2k}}{2 (2k)!} B_{2k}$ for Bernoulli numbers $B_{2k}$. More recently, formulas for odd ordinals have been found by Linas Vepstas. From his 2006 paper we have $\zeta (4m - 1) = - 2 \sum_{n} \textrm{Li}_{4m - 1} (e^{- 2 \pi n}) - \frac{1}{2} (2 \pi)^{4m 1} \sum_{j=0}^{2m} (-1)^{j} \frac{B_{2j} B_{4m - 2j}}{(2j)!(4m - 2j)!}$ $\zeta (4m + 1) = (1 + (-4)^{m} - 2^{4m + 1})^{-1} [-2 \sum_{n} \textrm{Li}_{4m + 1} (e^{- 2 \pi n + \pi i})$ $ + 2(2^{4m+1} - (-4)^{m}) \sum_{n} \textrm{Li}_{4m + 1} (e^{- 2 \pi n}) $ $+ (2 \pi)^{4m+1} \sum_{j=0}^{m} (-4)^{m+j} \frac{B_{4m - 4j + 2}B_{4j}}{(4m - 4j + 2)!(4j)!} $ $+ \frac{1}{2} (2 \pi)^{4m+1} \sum_{j=0}^{2m+1} (-4)^{j} \frac{B_{4m - 2j + 2}B_{2j}}{(4m 2j + 2)!(2j)!} ]$ for $\textrm{Li}_{s}(x)$ the polylogarithm function, which generalises the Riemann zeta function. In other words, one can think of $\zeta (4m - 1)$ as the $n = 0$ term in a formula relating polylogarithm values to the Bernoulli numbers. Posted by Kea at 05:00PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 194
Friday, June 06, 2008
The denominator of the Fermi function is derived from the partition function $Z = 1 + \textrm{exp}(- \frac{E - \mu}{kT})$ for the 2 possible occupancies of a fermion state, namely 0 or 1. A ternary analogue resulting in tripled Pauli statistics would require $Z = 1 + 3 \textrm{exp} (- \frac{E}{kT})$ where we arbitrarily shift the energy scale, momentarily. Presumably this corresponds to


the three possible ways of occupying the state with one particle, whereas for ordinary fermions there is only one way of occupying a state. Another interpretation is to write $3 \textrm{exp} (- \frac{E}{kT}) = \textrm{exp} (- \frac{E}{kT} + \textrm{log} 3)$ where $\textrm{log} 3$ is an energy level (for one prime object) in the Riemann gas system, whose complete partition function is the Riemann zeta function $\zeta (s)$ for $s = (kT)^{-1}$. Posted by Kea at 03:13PM (+12:00)

Neutrinos Again
Saturday, June 07, 2008
A paper by Altarelli and Feruglio on tribimaximal mixing was mentioned in talks at Neutrino 08, so I thought I should take a look at it. They begin by describing the 3 dimensional representation of $A_{4}$ which has generators $S$ and $T$ satisfying $(ST)^{3} = S^{2} = 1$, just like the modular group, and also the relation $T^{3} = 1$. Then, letting $\omega$ be the cubed root of unity, one has for $T$ the matrix 100 0 $\omega^{2}$ 0 0 0 $\omega$ and for $3 S$ the circulant matrix -1 2 2 2 -1 2 2 2 -1 The 12 elements of $A_{4}$ are given by all possible combinations of these generators. Gee, it already sounds a bit like M Theory. I can't imagine what they want with all the fairy fields and SUSY's mumbo jumbo, although in short shrift the tribimaximal mixing matrix appears. Posted by Kea at 05:40PM (+12:00)

Neutrinos Again II
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Recall that a renormalised circulant matrix is a kind of magic square, where we don't worry about summing along diagonals. In neutrino physics, the unitarity of mixing forces the (squared) mixing matrix to be a magic square with rows and columns summing to 1. The tribimaximal case was first discussed by Harrison et al, where the whole matrix follows from the entries $U_{13}$, $U_{23}$ and $U_{12}$. Labelling columns by $\nu_{1}$, $\nu_{2}$, $\nu_{3}$ and rows by $e$, $\mu$, $\tau$ the matrix $U^{2}$ is


$\frac{2}{3}$ $\frac{1}{3}$ $0$

$\frac{1}{6}$ $\frac{1}{3}$ $\frac{1}{2}$ $\frac{1}{6}$ $\frac{1}{3}$ $\frac{1}{2}$ In terms of the standard mixing angles this corresponds to $\theta_{13} = 0$, $\theta_{23} = \frac{\pi}{4}$ and $\textrm{sin} \theta_{12} = \frac{1}{\sqrt{3}}$ with no additional (Dirac) CP violating phase. Given the excellent experimental agreement with this case, the question is, what is the justification for choosing $U_{13} = 0$, $U_{23} = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}$ and $U_{12} = \frac{1}{\sqrt{3}}$? Most physicists expect some deviation from tribimaximal mixing, but perhaps there is a good reason for things being so simple. For instance, observe that we can reorder the columns arbitrarily so that $U^{2}$ is derived (assuming one democratic column) from a diagonal $\frac{2}{3}$, $\frac{1}{2}$, $\frac{1}{3}$ which is the length 3 Farey sequence. That is, it has the modular group property that for consecutive fractions $\frac{a}{b}$ and $\frac{c}{d}$, one has $bc - ad = 1$. On the other hand, what mixing do we get if we substitute Carl's neutrino Koide rule for the one assumed by Harrison et al? Note that Harrison et al use the $3 \times 3$ circulant mass matrix for the charged leptons. On using the same quantum Fourier diagonalisation operator for both the charged leptons and neutrinos (see page 7 in Harrison et al) one would find that $U^{\dagger} U = 1$, so the tribimaximal mixing matrix would be replaced by the identity! It is the interplay of $3 \times 3$ circulants and $2 \times 2$ circulants that gives rise to the observed tribimaximal mixing. Posted by Kea at 06:19PM (+12:00)

Neutrinos Again III
Monday, June 09, 2008
Carl Brannen rightly pointed out that the matrices appearing in the tribimaximal mixing papers are in fact basically the same as those that characterise MUBs and the quantum Fourier transform for the prime 3. In fact, let where $(231)$ (oops, it should be $(312)$) denotes as usual the cyclic permutation in $S_{3}$ (sometimes drawn as ribbon diagrams) and $M$ is Carl's notation. Both $(231)$ and $3M$ cube to the identity. The democratic matrix is given by $D = \frac{1}{3}[1 + (231) + (231)^{2}]$, which can be thought of as a vector $(\frac{1}{3} , \frac{1}{3} , \frac{1}{3})$. Observe that the operator $S$ from the $A_{4}$ representation obeys the rules $D \cdot 3S = 3D$ $2D - 3S = 3I$ where $I$ is the identity. I'm beginning to wonder if those poor experimenters are ever going to detect a $\theta_{13} > 0$. Note also that the (norm square) $2 \times 2$ form of the neutrino mass matrix, which was used by Harrison et al, is expressed as which utilises the 2-circulant $3 \times 3$ matrix that happens to square to the identity. In other


words, this is a $3 \times 3$ representation of the Pauli spin Fourier polynomial. Thus tribimaximal mixing is expressed as a composition of mass Fourier and spin Fourier components. Posted by Kea at 05:58PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 195
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Recall from Mulase's lectures on the modular group $PSL (2, \mathbb{Z})$ that the generators are given by where $T$ represents a translation by 1 in the complex plane. Note that $S$ really does square to the identity because $\pm 1$ are identified, but $T$ is quite distinct from the tetrahedral generator $(1, \omega , \omega^{2})$ used in neutrino mixing, which is more naturally associated with the quantum Fourier transform. Consider how the diagonal $(\omega , \omega^{2})$ acts on $z$. As a modular transformation it would act via $z \mapsto \frac{az + b}{cz + d} = \omega^{-1}z$ that is, a rotation by $\frac{2 \pi}{3}$ in the plane. This is like the action of $TS$, which also rotates a third of a circle but fixing instead the point $z = e^{\frac{\pi i}{3}}$ which is a vertex of the Grothendieck ribbon graph for the notorious j invariant. Posted by Kea at 10:10AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 196
Thursday, June 12, 2008
One place where the origin in the plane naturally appears in the theory of the modular group is in Reduction Theory, nicely explained in a paper recommended by Thomas Riepe. One relaxes the condition that the group action on the upper half plane shift the fundamental domain so that there is no intersection between the two domains, and allows a finite intersection. Then the region shown on the right, which is three times bigger than the usual domain, is allowed as a fundamental domain. Now let $\Gamma (N)$ be the congruence subgroup of the modular group. The translations of the new fundamental region give quotient spaces with punctures at vertices. For $\Gamma (3)$ one has a tetrahedron (like the neutrino tetrahedron), for $\Gamma (4)$ an octahedron and for $\Gamma (5)$ an icosahedron. Posted by Kea at 01:48PM (+12:00)


M Theory Lesson 197
Friday, June 13, 2008
Speaking of platonic groups in neutrino physics, Lieven Le Bruyn beautifully clarifies the story in a post on Galois. As he points out, these three groups, the tetrahedral, octahedral and icosahedral, in turn correspond to the three exceptional Lie algebras $E_6$, $E_7$, $E_8$ via the McKay correspondence (wrt. their 2-fold covers). Yesterday we came across $\Gamma (3)$ in connection with the neutrino mixing tetrahedron. Recall that the generating function for $\Gamma (3)$ is $j^{\frac{1}{3}}$, where the dimension of $E_8$ appears in the second term of the expansion. But these connections to the exceptional Lie groups have much more to do with lattices and operads than with strings or toes, as Lieven promises to explain soon. M Theory is the theory that explains the structure of stringy geometry, not the theory that confirms so called stringy physics. Posted by Kea at 12:22PM (+12:00)

Neutrinos Again IV
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Following Carl Brannen's convention for tribimaximal mixing, a phase corrected Harrison et al factorisation would look like (sorry about the missing square root in the normalisation constant) where the second factor $V$ has the property that $V^{\dagger} V = 2 I$, for $I$ the identity matrix (the factor of 2 goes away with the appropriate normalisation factor). Let's have fun thinking about other properties of this operator! Posted by Kea at 06:19PM (+12:00)

Neutrinos Again V
Monday, June 16, 2008
The $2 \times 2$ component of the second factor diagonalises a $2 \times 2$ circulant which is why Harrison et al selected such an operator for their neutrino mass matrix. But mixing is about sending mass states to weak states, so it makes more sense to consider a factorisation $U_{m}^{\dagger}V_{w}$ where $U_{m}$ is the universal $3 \times 3$ circulant diagonalisation operator. One can have fun switching rows or columns. For example, a codiagonalisation of $3 \times 3$ 2-circulants is given by One can combine a row switch in $U_{m}^{\dagger}$ with a column switch in the second operator to obtain which is just the tribimaximal mixing matrix again, up to some phase factors. Let us imagine adding an identity matrix factor as a one dimensional operator on the right, thus forming a triple product of Fourier operators, one for each dimension up to three. Aside: Check out Carl's post on Koide fits for mesons. Posted by Kea at 05:11PM (+12:00)


Lieven's Trinities
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Lieven Le Bruyn has an absolutely wonderful post about Arnold's trinities. Examples include the Platonic groups, the exceptional triple $(E_6, E_7, E_8)$ and the fields $\mathbb{C}$, $\mathbb{H}$ and the octonions. Lieven asks, do you have other trinities you like to worship? In M Theory we have all of these and lots more! The Riemann surface moduli triple $(M(0,6), M(1,3), M(2,0))$ of twistor dimension. Idempotent triples for the particle generations. Three kinds of being in ternary logic. The three squares on an associahedron in dimension 3. Three parity cubes for the exceptional Jordan algebra over the octonions. The three states of Peirce's Hegelian philosophy. The three crossings on a trefoil knot and the braid group $B_3$. The triple $(B_{3}, PSL(2, \mathbb{Z}), S_3)$ of braids, modular group and hexagon (or triangle). Update: A pdf version of Arnold's paper has kindly been provided by Lieven. Aside: I just installed the latest version of Firefox and it has ruined some of the maths fonts. Is this problem going to be fixed? Posted by Kea at 08:29AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 198
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Let's start with $(\mathbb{R}, \mathbb{C}, \mathbb{H})$ and the triple of Riemann surface moduli $(M(0,6), M(1,3), M(2,0))$, which have Euler characteristics $-6, - \frac{1}{6}, - \frac{1}{120}$ respectively. Observe that 120 is the number of elements in the icosahedral group, whereas 6 is the number of elements in $S_3$. The triple of ( orthogonal, unitary, symplectic) appeared in Mulase-Waldron T duality for partition functions over twisted graphs. Here, the unitary case is self dual, just like the Platonic tetrahedron. The real (orthogonal) case has half the number of matrix dimensions (punctures) as the quaternionic case, suggesting we associate the genus 1 moduli to $\mathbb{R}$ and the genus 0 moduli to $\mathbb{H}$. The dual graph to the cube is basically the 6 punctured sphere. This leaves the genus 2 moduli for the icosahedron and indeed the 120 in the Euler characteristic suggests a relation. Observe that without the octonions, one does not naturally encounter nonassociative structures in the triples, but such triples are also highly relevant to M Theory. From a categorical perspective, one views these trinities as models of the category 3, the basic triangle, because they naturally form categories with only 3 objects and one natural map between any two objects. The collection of all such sets of three elements is the object 3 as an ordinal which counts cardinalities of sets, except that we have categorified the sets by making them categories! This is why it is not surprising to encounter grouplike cardinalities in the Euler characterstics of these models. (Actually, it is the orbifold


structure of the moduli that gives them a groupoid character). Posted by Kea at 08:24AM (+12:00)

Idempotent Nilpotent
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Some circulants that pop up in M Theory have very nice properties. For example, consider the idempotent operator $\frac{1}{3} C$ in If we were doing arithmetic modulo 3 this would look like the equation making the democratic matrix into a nilpotent operator. For a phase of $\delta = \pi$ the eigenvalues of $C$ are $(0, \sqrt{3}^{-1}, \sqrt{3}^{-1})$, which may be normalised to $(0,1,1)$. Note that, modulo 3, $C$ is the same as the modular operator $S$, which squares to unity and represents inversion in the unit circle. Modulo 2, the operator $C$ is the complement of the identity $S$. Posted by Kea at 02:57PM (+12:00)

Idempotent Nilpotent II
Thursday, June 19, 2008
A nicer way to represent the neutrino tetrahedron group with $3 \times 3$ operators is to choose since this also obeys $T^{3} = 1$ and $(TS)^{3} = 1$ but $T$ looks a lot more like the circulant $S$ than a diagonal operator. Moreover, the quantum Fourier diagonal still appears in the relation from which it also follows that $T = SD$ and $T^{2} = S \overline{D} = S D^{2}$ where $\overline{D}$ is just the rotation in the opposite direction in the plane. Observe how the squaring of $T$ shifts the horizontal phase factors to vertical ones. Posted by Kea at 06:16PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 199
Friday, June 20, 2008
Let $\omega$ be the primitive cubed root of unity. Using the ordinary matrix product one finds that the prospective $B_3$ braid generator satisfies $\sigma_{2}^{2} = 1$, but as Lieven points out one can consider fancier matrix products, such as and it follows that instead $\sigma_{2}^{3}$ might be a permutation matrix. Anyhow, one easily verifies that the braid relation $\sigma_{1} \sigma_{2} \sigma_{1} = \sigma_{2} \sigma_{1} \sigma_{2}$ holds. Moreover, in this case of cubed roots of unity, using ordinary matrix product one gets the relation which reduces the braid group to the modular group. Recall that this process views the group $B_{3}$ as the fundamental group of the complement of the trefoil knot in three dimensional space. Note that the generator $\sigma_{1}$ behaves similarly, reduced by the properties of $\omega$, but never quite to the identity. For powers of $\sigma_{1}$ we have the relations where the big dot means the permutation operation, which has no knowledge of the crossing. What a nice way of looking at the modular group! Category theorists have a fancy way of thinking of semidirect products as a piece of two dimensional group structure, but these simple matrices are enough to see what is going on.


Posted by Kea at 12:58PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 200
Friday, June 20, 2008
Now imagine that $\omega$ is an $N$th root of unity for some initially arbitrary $N$. Then our generators $\sigma_{1}$ and $\sigma_{2}$ obey ordinary matrix relations of the form and $\sigma_{1} \sigma_{2} \sigma_{1} = \sigma_{2} \sigma_{1} \sigma_{2}$ holds. We also have $(\sigma_{1} \sigma_{2} \sigma_{1})^{2} = \omega^{6} \cdot 1$, so if $\omega$ is a 6th root of unity the modular relation holds. One also has that $(\sigma_{1} \sigma_{2})^{3} = \omega^{6} \cdot 1$. This is the operator usually chosen to represent $ST$ in the modular group. Posted by Kea at 06:38PM (+12:00)

Foggy Friday
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I live on a hill only about 250m above the low lying Canterbury plains, in fact on the other side of one of the low hills in the centre of this picture, on the outskirts of the city. But many winter mornings it is like living in the sky (although unfortunately it is often brown). Yesterday the fog sat even lower than in this (stolen) picture, and from home I could see across 100s of kilometres of cloud from a clear sunny day. Posted by Kea at 05:16PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 201
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
It is confusing that we sometimes talk about 0, 1 and 2, and sometimes about 1, 2 and 3, when we really mean the same thing. But one denotes truth values by the former triple and elements of sets by the latter, even if the set contains the number 0. Of course it doesn't matter what one calls objects in a logos, so long as one is careful to explain what structure is being described. Let's stick with 1, 2 and 3 today, because this is conventional notation for the permutations on three objects, given as usual by the $3 \times 3$ circulant matrices with entries 0 and 1. In logos theory multicategories are more important than ordinary categories, not least because operads are examples of multicategories. Consider the basic triangle category, with only three non-identity arrows. If the triangle is viewed as a multicocategory, what arrows can we draw with it? Any number of inputs is allowed, but for the category 3 re-


peats soon become inevitable. Heavy use of the identity arrows is made. Now consider a triangle with two way arrows between distinct objects. A pair of two way arrows can represent a 2-cycle permutation on two objects, denoted by the Pauli matrix $\sigma_{x}$. But then naive composition of arrows does not give the composition of 2-cycles in $S_{3}$. To obtain such a 3-cycle it is more natural to involve multiarrows! That is, let a trivalent vertex represent the 3-cycle, as we often do in M Theory. Posted by Kea at 06:39PM (+12:00)

The Institute
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Ben Webster asks us where and how we would build a new research institute. As previously mentioned, I would build a centre for pure Category Theory and its applications in everything from physics and computer science to neuroscience and linguistics. John Armstrong has already signed up for an NZ based institute. The first question is, urban or rural? Come on. This is the 21st century, so let's choose somewhere pleasant to live, where time off from the office can be spent on a variety of outdoor activities. Kaikoura is the place. Lonely Hapuku hut is only a few hours walk from potential institute sites in the lower Hapuku valley. There is access to a large area of scenic mountain hiking. One could take an easy walk up the Mt Fyffe road in the morning and then enjoy whale watching in the afternoon. If tired of swimming with the seals, or skiing, or wine tasting, one could always turn to a geological tour. The so called Kaikoura orogeny, beginning about 25 million years ago, is the uplifting process that forms the Southern Alps. This institute would be cheap to build, since Kaikoura is sparsely populated. It is easily accessible by road and rail from Christchurch, three hours away. Posted by Kea at 01:38PM (+12:00)


Friday, June 27, 2008
CV pointed out that the Phoenix Mars Lander has a Facebook account, so now I'm a friend of Phoenix! Today Phoenix told us that the Martian soil is certainly friendly for life! Its pH is between 8 and 9 and quite salty! I also became a fan of GLAST on Facebook. Posted by Kea at 11:45AM (+12:00)

Neutrinos Again VI
Friday, June 27, 2008
Let's get back to neutrino mixing. Today, Carl Brannen links to some slides by Smirnov on Universality versus Complementarity for quarks and leptons. Complementarity is the observation that for tribimaximal mixing one has the relations $\theta_{12} + \theta_{12}^{qu} \simeq \frac{\pi}{4}$ $\theta_{23} + \theta_{23}^{qu} \simeq \frac{\pi}{4}$ (and $\theta_{13}$ small) despite the fact that the CKM matrix is very different to tribimaximal. Smirnov then discusses an implied $\nu_{\mu}$, $\nu_{\tau}$ permutation symmetry of the form But observe that this matrix can also be expressed as the sum of two (Hermitian) $3 \times 3$ circulants, since 2-circulants describe the 2-cycles in the permutation group $S_{3}$. As a formal combination of elements of $S_{3}$ (or the braid group $B_{3}$ if appropriate phases are added) we can represent this matrix sum as an element of a diagram algebra on three strands. Posted by Kea at 01:22PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 202
Friday, June 27, 2008
So combining 1-circulants and 2-circulants is interesting in the context of mixing. Let us play with combinations of the Fourier operators for both cases. For example, Recall that these two matrices can be combined to describe an element of $B_{3}$ using a repres-


entation linked to the theory of the field with one element. We obtain which is a BilsonThompson type braid for particles. Since $U_{2}^{\dagger} U_{1} = U_{1}^{\dagger} U_{2}$, we can rewrite the quadruple product as $U_{1}^{\dagger} ( U_{2} U_{1} U_{2}^{\dagger} )$. Posted by Kea at 05:24PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 203
Monday, June 30, 2008
As usual Carl has jumped ahead with a post on mixing matrices as magic squares. For reference, let us collect here some actual figures for the CKM matrix, given in this article from the Particle Data Group. Absolute value signs are omitted. $M_{ud} = 0.97377 \pm 0.00027$ $M_{us} = 0.2257 \pm 0.0021$ $M_{ub} = 4.31 \pm 0.30 \times 10^{-3}$ $M_{cd} = 0.230 \pm 0.011$ $M_{cs} = 0.957 \pm 0.017 \pm 0.093$ $M_{cb} = 41.6 \pm 0.6 \times 10^{-3}$ $M_{td} = 7.4 \pm 0.8 \times 10^{-3}$ $M_{ts} = 40.6 \pm 2.7 \times 10^{-3}$ $M_{tb} > 0.78$ This is a little different to the values given in the wikipedia article. Standard Model analyses of these quantities can be quite complicated. Following the notation from before, in a very simple ideal double circulant the magic square property demands that $a + b = c + d$. For the CKM values (squared) we see that rows and columns do indeed sum to 1, and $c + d \simeq 1$ because $b$ is so small. Posted by Kea at 07:07PM (+12:00)

Carbon Beauty
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
In a series of posts on the buckyball trinity, Lieven Le Bruyn gives a link to this paper by P. Martin and D. Singerman on the genus 70 buckyball curve. On page 8 they discuss the familiar Fano geometry of seven points and seven lines, described by a 7 dimensional circulant 1110010 0111001 1011100 0101110 0010111 1001011 1100101


This geometry is embedded in the genus 3 Klein surface. The buckyball curve appears as an embedding space for the $p = 11$ analogue, described by an 11 dimensional circulant 10110100011 11011010001 11101101000 01110110100 00111011010 00011101101 10001110110 01000111011 10100011101 11010001110 01101000111 One guesses that this must somehow be associated to the algebra $E11$, the mathematics of which give the likes of Woit so much confidence that they know more than a lot of very smart string theorists. But in M Theory, we don't care so much about the continuum mathematics, because the physics is actually much simpler than that. Posted by Kea at 03:24PM (+12:00)

Riemann Hypothesis
Thursday, July 03, 2008
OK, I suppose I must provide a link to the new paper by Xian-Jin Li with the simple title A proof of the Riemann hypothesis. Like many around the blogosphere, I have no intention of trying to decipher it, although the claimed proof, by a well known number theorist, relies heavily on Fourier analysis and ideas from Connes NCG. In other words, it sounds highly promising. Despite the expertise of the author however, my hunch is that there's a flaw, because the claimed proof is mostly standard analysis. However, perhaps flaws in the proof will be easy to iron out using techniques from quantum information theory. Update: Terence Tao believes there is an error in equation (6.9) on page 20. He comments that the Fourier transform really ought not to be this powerful. Given the standard analytical form of Fourier transform used in the claimed proof this would seem a reasonable statement, but perhaps in an $\omega$ categorical framework (where as usual we associate primes $p$ with categorical dimension) this could be modified to obtain a decomposition of the form (6.9). Posted by Kea at 10:42AM (+12:00)


Carbon Beauty II
Thursday, July 03, 2008
In the buckyball paper by Singerman and Martin, the genus 70 buckyball curve appears as the $p = 11$ analogue of the Klein surface for $p = 7$. The construction relies on the Hecke group $H5$, generated by $S: z \mapsto - \frac{1}{z}$ $T: z \mapsto - \frac{1}{z + \phi}$ where $\phi = \frac{1 + \sqrt{5}}{2}$ is the golden ratio. The golden ratio turns up in many places in noncommutative geometry, for example as weights for a quantum groupoid. Note that the modular group is also a Hecke group for $\phi = 1$. By a theorem of Hecke, $H5$ is discrete precisely because $\phi = 2 \textrm{cos} \frac{\pi}{5}$ where 5 is an ordinal. Note that the special phase $\frac{\pi}{5}$ (or double this) also has nice properties in relation to the Jones polynomial, which is universal for quantum computation at a 5th root of unity. Posted by Kea at 05:15PM (+12:00)

Riemann Again
Friday, July 04, 2008
Sorry Carl, I can't resist. Recall Connes' remark regarding the Riemann Hypothesis that it is a basic primitive question about the adelic line which we don't understand. It is a question about the way addition is fitting with multiplication. In this light, the very simple use of the adeles in Li's paper comes across almost as an insult to the spirit of Connes' approach. One gets the eerie feeling that Li has a strong subconscious sense of a promising line of attack, but that this has led him into the labyrinth of murky delusion, a frightening place of which there is no need to say more. But if nothing else, the paper has caused a lot of bright people to ponder the mystery that is the rational adeles. In M Theory, since a prime $p$ is pretty well always associated (as logos building blocks) to categorical dimension, even if only to count sets, the adeles must be an $\omega$-categorical construction. There is no problem defining rational numbers or appropriate limits in this setting, so the mystery lies in what it means to tack the real numbers on the end, at the infinite prime. One nice property of the adeles as an Abelian group is that it is isomorphic to its Pontrjagin (Fourier) dual. Somehow this is analogous to the schizophrenic property of the group $U(1)$ in the full Stone duality setting, enriched to the $n$-category hierarchy setting. Or, as kneemo would put it, a string is secretly a necklace of pearls. Posted by Kea at 12:09PM (+12:00)


Carbon Beauty III
Friday, July 04, 2008
Observe how the buckyball trinity builds the prime $p = 11$ from lower primes, particularly the prime 5. Not only do we use the Hecke group $H5$, but the 11 buckyballs (truncated icosahedra) defining the genus 70 curve each have 60 vertices, which come from 5 copies of the 12 vertex truncated tetrahedron, which has 4 hexagonal and 4 triangular faces. Another choice for the Euler structure $(V,E,F)=(12,18,8)$ is the 4 pentagon and 4 square faces of the third ball in the ternary geometry of the cube. And since buckyballs are mixtures of pentagons and hexagons, the buckyball trinity averages these geometries. Note also that the $p = 7$ truncated cube has $(V,E,F)=(24,36,14)$, which is the same Euler structure as the permutohedron. Thus all three truncated Platonic geometries have a double Euler structure. The $3 \times 8$ splitting of the 24 vertices of the permutohedron is like the pairing of squares to form three cubes in M Theory, or the three squares of the associahedron, which was associated to the crossings defining the trefoil knot in $\mathbb{R}^{3}$, the complement of which has the cover of the modular group, namely the braid group on three strands, as fundamental group. Gee, if I repeat that a lot it's because I find it very, very interesting! Posted by Kea at 04:16PM (+12:00)

Alia Sabur
Friday, July 04, 2008
Ah, if I had a penny for every time someone has told me that men have a wider range of mathematical ability and that's why the tail of the distribution is naturally filled with men. So who recently broke the 300 year old record to become the world's youngest professor? Alia Sabur, a lowly woman. Thanks, Women in Science. Posted by Kea at 05:07PM (+12:00)

Winter Weekend
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Christchurch lies at sea level, but sometimes in winter it snows here. It wasn't the nicest day to be out yesterday, but a long walk home was unavoidable when the buses stopped running up the hill where I live. This morning the skies cleared and I could only sigh as I viewed the glistening distant alps on my way to work. Posted by Kea at 07:39PM (+12:00)


Carbon Beauty IV
Monday, July 07, 2008
Recall that the genus 0 Euler structure $(V,E,F)=(24,36,14)$ had two interesting models, namely the permutohedron (truncated octahedron) and the truncated cube. Similarly, the Euler structure $(12,18,8)$ has the two models of the truncated tetrahedron and the ternary polytope with four pentagons and four squares. Is there a dual for the truncated icosahedron? Yes, in fact the truncated dodecahedron shares the Euler structure $(60,90,32)$ with its 12 10-sided faces and 20 triangles. In summary, the three pairs of polytopes have the same dual decomposition into two types of face polygon. Note also that the dodecahedron itself is a so called fullerene graph because it has 12 pentagonal faces. Recall that this Platonic trinity is but one of many trinities matching the quaternionic $(\mathbb{R},\mathbb{C},\mathbb{H})$ triple, which appeared for instance in the ribbon graph matrix theory of Mulase et al. Observe that the transformation which takes the truncated tetrahedron to the other 8 sided polytope acts on two edges of a tetrahedron via a string type duality, deforming the hexagons on either side of the edge into pentagons and the triangles into squares. This is the self dual complex number case of flat ribbon graphs. In future M Theory lessons, we will look more carefully at twisted ribbon graphs associated to $\mathbb{R}$ and $\mathbb{H}$ and other triples related to ternary geometry. As Louise Riofrio would say, M Theory can be taught in kindergarten! Posted by Kea at 06:29PM (+12:00)

Mermin Magic
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
This week's PIRSA lectures include an enjoyable talk by M. Skotiniotis on his 2007 paper about epistemic models for hidden variable versions of Spekkens' toy quantum mechanics. In particular, the Mermin-Peres magic square is introduced. This is a $3 \times 3$ square of tensor products of Pauli operators of the form $X^1$, $X^2$, $X^1 X^2$ $Y^2$, $Y^1$, $Y^1 Y^2$ $X^1 Y^2$, $X^2 Y^1$, $Z^1 Z^2$ corresponding to two qubits in three directions, which is related to the 2-direction three qubit Mermin pentagram of the form The number theoretic nature of these objects is discussed in the arxiv link. M theorists will notice the likeness of the magic square to certain mixing matrices in HEP phenomenology. Posted by Kea at 06:59PM (+12:00)


FQXi Proposal
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Well, Schreiber et al on the FQXi panel of seven judges for large grants have rejected my proposal for a postdoctoral stipend of 22000 dollars per year. Since this was expected, I have already resigned from my waitressing job and I will be moving to Wanaka at the end of the month to be closer to the mountains. When the contaminated, rotting flesh starts falling off academia, I will be far away. Posted by Kea at 08:59AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 204
Friday, July 11, 2008
An octahedron is also known as a rectified tetrahedron, where rectification is the truncation of corners from midpoints along each edge. This construction paints the faces of the octahedron in two colours, depending on whether the face arises from a tetrahedral face or an interior surface. The group of 24 symmetries of this object is isomorphic to the permutation group $S_{4}$. The 48 element quaternionic octahedral group is associated to a double cover of the genus 3 Klein curve. The special quaternion $q = i \textrm{exp}(\frac{\pi j}{4})$ is used to give the relations for this group in terms of the two generators $a$ and $b$. Kneemo pointed out that one can use this representation, along with octonions, to describe the units of the $E8$ lattice. Now let's have fun rectifying the other polytopes that arise in ternary geometry. A rectified cube has four square and four triangular faces. The dual to a cube, an octahedron, is a birectified cube. A rectified dodecahedron is a icosidodecahedron. An example in the plane turns a heptagon tiling into a tiling with heptagons and triangles. Posted by Kea at 05:48PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 205
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The only closed bipartite graph on three edges is the theta graph, with two vertices. As a flat ribbon graph, the theta graph draws the 3 punctured Riemann sphere, but there is a version with a crossing that does something different. As explained in this paper ( recommended by Lieven) any such graph embedded in a closed, oriented surface can be represented by a pair of permutations in $S_{n}$ where $n$ is the number of edges in the graph. For the theta graph, the orientation of the surface specifies different 3-cycles at each vertex, that is the two 1-circulants that are not the identity, namely $(231)$ and $(312)$. A 2-valent vertex in such a graph is associated with a 2-cycle in $S_{n}$, and so on. Notice that one can interpret the alternating vertex structure as a 2-colouring of the child's drawing, say by black and white vertices. Every edge models the interval $(0,1)$ on the Riemann sphere. Now thanks to The Circle, we have an English translation of Grothen-


dieck's classic paper, Sketch of a Program! Posted by Kea at 02:45PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 206
Monday, July 14, 2008
Carl Brannen's new post on 1-circulant and 2-circulant operators extends his previous analysis to the remainder of the fundamental fermions and their quantum numbers. He works with $6 \times 6$ circulants of the form for $(1)$ a 1-circulant and $(2)$ a 2-circulant. Just as for the $2 \times 2$ case with numerical matrix entries, we can think of $(1) \pm (2)$ as the eigenvalues of the $6 \times 6$ operator. Notice that the idempotents obtained have simple 2-circulants $(2)$ of democratic form, which means that adding or subtracting them from $(1)$ results in another 1-circulant. For example, for the $e_{R}^{+}$ quantum numbers one finds that which is a unitary 1-circulant since all entries have norm $\frac{1}{3}$. The same matrix results from $(1) + (2)$ for $\overline{\nu}_{R}$. The democratic matrix with all values equal to $\frac{1}{3}$ comes from, for instance, the $\overline{d}_{L}$ quark idempotent. Tony Smith, who likes to think of the Higgs as a top quark condensate, might like this correspondence between Higgs numbers and quark operators. Posted by Kea at 08:35PM (+12:00)

Varying Alpha
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I have been enjoying some of the talks at this week's PI conference on the variation of fundamental parameters. M. Kozlov gives a clear outline of current results, such as a single source analysis for the three basic parameters, yielding the result consistent with zero variation. In a new analysis of varying $\alpha$ using absorption lines from many quasar sources, M. Murphy et al (MNRAS 2008) conclude that there is a variation of $\frac{\Delta \alpha}{\alpha} = -0.44 \pm 0.16 \times 10^{-5}$ in disagreement with other results that are consistent with zero change. In the plot below, the black points are binned data. He gave convincing arguments that their analysis of cloud dynamics etc was careful, which is also the impression I got from reading the papers a few years ago, but the analysis is very complex, requires model fitting and the theoretical implications are always glossed over. The question I have is, since one


can only assume that a theoretical explanation of varying $\alpha$ would have wide implications across all of physics, how reliable is the molecular theory input? Murphy also briefly discussed recent varying $\mu$ (proton electron mass ratio) results, which are consistent with zero variation for a $z = 0.685$ source. Posted by Kea at 06:08PM (+12:00)

Lieven's Trinities II
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Lieven Le Bruyn explains some of the mysteries of the monster, which is associated to a Riemann surface of genus $ g = 9619255057077534236743570297163223297 687552000000001$ That's an awful lot of gluing of heptagon edges, which when halved define the ribbon graph for the surface. Lieven's construction involves our favourite modular group and its group algebra, basically all possible combinations of elements of the group. Let's start out with the much simpler M Theory group $S_{3}$, of permutations on three letters. The group algebra is the complex number combinations, such as the 1-circulants $a \cdot 1 + b \cdot (312) + c \cdot (231) $ or mixtures of 1-circulants and 2-circulants. These algebras showed up in the Hopf algebra triples associated to operad polytopes like the permutohedra and associahedra, as investigated by Loday et al. In a physics variant on Lieven's challenge: can you match these numbers to something concrete, like particle spectra and mixing parameters? I'll buy the winner a few pints of good South Island beer. Aside: The Kostant of Lisi fame has posted some interesting email correspondence on his door. It is available here. Posted by Kea at 01:11PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 207
Thursday, July 17, 2008
A Kasteleyn matrix for a bipartite graph with $n$ vertices, drawn on the integer lattice in the plane, is an $n \times n$ adjacency matrix with non zero entries corresponding to edges $E_{ij}$, given by $K_{ij} = 1$ for horizontal edges and $K_{ij} = i$ for vertical


edges. The square root of the determinant of $K$ counts the domino tilings of the checkerboard underlying the graph. An interesting paper by Stienstra includes examples of $6 \times 6$ generalised Kasteleyn matrices associated to $\mathbb{C}^{3} \backslash \mathbb{Z}_{6}$, where the row index corresponds to black vertices and the column index to white vertices, such as 1 -1 0 -1 0 0 0 1 -1 0 -1 0 -1 0 1 0 0 -1 -1 0 0 1 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 1 -1 0 0 -1 -1 0 1 which we observe is of the form (1) (2) (2) (1) using $3 \times 3$ 1-circulants. It obeys the relation $K^{2} = 2K + [(312), 2(231)]$, where the final term is the obvious simple $6 \times 6$ matrix in terms of the permutation basis. Labelling edges with general complex units allows complex units as matrix entries. This example is derived from the hexagonal graph where the opposite sides of the hexagon are glued. That is, there are really only 18 edges, which is the number of non zero entries in $K$. If we did not glue edges there would be 24 non zero entries, based on 12 non zero entries for a pair of $3 \times 3$ circulants, just like the neutrino mixing matrix. Posted by Kea at 03:20PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 208
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Now consider the $6 \times 6$ Kasteleyn matrix given by This matrix is the unique such matrix with eigenvalues $(1) + (2) = (231)$ and $(1) - (2) = (312)$, the elements of $S_{3}$. It satisfies the relation $K^{2} = K + [0,(312) - (231)]$, using the same notation as the last post. This comes close to being idempotent, but the real idempotents are of course Carl's particle operators. A graph for this $K$ looks like the tiling by hexagons and triangles, which is a rectification of the hexagonal tiling of the plane. Observe that the six edges of the top left (1) form a hexagon within this graph, as do the other circulant components. The graph can be factored into two Hamiltonian circuits of length 12. Posted by Kea at 06:05PM (+12:00)


Ninja Prof
Sunday, July 20, 2008
phdcomics Posted by Kea at 03:49PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 209
Monday, July 21, 2008
Recall that the $6 \times 6$ operator $2K$, with basic permutations as eigenvalues, is of the form for circulants $(1)$ and $(2)$. What is the eigenvector? Let $K$ act on an object $(X,Y)$. Then one can solve the eigenvalue equation for $\lambda = (231)$ to obtain provided we do arithmetic mod 7. Try it yourself. The cyclic nature of the linear equations forces the eigenvector to live in such a ring. Choosing $K$ instead, rather than $2K$, we find that the same vector is an eigenvector for the other 1-circulant, $(312)$. Posted by Kea at 08:01PM (+12:00)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Having rudely queried the secretary about whether or not there were any women on the grants panel, I wasn't expecting any reply at all from FQXi, but today I received this email:

Dear Ms. Sheppeard The makeup of the review panel is confidential. However, I can tell you (if these are the lines along which you are inquiring) that (a) FQXi is committed to diversity in many aspects including by subject, and by geographical origin, race, gender, ethnicity, and career stage of the applicant, and (b) none of these factors, or their lack of consideration, was by any plausible reading of the proceedings responsible for the negative outcome of your grant application. The panel had a lot of very tough decisions to make given the quality of the applications and the available funding. The panel was quite careful in their evaluations and ranking, and your proposal was not high-enough ranked to be funded, nor was it one of the unfunded proposals near the cutoff. Thank you again for the effort that you put into your FQXi application, and I regret that the outcome was not positive for you. Sincerely Anthony Aguirre


Associate Scientific Director Foundational Questions Institute Posted by Kea at 08:04AM (+12:00)

The Naked Emperor
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The blogosphere is abuzz with talk about this paper, by a non blacklisted physicist, entitled The Emperor's Last Clothes? The abstract begins: We are in the middle of a remarkable paradigm shift in particle physics ... I tend to agree with the paper up to this point. Unfortunately, the author seems to take a fairly traditional landscape point of view, reaching the conclusion that fundamental Standard Model parameters may not be computable for anthropic reasons. Dear me. A landscape of conservative vacua, based on the physics of a Model, is supposed to be a paradigm shift? Me thinks not. The paper discusses the historical progression of demotions of humanity's special place in the universe. Until the early 20th century people thought the solar system sat at the centre of the Milky Way and that the Milky Way was the entire universe. On the other hand, landscape anthropomorphism claims a radical rethink of God's place in the universe, without even bothering to alter the status quo classical sea of galaxy superclusters. The more logical progression would be towards a physics which rethinks humanity's place in the universe by expanding the multiverse to include different observer types, not necessarily of human scale. The proponents of the landscape bog claim that, as difficult as it is to swallow, there are no alternatives and that an admission of this 'fact' is like the innocence of a child crying that all other physicists are stupid and the emperor is naked. Posted by Kea at 11:08AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 210
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
In the last lesson we saw how the 1-circulant eigenvalues $(312)$ and $(231)$ correspond to an eigenvector in modulo 7 arithmetic. The remaining $3 \times 3$ 1-circulant is the identity operator. Observe that for the operator $K$, the identity is an eigenvalue for any vector of the form $(\pm X, \pm X, \pm X, \pm X, \pm X, \pm X)$. For the cyclic group on 7 elements there are roughly $3 \times 2^{6} + 1 = 193$ such vectors, including zero. For elements of $\mathbb{R}$, or $\mathbb{Q}$, vectors of a fixed sign sequence also form an eigenline. In general we might call such a sign sequence an eigenpath for the identity. Other phase choices for the Kasteleyn matrix $K$ clearly alter the eigenspace structure. For example, the operator sends the vector $(X,X,X,X,X,X)$ to $\textrm{cos} \theta \cdot (X,X,X,X,X,X)$. Democratic matrices, with all entries equal to $X$, may also be considered eigenvectors. Aside: The difference between 192 and some other integers is the source of a very silly


argument between Distler and Lisi. Posted by Kea at 01:38PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 211
Friday, July 25, 2008
Generalising the matrix $K$ further still by adding phases to $(2)$, one can offset the exact Koide eigenvalues for a phase $\theta = \frac{2}{9} + \frac{2 \pi n}{3}$ in the component $(1)$ by a very small phase $\delta \simeq 10^{-7}$. Note that the cyclic $\frac{2 \pi n}{3}$ factors from the Fourier transform have not yet been accounted for in the basic $6 \times 6$ eigenvalue problem, so they are included in $\theta$. The charged lepton $K$ operator eigenvalues for the democratic 6-vector then take the form $\lambda = a + b \textrm{cos} \theta + c \textrm{sin} \delta$ where the last term is considered a small electric field term. That is, by making the amplitude $c$ small, $\delta$ need not be small and one could take $\delta = \theta$. This indicates a correspondence between, on the one hand $(1)$ and magnetic fields, and on the other $(2)$ and electric fields, which holds even if the factor $(2)$ becomes a 2-circulant matrix. Electric magnetic duality then swaps the two triangles making up a basic $S_{3}$ hexagon, as previously discussed. For the cube this may be viewed as the duality of a triangle and trivalent vertex in the plane. That is, a duality for Space and Time. Posted by Kea at 02:49PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 212
Saturday, July 26, 2008
The $3 \times 3$ democratic matrix is useful in many ways. Here we see it acts as a cyclic shift operator for three 1-circulants that additively act like modular 3 arithmetic. But observe that $(2 \cdot \textrm{id})^{2} = \textrm{id}$ and, similarly, the square of $(312) + (231)$ is twice $(312) + (231)$. That is, we have the relations $A^{2} = A$ $B^{2} = 2A$ $C^{2} = \frac{1}{2} C = \textrm{id}$ $A + B + C = 0$ Exponentiating the third relation yields the multiplicative honeycomb rule $A \cdot B \cdot C = 1$. However, using ordinary matrix multiplication one obtains $ABC = 2 \cdot \textrm{id}$, so the correct normalisation factor for all four matrices is the reciprocal of the cubed root of 2, namely 1.25992. Alternatively, since 2 is really $-1$, $C^{2} = C$ and $B^{2} = - A$ and the correct normalisation is a cubed root of $-1$, that is a 6th root of unity. Posted by Kea at 08:04PM (+12:00)


Moving Up
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Tomorrow is my last day at work in Christchurch. In a few days I'll be sitting in the uncrowded outdoor spa at the base of Mt John, which is probably snow covered now, looking at this view. Tough to be poor? Not this week. Posted by Kea at 06:07PM (+12:00)

Moving Up II
Monday, July 28, 2008
Here's a photo from town. The Mackenzie basin is a very dry area of the country, with generally fine weather. Posted by Kea at 07:15PM (+12:00)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Thanks to Tommaso Dorigo for this must see link: the LHC rappers. Posted by Kea at 02:57PM (+12:00)

Origin of Species
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Two weeks ago, Theoretical Atlas brought to our attention the work of Rivasseau, the constructive field theorist. Now kneemo, in a frenzy of blogging, points out a new paper by Rivasseau et al on rewriting QFT using trees. The proposal rests on the use of combinatorial species, introduced long ago by Andre Joyal, the great category theorist. A lot of our playing with trees and funny infinite sums in M theory is about combinatorial species, although we haven't yet worried about the exact relation. A species is just a functor from the groupoid of finite sets (and bijections) to itself. Recall that this groupoid is a lot like the finite ordinals, which correspond to cardinal-


ities of sets. An example that often comes up in topos theory is the functor that sends each set to its power set, namely the set of all subsets of the set. This example illustrates the general idea of sending a collection of objects to another collection, equipped with some structure related to the original. Posted by Kea at 05:19PM (+12:00)

Moving Up III
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Update: Woke up 7am first morning in heavenly warm bed at the observatory. Shovelled 2 feet of fresh snow from doorway before throwing myself down the hill through the beautiful snow draped forest, into town. Posted by Kea at 09:11AM (+12:00)

Origin of Species II
Friday, August 01, 2008
Todd Trimble kindly made the following comment: I hope I'm not being too obnoxiously anticipatory by also remarking that the usual notion of permutative V-operad can be defined very concisely as a monoid in the monoidal category of V-species, where the monoidal product is species substitution. This is far from being obnoxious, Todd! Struggling physicists appreciate perceptive comments from knowledgeable category theorists who can see where we are trying to go with M Theory. Indeed, although we tend to talk about operads loosely as one object multicategories, the species definition comes very close to what Rivasseau et al have in mind for redefining quantum field theory. Note also that from the logos perspective (ie. M theoretic higher topos ideas) the category of finite sets (resp. vector spaces), as it sits in the topos Set (resp. Vect), plays an important role in attempting to define the generalised logic behind the simple operators that we associate to measurement algebras. The one major alteration to these structures that M theory requires, which comes up again and again in many guises, is the relaxation of the monoidal condition. This happens naturally with higher dimensional structures, as illustrated by Batanin's tower of coherence laws. For QFT, this forces a complete change of mathematical language, since too many concepts are only defined in categorical terms. Fortunately, everybody can understand simple diagrams of ribbons and trees. Aside: Post written with wireless connection from my heavenly warm room amidst the fresh snow at the observatory. Can't seem to find any old skis lying about ... Posted by Kea at 10:31AM (+12:00)


Moving Up IV
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Thanks to Noriyuki San, who is working on the MOA telescope (pictured), for getting up early enough in the afternoon to catch some sunlight here at Mt John. Posted by Kea at 04:27PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 213
Monday, August 04, 2008
As well as a $2 \times 2$ Kasteleyn matrix with $3 \times 3$ circulant elements, we can also look at a $3 \times 3$ operator with two dimensional elements, of the form This is associated to a three point Fourier transform with noncommutative coefficients described by matrices in the braid group $B_{2}$. On two strands it is only possible to create two kinds of knot: a multicrossing Hopf link, corresponding to even powers of the pseudo Pauli swap operator, or a single loop with $2n + 1$ crossings, such as the trefoil knot. Allowing only Hopf braids, so that $B = D = Y = 0$, such a $6 \times 6$ element of $B_{6}$ looks like a diagram of three ribbon strands, because $A$, $C$ and $X$ just count powers of the $q$ factor defining the group generator. In this case, the matrix acts on a 3-vector $V$ via the ordinary Fourier transform $V \mapsto (A \cdot 1 + C \cdot (231) + X \cdot (312)) V$ When $A = C = X = i = e^{\frac{2 \pi i}{4}}$ then $\sigma^{4} = 1$, so a full positive twist equals a full negative twist and the information of particle charge is lost. However, at a 12th root of unity a full positive twist is distinct from a full negative twist, which may be


represented by the 10 crossing $\sigma^{10}$. By convention, let $\sigma^{6} = \sigma^{6}$ determine the maximum number of crossings to be 6, that is three full twists. Posted by Kea at 11:28AM (+12:00)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008
FQXi rigged lottery grant winners announced here. Most of the names are well known, and not in any real need of funds. Who would have guessed. Two token women, only one of them a physicist, working on a theory that no longer agrees very well with observational data. So much for a careful analysis of the proposals. Posted by Kea at 01:53PM (+12:00)

Quote of the Month
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Regarding trinities, monsters and buckyball curves of genus 70, from John McKay at Lieven's blog: Perhaps this is where to initiate a global discussion on $M$ and Witten’s 24 dim spin manifold $W$ for which he conjectures an effective $M$ action on its free loop space. I have suggested three approaches: 1. dKP (Carroll/Kodama) reduced using Norton’s replicability definition on Grunsky (=Neumann) coefficients so that the stress energy tensor = $-mn \cdot h[ \textrm{lcm}(m,n), \textrm{gcd} (m,n)]$. 2. There are 360 cusps in $MM$ (column $C$ of Conway-Norton Monstrous Moonshine). Is there an action on the cusps and elliptic marked points of all the Riemann surfaces of genus zero? A symplectic geometry? quotient? 3. Hirzebruch’s approach using Chern classes. Once Faber polynomials can be identified, we find we have replicable fns. It is then not far to $MM$ fns. Any genuine attempts to decipher this comment are welcome. Posted by Kea at 01:56PM (+12:00)

More Moonshine
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Tony Smith has some interesting comments on Witten's 24 dimensional manifold, naturally conjuring up Leech lattices and the like. What thoughts would a categorical M theorist have about this? Firstly, 24 equals $3 \times 8$, which means we are really only looking at three dimensions over the octonions, and three categorical dimensions is already fairly tricky when it comes to 3-groups or groupoid structures. Higher dimensional manifolds are categorically messy objects, but simple (usually rational) surfaces arising from ribbon graphs and Fuchsian groups are more natural. Now the buckyball trinity involves surfaces of genus 0, 3 and 70. It seems a shame, therefore, to go hunting for surfaces of genus 24, when we


already have surfaces of genus 3, and the 24 vertices of the permutohedron ($S_{4}$) are already lurking in the shadows. This encoding of high classical dimensions down into surface structures (conformal field theory) is the beauty of moonshine. And since we look at the trinities as aspects of ternary logic, we expect to find not group actions, but 3-groups and groupoids. For example, the trinity $(E_8, E_7, E_6)$ (as for many group triples) can be viewed as a groupoid on three objects, each group corresponding to an object of the category. Aside: I start my new cafe job in half an hour. Posted by Kea at 08:05AM (+12:00)

Cool Cats
Friday, August 08, 2008
Bob Coecke (an FQXi awardee) is one of few category theorists working close to the foundations of quantum mechanics (although the numbers are increasing at an alarming rate). Today at The Cafe he provided a link to his new paper on the categorical structure of Spekkens' toy quantum mechanics, namely $\dagger$ symmetric monoidal with basis structure (just think of pictures of little boxes and ribbons, which are easy to move around). Mutually unbiased bases are central to the discussion. In particular, the paper discusses the category of finite sets and relations, in which the two element set acts as a system of observables, capable of modelling much of the behaviour of a qubit, just as in M theory. It will be interesting to extend this observation to a richer arithmetic setting. These days, similarities between sets and Hilbert spaces always invoke the notion of a field with one element, over which a set is just a vector space. And the natural groups to study in association with this field are the braid groups, especially at roots of unity. Oh wait. Gee, that's what we're using to unify particle mass triplets and mixing matrices. But Dr Mottle tells us that this is completely idiotic and cannot possibly work, so maybe we should just go outside and make snowmen. Posted by Kea at 08:36AM (+12:00)

Cool Cats II
Friday, August 08, 2008
One cannot overemphasize how cool it is to think of a two point set as an example of a system of mutually unbiased bases. Now ordinary categories are not as interesting as toposes, so we would like to extend the comparison of sets and vector spaces to generalised axioms for higher dimensional toposes. But then we had better consider multicategories as well. This is what logos theory aims to do: utilise physically important structures such as MUBs to determine a recursive series of axioms for $n$-dimensional topos like structures. Since ordinary weak


$n$ categories should appear as certain algebras, this is clearly a very difficult problem. Unfortunately, working on gravity is like throwing oneself constantly against the brick wall of major problems in mathematics, so a poor physicist just has to accept this fate. The dimension of the matrix operators that we study is the dimension $n$ of the MUB problem, which states that there are always $n + 1$ MUBs for prime power dimension. This $n$ also represents the dimensionality of the logos structure. Hence sets, or vector spaces, are two dimensional beasts, partly because the subobject classifier is specified by two elements, but more importantly because the categorical structure has two levels of arrow and the classifying square is planar. Hence the M theorist's obsession with three object groupoids and triangles and cubes and other trinities. Most 20th century mathematics is set theoretic, meaning that it only deals with one dimensional logoses. For example, a group is usually treated as a set with extra structure (multiplication, unit, associativity). But as a category a group only has one object. It is often more natural to use groupoids, such as the groupoid of directed loops in a space, with concatenation for composition. All the loops from a given point to itself form a group anyway, so in a two point space there would be two groups sitting inside the loop groupoid. Posted by Kea at 02:47PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 214
Friday, August 08, 2008
The Young operator for a tableau of $n$ boxes is an element of the group algebra for the permutation group $S_{n}$. For $S_{3}$ it is described as follows. Let $R$ be the sum of all permutations which fix the rows. Similarly, $C$ is the sum of all permutations that fix the columns, with a sign for the parity of the permutation. In each case, $Y$ is the product $RC$. It will be a multiple of a primitive idempotent for the group algebra of $S_{3}$. The normalisation factors are $\sqrt{2}$ and $\sqrt{3}$, up to $i$. Posted by Kea at 07:47PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 215
Monday, August 11, 2008
Category theory is very good at generalising the concept of topological space. Dropping the assumption that membership of a point in an open set is a two valued entity leads to the idea of a Chu space. Vaughan Pratt runs this amazing website, complete with a Chu space calculator. A space is represented by a rectangular array with rows indexing points and columns indexing dual points, called states. The entries usually come from a simple set. The basic two truth values {0,1} cover a lot of ground. For example, a topological space has points and open sets as dual points. The entries from {0,1} determine whether or not a point belongs to an open set. Using a table of 8 (= $2^{3}$) truth values, one can describe the category of groups. The category of all Chu spaces, with respect to a given


truth value set, has an interesting self dual structure. In M theory we also write down matrices with entries restricted to small sets. Moreover, the 0 and 1 appearing in the two dimensional spin operators do have an interpretation as Boolean truth values, since the category of finite sets is almost the same thing as a category of finite dimensional Hilbert spaces. Posted by Kea at 07:01PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 216
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
As explained in a nice paper by Eva Schlaepfer, the Chu construction takes a suitable (symmetric monoidal closed) category $V$ containing a truth object $K$ and constructs another category from it, which has a structure ($\ast$-autonomous) closer to applications in physics. For example, the category of finite dimensional vector spaces is of this type. The objects of the new category are cospan diagrams in $V$ of the form In the example of topological spaces, arising from the monoidal category Set, $K$ is the two point set. Usually one assumes that $V$ has pullbacks, so a cospan diagram may always be completed to form a square. If $A$ is the terminal one point set, such a pullback square would be a classifying square for the topos Set. An arrow in the new category is specified by a commuting square with target $K$ for a source span diagram $(f \otimes 1 , 1 \otimes g)$, where $(f,g): (A,B) \rightarrow (A',B')$ is a pair of arrows between the objects in $V$. The unit for $\otimes$ in the new category is $(I,K)$, where $I$ is the unit in $V$. In other words, if finite dimensional vector spaces over $\mathbb{C}$ arose in this way, the unit one dimensional space would be specified by a pair $(\bullet,\mathbb{C})$ in Set. Observe how this resembles the quantum mechanical notion of state. From the logos point of view, thinking of $\mathbb{C}$ as a truth set which is much larger than {0,1} illustrates the logical complexity of complex spaces. Posted by Kea at 10:36AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 217
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
As far as sets go, there are many cardinalities between $2 = | \{ 0,1 \} |$ and $\aleph_{1} = | \mathbb{C} |$. It is probably easier to start with 2 and work upwards, since Chu spaces for two truth values cover so much ground. Recall that a one dimensional truth valued matrix used the field with one element, called 1. This is combined with a zero in Set to form the truth set. In discrete Fourier transforms, matrices have entries in the set $\{ 1, \omega, \cdots , \omega^{n-1} \} \cup \{ 0 \}$, which has $n + 1$ elements. That is, the number of truth values is the same as the number of MUB bases for dimension $n$, at least as long as $n$ is a prime power. Perhaps there is a good reason for this, especially since one of Pratt's basic examples is the $2 \times 2$ spinor. Anyway, Fourier operators with these restric-


ted entries are a long way from requiring the whole set of complex numbers. Returning to two point spaces: the Sierpinski space has one closed point and hence three open sets, namely the empty set, the set $\{ o \}$ and the set $\{ o , c \}$. The Chu matrix should therefore be a $2 \times 3$ matrix looking like 011 001 Now the really cool thing about the Chu calculator is that we can multiply Chu matrices together and then copy and paste the results into Blogger! Multiplying two Sierpinski spaces together we get the Chu matrix 011111 000111 001011 000001 OK, so that was multiplication. Hitting the addition button instead, we get 000111111 000000111 011011011 001001001 Multiplying the $3 \times 3$ matrix $(231)$ by itself we get 000011 001100 110000 010100 100001 001010 101000 010010 000101 Now try the Pauli swap matrix yourself. Then try a few more higher dimensional 1-circulants, and see how duality swaps them amongst themselves. What fun! And, yes, it has been snowing today. Posted by Kea at 07:17PM (+12:00)


Another Kea
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I have been wondering about the identity of the NEW commenter, Kea2. It turns out that wikimedia has a cheesy photo: Posted by Kea at 10:12AM (+12:00)

Neutrinos Again VII
Friday, August 15, 2008
Recall that Carl's magic form for the experimentally verified tribimaximal mixing involves a sum of a 1-circulant and a 2-circulant. Such objects naturally live in a group algebra for the permutation group $S_{3}$. That is, let the 6 elements of $S_{3}$ (three 1-circulants and three 2-circulants) represent unit basis vectors for a six dimensional vector space, nominally $\mathbb{C}^{6}$. The tribimaximal mixing matrix for neutrinos is then expressed in the form $\frac{1}{\sqrt{3}} (e^{i \theta_{1}}) + \frac{\sqrt{2}}{\sqrt{3}} (e^{i \theta_{2}})$ where $\theta_{1} = - \theta_{2} = \frac{\pi}{4}$ are phases in two complex directions, $((231),(213))$ and $((123),(321))$. Given the simplicity of the coefficients, a restriction of the number field would be feasible here. M theorists will also recognise the dimension of twistor space. Posted by Kea at 07:51PM (+12:00)

Neutrinos Again VIII
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The vector sum of the last post, representing neutrino mixing, traces a two step path on a cube in the group algebra space for $S_{3}$. Observe that a similar picture for the CKM matrix must be higher dimensional, since the normalisation of the diagonal (to 1) can only result in an edge of amplitude $4 \times 10^{-3}$ if many edges sum to 1. Although this magic version of the neutrino mixing matrix uses different phases from the simple Fourier product, the relation to a quantum Fourier transform is still evident. The face diagonal may be decomposed into two steps of length $\frac{1}{\sqrt{3}}$, in the directions $(123) = \mathbf{1}$ and $(31)$. This tribimaximal path is then of the form


$(XY)Z$, using the categorical convention of performing $Z$ first. Recall that the six paths of this type label the vertices of an important hexagon axiom. Posted by Kea at 06:38PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 218
Friday, August 22, 2008
The Secret Blogging Seminar discusses an astonishing mathematical paper on the quantum Fourier transform and geometric quantisation, the process of canonically associating a quantum system to a classical phase space. In quantum computation, or M theory, one is used to confusing the discrete and quantum Fourier transforms, because both points and states are really just elements of a finite set and both transforms have basically the same definition. This paper focuses on the idea (due to Deligne) of a canonical (in a heavily category theoretic sense) normalisation factor for the transform. This factor is not simply $\frac{1}{\sqrt{n}}$, as commonly used by physicists concerned with unitarity, but rather a Gaussian term. For our favourite case of $n = 3$, this factor would be $\sum_{k = 0,1,2} \frac{1}{\psi (- \frac{1}{2} k^{2})}$ where $\psi$ is the character that defines the Fourier transform. That is, it naturally involves sixth roots of unity. So the Gaussian $\frac{1}{2}$ is responsible for the introduction of twice as many roots, which occurred for instance in the modular relation associated to $B_{3}$. This normalisation is also similar to the one occurring in the choice of mass scale for Koide operators, which rely on the square roots of the masses. Posted by Kea at 06:22PM (+12:00)

Fardwit of the Week
Monday, August 25, 2008
From M (a regular commenter) at NEW: I hope Rovelli knows that there is no point in insisting, as no logical argument will convince Lubos when he wants to believe something else. Debating seems as useless as rationally arguing with a female about emotionally sensible issues. (In case PC nazi-feminism really exists: this is a joke!) Yeah, right. Really funny, dude. Aside: Don't bother with the conversation between Mottle and Rovelli. It's disappointingly lame. Posted by Kea at 07:56PM (+12:00)


Strings 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Although we still await the upload of videos for the talks, most slides from Strings 2008 are available. The must see talks, related to twistor strings (and AdS/CFT, although we don't really care about that), include those by Dixon, Alday and Green. For blog coverage see Mottle, Jester and Woit. Green's slides were the most surprising. I was just about to nod off after an initial inundation of stringy mumbo jumbo, when I saw the words natural $SL(2,Z)$ generalization of Riemann zeta values. Recall that so called zeta values are usually values of the Riemann zeta function for integer arguments. In M theory, these integers are 1-ordinals in the sense of Batanin, and are associated with 1-categorical structures. Now awake, I noticed the reference to the paper by Green et al on MZVs, which I may get around to reading eventually. The appendix is written by D. Zagier! Update: Webcast here. Posted by Kea at 07:17PM (+12:00)

From Gamma
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Courtesy Fermi (previously known as GLAST) Posted by Kea at 08:44AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 219
Friday, August 29, 2008
In this old post on $E_{8}$ Carl Brannen proposes recovering the self referential nature of the algebra, or at least some deformed version of it, using a finite tower of composite states built from density operators. Such studies use ternary (eg. qutrit) as well as qubit logic. Mixtures of qubits and qutrits occur in the Kasteleyn type recursive operators. For example, starting with $4 \times 4$


Dirac matrices inserted in a $3 \times 3$ block, one allows a deformation parameter $\frac{\pi}{12}$, a 24th root of unity. Since 24 is not a prime number, it naturally factorises into $3 \times 2^{3}$, where one factor of 2 corresponds to the doubling of roots, which also occurred in the modular relation for $B_{3}$. Similarly, the dimension of $E_{8}$ factorises into $31 \times 2^{3}$, as noted by Kostant; see this post on the j invariant, speaking of which, as terms of a theta function, the $q$ expansion lists distances of vectors on a lattice. Amazingly, in dimension 24 there are exactly 24 nice lattices. One of these is a triple of $E_{8}$ lattices, and another example is the Leech lattice, which is secretly related to all the 24 dimensional lattices. Posted by Kea at 07:17PM (+12:00)

Mass Gap Revisited
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Woit points to some new talks (not online, unfortunately) about the Mass Gap problem. Apparently Witten discussed this problem from a non-Abelian Hamiltonian point of view, and nicely avoided gauge symmetries even though the term Gauge Theory appears in the title of the talk. Anyway, Carl has also been bugging me a bit about Hamiltonians. Honestly, I wish we could move beyond 19th century physics, but perhaps it is useful to think about what a Hamiltonian operator should be from a categorical viewpoint. To begin with, Vicary's paper is a must read, defining the harmonic oscillator entirely in categorical terms. Let us say that a Hamiltonian is any operator sitting in an eigenvalue equation for states associated with mass-energy. Hmmmmm. Posted by Kea at 08:20AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 220
Monday, September 01, 2008
A simple example of an adjunction between two 1-categories is a Galois connection. We are interested in the case of sets with a partial order, so there exists an arrow from $a$ to $b$ in a set $S$ whenever $a \leq b$. The natural functions (in this case functors) between such sets (here considered as categories) are monotone functions, so a Galois connection consists of two monotone functions $f: S \rightarrow T$ and $g: T \rightarrow S$ such that $f(a) \leq x$ iff $a \leq g(x)$. Observe that, at least when $g$ is onto, $fg$ is idempotent as a map from $T$ to $T$. This follows from $gfg (y) \geq g(y)$ (and $gfg (y) \leq g(y)$), which is true because the application of the one rule to $f(x) \leq f(x)$ gives $x \leq gf (x)$, and we can find a $y$ such that $x = g(y)$. Usually the sets $S$ and $T$ are quite different. Consider the original example for finite number fields. The finite field with $p^{n}$ elements, for $p$ prime, is an extension of the field with $p$ elements. Take the finite set of all fields in this large field which contain the field with $p$ elements. For any such field $K$, there is a map $K \mapsto


\textrm{Gal}(K)$ which sends $K$ to its Galois group in the large field. The dual connection map takes any subgroup $H$ of the main Galois group to all elements of the large field that are fixed by $H$. Now let $p = 3$ and $n = 3$. There are fields of 3, 9 and 27 elements that extend the field $F_{3}$. The main Galois group is all isomorphisms of the 27 element field that fix the field $F_{3}$. The dual connection map sends the trivial group inside this group to the full 27 element field, the whole Galois group to $F_{3}$ and an intermediary subgroup ( bit from trit) to the 9 element field. All this is encoded in an elementary pair of arrows between the 2 kinds of three element set. Posted by Kea at 07:00PM (+12:00)

Problem of Time I
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
It was possible to tell the precise hour of the day with the aid of a pocket sized device a very long time ago. Hipparchus, who recorded star positions from 147 to 127 BC, is said to have invented the astrolabe, a small plate with fitted dials that uses the position of the sun and stars to tell the time. This required knowledge of trigonometry, which Hipparchus also used to calculate the eccentricity of the orbits of the moon and sun, thereby forcing the Earth to be shifted from the true centre of a circular orbit for the sun. Astrolabes were used extensively in the Islamic world from the 8th century, and Abd alRahman al-Sufi listed many uses for it, from astrology to navigation and surveying. A typical astrolabe has a stereographic projection of the night sky on the base plate, and a dial marked with the main constellations, which can be turned to the setting or rising position. The outer edge of the base is marked with the hours of the day. On the reverse side of the plate is usually a rod with sights, which may be used to determine, for instance, declinations of stars (albeit not very accurately). Posted by Kea at 07:13PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 221
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Recall that a two dimensional kind of 1-operad is the little squares operad, which is like trees made of squares instead of points. Since matrices may be Chu spaces, we can also talk about the substitution of matrices into matrices as an operad of spaces. Note that the trivial case of the one dimensional number 1 acts like an operad of lattice squares, since matrices look like a square array of points. Restricting attention to matrices with entries 0


and 1 means assuming that all spaces belong to the category Chu( Set,2). In other words, a Chu space operad is like a topological space operad. However, the Chu space operations involve two different compositions, $+$ and $*$. For initial Chu spaces with $(p_1, s_1)$ and $(p_2, s_2)$ points and states, the new Chu space will have $(p,s) = (p_1,s_1) + (p_2,s_2) = (p_1 + p_2, s_1 * s_2)$ and indeed the calculator tells us that the 0 for addition is the space $(0,1)$. For trees, these operations can be interpreted as in the graftings That is, in representing the initial spaces by 1-ordinal trees $p_i$ and $s_i$, the new Chu space is easily represented by a pair of 2-ordinal trees, where the number of leaves gives the final number of points and states. Compound additions of Chu spaces then result in higher dimensional ordinal trees. This is very different to the creation of associahedra, which are all labelled by 1-ordinal trees. However, selecting a sequence of Chu spaces with $0,1,2, \cdots$ points, say $\{ C_{p} \}$, results in well defined spaces $C_{\sum n_i} \equiv C_{n_1} + C_{n_2} + \cdots + C_{n_k}$ What is an interesting such sequence? We could choose the quantum Fourier basis 1-circulant sequence, beginning with the Pauli swap matrix and then the $3 \times 3$ matrix $(231)$, interpreted as Set like Chu spaces! Then as the number of states is chosen to equal $p$, the space $C_{\sum n_i}$ will have $s = \prod n_i$ states. Restriction to a prime number of points, as in the MUB problem, results only in spaces with states given by prime factorisations for the integers. Posted by Kea at 09:13AM (+12:00)

Banks on Holography
Friday, September 05, 2008
Carl, Louise ... and everybody else ... you simply must see T. Banks' outstanding talk at the current PI Multiverse conference. He outlines a relatively mainstream, but completely original, analysis of holography using basic quantum mechanics and general relativity. An FRW type cosmology is obtained from a dense black hole fluid which satisfies causality (causal diamond) constraints arising from finite dimensional holographic pixel Hamiltonians on a lattice, which in turn are analysed in terms of noncommutative function algebras inspired by matrix models and M theory. Their main model considers a physical region of a dilute black hole gas, arising from a large fluctuation of the maximal entropy stable fluid. He is inclined (but reluctant in the end) to give up inflation altogether, because the model generates homogeneity and isotropy without it. Banks also points out that many field theory prejudices regarding the nature of an emergent geometry from fluctuating classical spacetimes simply cannot be correct from this point of view, which advocates a large $N$ (matrix size) limit construction from towers of causal diamonds of increasing cosmic time, for each observer.


Of course Banks prefers Dark Energy to a varying speed of light, and this leads to some criticism of the landscape on the grounds that it cannot reproduce universes of this kind, with suitable values for $\Lambda$. On the other hand, he recognises the need for a richer mathematical discussion of the quantum operators (his Hamiltonians are only supposed to be a simple solution to the constraints). Posted by Kea at 12:30PM (+12:00)

Problem of Time II
Monday, September 08, 2008
As indicated by the outside of an astrolabe disc, whether in hours or months, time divisions are defined in terms of periodic motions in the heavens. Time lies on a discrete circle before a continuous one, since measurement never resolves the intervals indefinitely. Yet even before astrolabes, and modern science, Zeno proposed the riddle of Achilles and the tortoise, relying not on a continuous time, but on the assumption of an infinitely divisible space. Why should space appear infinitely divisible when time does not? Of course, for the purposes of 19th century physics, the continuum is a useful construction, but now one expects this classical geometry to emerge (ie. be derived) from a collective of the large scale observations of like observers, such as ourselves. If so, where does the notion of scale originate? To begin with, we are now used to the correspondence between cosmic time and cosmic scale in an expanding cosmology, so we can ask instead: from where does our notion of cosmic time originate? We immediately observe that an estimate of cosmic time is something that, as sensible observers, we are largely in agreement upon. What does it mean to view this kind of time on a discrete circle? We are not talking about cyclic universes, or any construction that proposes structure outside what we can possibly observe. So discrete cosmic time is a concept of quantization on cosmic scales. This sounds a bit like the old style Bohr correspondence, which after all had a good phenomenological basis. Now let us not assume that this cosmic time is universal for all observers. Then its range of values is analogous to the quantized energy levels of a hydrogen atom. Posted by Kea at 08:22AM (+12:00)

Time at the LHC
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
As Tommaso Dorigo and many others have already pointed out, the official start date for the LHC is tomorrow! Unfortunately, it is therefore obligatory for theorists to make predictions today. So far these have mostly been along the lines of there will definitely be supersymmetry which isn't really a prediction at all, since it doesn't specify measurable parameters which have meaning for experimentalists. According to Woit, the predictions of Veltman include no fairy field and the realisation that string theory is mumbo jumbo.


Can we do any better? Tony Smith's composite Higgs is a possibility, but many approaches would lay claim to it. Is there something distinctive that might arise from a more Galoisian gravity? What truly new $p = 5$ process might we observe? The first possible experiment along these lines that came to my mind has nothing to do with the LHC. The difficulty is in imagining a material that could create a field quite unlike the usual suspects. A high temperature ceramic superconductor is one possibility. Having eliminated magnetic fields, one could look for Stern-Gerlach type pentuplet splittings of monoenergetic electron (or muon) beams. I predict that the surprises (besides a lack of fairy field and sparticles) will mostly come in the analysis of multijet processes, where QCD predictions fail spectacularly. If I wasn't such a scatter brain, I would still be working on operad combinatorics for QCD. Posted by Kea at 06:35PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 222
Thursday, September 11, 2008
A useful notion in categorical Galois theory is the idea of precategory. This is a collection of objects $O$ and morphisms $A$ (ie. a graph) together with source and target maps ($s$ and $t$) and suitable maps $m$ and $e$ expressing composition and identities. But in a category we can define an internal precategory using the pullback diagram where certain pieces through $O$ commute. That is, the lower and right hand triangles express the fact that taking a source or target of an identity arrow defines the identity on objects. The equation $s m = s p_1$ says that taking the source of a composition is the same as taking the source of the first arrow in the pair. Similarly, taking the target of the second arrow is the same as taking the target of the pair. The pullback square expresses the fact that one can only compose arrows when the target of the first matches the source of the second. Observe that not all pieces of the diagram commute. For example, it is not true that $sm = tm$, unless the composition forms a loop. But this is always true for a one object category, such as a group, in which case one is permitted to draw in an arrow $1_{A}$ diagonally across the pullback square, and then basically everything commutes. Posted by Kea at 07:11PM (+12:00)

Operads in 2d
Friday, September 12, 2008
Schreiber, well known for saying he doesn't like operads, has now found considerable enthusiasm for them (in 2d). What will happen to string theory now? Of course, great mathematicians like Manin have been thinking about such two dimensional structures for many years. Now Manin may not care much about physics, but some of his collaborators are most definitely in the Connes camp, far from endorsing the naive predictions of string theory. So what gives? We live in interesting times. Posted by Kea at 09:43AM (+12:00)


Monday, September 15, 2008
I have been busy working. Some customers today saw one of these naughty critters (nightmare pests in NZ) run by the cafe. They are extremely common, but one doesn't often see them this far from the forest. Plenty of rabbits. That is, another pest. In fact all mammals are pests in NZ, with the exception of a small native bat. No, I'm not exempting humans. Posted by Kea at 07:46PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 223
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Recall that internal precategories in Set are formed from three sets, say $C_0$, $C_1$ and $C_2$. Now imagine these are any distinct (finite) sets. Since elements of sets are sets, one can form a three element set $\{ C_0, C_1, C_2 \}$, which is isomorphic to any three element set. This set is obtained by taking unions of the component sets, and the six ways of doing this are the paths on the parity cube. In categorical terms, this cube is canonically given by colimits ( pushouts) on the three initial directions in space. In other words, the permutations of three letters exist for free in the topos Set. In M Theory, it is convenient to view all groups and groupoids as derived structures. In order to specify the maps (group operations) between paths on the cube, one must fill in the squares with higher dimensional cells, but these don't live in the one dimensional Set. As a Chu space, a permutation on three letters should be a map $3 \times 3 \rightarrow \Omega$ into the two point set of Boolean truth values. For example, the circulant $(231)$ sends the Cartesian product elements $(C_0,C_1)$, $(C_1,C_2)$ and $(C_2,C_0)$ to the value 1 and all other pairs to the value 0. Similarly, the identity $(123)$ labels $(C_0,C_0)$, $(C_1,C_1)$ and $(C_2,C_2)$ as true. In a topos, one automatically pulls back such arrows along the arrow true $1 \rightarrow \Omega$. Since the pullback arrow into 1 is unique, this square is described by the arrow into $3 \times 3$. For the identity $(123)$, this is naturally the diagonal map $\Delta: x \mapsto (x,x)$ into $3 \times 3$. Thus the permutations generalise the diagonal map by selecting different arrows. Posted by Kea at 06:37PM (+12:00)


Friday, September 19, 2008
After two days relaxing in Wanaka (with hot pools, venison, beer, cake and pizza) I ended my little holiday by finishing all 30 levels of this very entertaining cube game, for which I was awarded, via electronic certificate, the degree of Master of Spatial Logics. It gets tricky around level 23. Posted by Kea at 08:31PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 224
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Without worrying about drawing all paths through the graph defining a small category, we can start to discuss the Yoneda lemma, the first fundamental theorem of category theory. A diagram (such as the cube) internal to a category C (such as Set) may be thought of as a functor from the small category formed from the diagram, which embeds the diagram in the category C. We will call this functor $F$. That is, instead of a vertex labelled $C_i$, we imagine that $C_i = F(A_i)$ where $A_i$ labels an object on the diagram. Now consider a second functor $H$ from the diagram into the category C, defined as follows for the cube in Set. The object $H(C_i)$ is the set of all paths from $C_i$ into the target of the cube. The number of elements is defined by the numbers on the diagram where 0 includes the empty path from the target to itself. For $t$ the target, a category theorist would call such a (actually contravariant) functor Hom$(-,t)$, where the dash stands for the argument and Hom is short for homomorphism. Observe that the target object on the new cube is the one element set. The correct way to introduce two dimensional structures to categories is to describe natural transformations between functors. Such a 2-arrow $\eta: H \Rightarrow F$ is described by a whole family of commuting squares made using arrows $\eta_{X}: H(X) \rightarrow F(X)$ for any object $X$. So what are these $\eta_{X}$ for the functors in question? Since $H(t)$ is the one element set, $\eta_{t}$ picks out an element of the original target set $F(t)$, such as the set $C_0 \cup C_1 \cup C_2$ of the last lesson. In fact, the Yoneda lemma tells us that the set of all possible natural transformations $\eta$ is isomorphic to the set $F(t)$. Here $\eta$ sends a basic projection (of a square onto a 1-arrow) onto a representative of the projection in the 1-arrow of the cube. The message is that the higher dimensional arrows can deconstruct higher dimensional spaces into simple one dimensional paths, much as in the case of space filling curves for complicated geometries based on the real or complex numbers. Posted by Kea at 01:00PM (+12:00)


M Theory Lesson 225
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
In lesson 173 we came across the ternary quandle rules: $X \circ Y = Z$ $Y \circ Z = X$ $Z \circ X = Y$ In the world of MUBs, a useful representation of these rules is with the Pauli matrices: Ignoring factors of 2, the operators $i \sigma_X$, $i \sigma_Y$ and $i \sigma_Z$ obey the quandle rules when multiplication is the Lie bracket. Up to phase, the eigenvectors form a set of three MUB bases for a two dimensional space. One usually uses complex numbers, because the fourth root of unity is essential in defining the full set. However, ignoring normalisation, all matrix entries ( truth values) belong to the finite set $\{ 0, \pm 1, \pm i \}$. Moreover, the unnormalised eigenvectors all have eigenvalues $\pm 1$, just like the basis Fourier operator $\sigma_X$. Observe that quandles naturally associate the braid group $B_3$ with two dimensional MUBs, rather than three. It was also more natural in the zeta value algebras to let $B_n$ correspond to $d = n - 1$. This is another way of seeing why mass is not naturally described by only three stranded diagrams. Now let us view the Jacobi rule on a Lie algebra as a little computer program. The program initialises a variable $\alpha$ to zero. It then takes an input $v = (X,Y,Z)$ and performs the following operations: 1. take the (right bracketed) triple product $m(X,Y,Z)$ (Lie bracket), 2. add $m$ to $\alpha$, 3. shift $v$ so that $(X,Y,Z) \mapsto (Y,Z,X)$, 4. output $v$ and $\alpha$. Now three iterations of this program returns $\alpha = 0$ again. Did we really need complex numbers or Lie algebras here? We have already seen how sixth roots of unity, in three dimensions, are enough to see modular structure, since six equals two times three. In that case, the addition of 0 gives seven possible matrix entries, and there are four MUBs. Posted by Kea at 06:26PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 226
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Returning to the regular theme of constructing n-categories out of prime building blocks, note that the first three finite fields to appear as truth values for Fourier type spaces of dimension $p$ (prime) are the primes $2p + 1$, namely 5, 7 and 11. These primes have already turned up in a number of places, most notably in the buckyball trinity. What primes are of the form $2p + 1$ for $p$ prime? This is not an arithmetic progression, because the sequence of primes $p$ is not the ordinals. For the next prime, namely 7, we find that $2p + 1$ is not prime. Similarly, $2p + 1$ is not prime for $p = 13$, 17 or


19. The first five primes that work give values for $2p + 2$ of 6, 8, 12, 24 and 48. Since all primes $p > 3$ are of the form $6n \pm 1$, for $2p + 1$ to be prime we require at least that $p = 3n$, which cannot be true for a prime, or $p = 3n - 1$ for some $n$. For example, $23 = 3 \times 8 - 1$ and $11 = 3 \times 4 - 1$. So now we are actually interested in primes in the arithmetic progression $3m + 2$. In this case, Dirichlet's theorem tells us that there are infinitely many such primes. Note that $m$ must always be odd, but when do these larger $m$ correspond to primes $2p + 1 = 6m + 5$? Again, by Dirichlet's theorem, there are infinitely many primes in this sequence. With the handy table, one can quickly find more $p$ such that the truth values in dimension $p$ form a finite field of $2p + 1$ elements. Posted by Kea at 04:26PM (+12:00)

The Dark Side IV
Thursday, September 25, 2008
If you thought the Dark Force had thrown enough mysteries into standard cosmology, think again! Now there is a Dark Flow, seen as a remarkable motion of 700 galaxy clusters over a scale of 6 billion light years, as indicated by WMAP data. It appears that $\Lambda$CDM, as valiantly as it has tried to keep up with developments, may finally bite the dust. The motion is being touted as a gravitational pull from matter beyond our horizon. Enough of this rubbish. Hat tip: Mottle. See the NASA news. And here is Louise's post. Posted by Kea at 09:43AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 227
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Recall that the two dimensional Fourier operator diagonalises a circulant via conjugation. For the Pauli matrices, again ignoring factors of 2, we have so the Fourier operator cycles between the mutually unbiased bases for the two dimensional space. This shows how the non-zero entries of $\sigma_{Z}$ really are identified with the spin eigenvalues of the Fourier generator $\sigma_{X}$. Observe also how these Fourier maps $\sigma_{X} \rightarrow \sigma_{Z} \rightarrow \sigma_{Y} \rightarrow \sigma_{X}$ cycle through the three directions of the trefoil knot quandle. In other words, this quantum action acts on the embedding space for a trefoil by interchanging the knot crossings. If these crossings are drawn on the squares of an associahedron Riemann sphere, then the action cycles the points $0$, $1$ and $\infty$. Posted by Kea at 03:02PM (+12:00)


M Theory Lesson 228
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Observe that in any dimension, the diagonal Fourier operator $D$ that generalises $\sigma_{Z}$ will have the elementary basis vectors as eigenvectors. Similarly, the basic 1-circulant $(23 \cdots n 1)$ provides a basis set that is complementary to the basis set for $D$. An example of a set of vectors complementary to the $D$ basis in three dimensions is the set $(\omega^{2}, \omega^{2}, 1)$, $(1, \omega^{2}, \omega^{2})$ and $(1, \omega, 1)$, which are the eigenvectors for the operator As with the truncated braid algebras constructed from permutations and diagonals, this equals $D \cdot (231)$. So we see that the quantum Fourier transform is very closely related to complementary basis sets. Posted by Kea at 09:01PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 229
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Using the three dimensional Fourier operator $F$, and a generator $M_{1}$ on which it acts, one obtains the cycle of four MUB operators satisfying $F^{\dagger} M_{1} F = M_{2}$ $F^{\dagger} M_{2} F = M_{3}$ $F^{\dagger} M_{3} F = M_{4}$ $F^{\dagger} M_{4} F = M_{1}$ where factors of 3 and $\sqrt{3}$ are ignored as usual (this is no worse than the habit of insisting that $c = 1$ all the time). Observe how the set of four matrices naturally factors into two sets of two, just like the number 4. For example, $M_{3}$ and $M_{4}$ are related by a simple two dimensional map. If we divide all entries by $\omega$, this component of $M_{i}$ is just $\sigma_{Z}$. Posted by Kea at 08:35PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 230
Thursday, October 02, 2008
The four sets of eigenvectors associated to the matrices $M_{i}$ are $B_{1}: (\omega^{2}, \omega^{2}, 1),(1, \omega^{2}, \omega^{2}),(1, \omega, 1)$ $B_{2}: (\omega, \omega, 1),(1, \omega, \omega),(1, \omega^{2}, 1)$ $B_{3}: (1,1,\omega),(\omega,1,1),(\omega^{2}, 1, \omega^{2})$ $B_{4}: (1,1,\omega^{2}),(\omega^{2},1,1),(\omega,1,\omega)$ Observe that the duality maps $B_{1} \rightarrow B_{2}$ and $B_{3} \rightarrow B_{4}$ are simply given by complex conjugation on the eigenvector entries. The 12 vector points lie in a projective space in three (complex) dimensions, just as the 6 points of the two di-


mensional MUBs lie on a Bloch sphere. Points in twistor space $\mathbb{CP}^{3}$ naturally appear with MUBs in dimension four. The general connection between the Fourier transform for finite fields and MUBs is explained in papers by Planat et al. In M theory, we will view the character maps from Galois groups into the complex numbers as pieces of functors into the infinite dimensional categories where the complex numbers rightfully belong. Posted by Kea at 01:36PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 231
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Let us relabel the $M_{i}$ as $X$, $Y$, $Z$ and $T$. Then the analogue of the quandle relations for the binary Lie bracket in the Pauli case are the cyclic ternary relations $X = ZYTZ$ $Y = TZXT$ $Z = XTYX$ $T = YXZY$ which are easily verified by multiplying out the matrices. Note also how the two dual pairs yield the quantum plane relations $YX = \omega XY = \omega (312)$ $TZ = \omega ZT = \omega (231)$ There are also other relations of this type. So the Lie bracket is not the natural structure to study for three dimensional quantum information. Posted by Kea at 06:24PM (+13:00)

Machian Gravity
Friday, October 03, 2008
There are a number of interesting talks at Perimeter this week, including one talk by Julian Barbour on Machian gravity. In a strictly classical analysis, Barbour derives GR, and then SR, from a Machian geodesic principle applied to a shape space of particle configurations, in which Time is merely emergent. Carl will just love the long discussion about action principles and square roots, as well as the introductory remark that GR, as usually practiced, is fundamentally flawed for its treatment of Time. Barbour concluded the talk by offering fqxi funding for research on Machian quantum gravity. Of course I immediately emailed him to apply for the funding. See also the talks by Abramsky and Penrose. Abramsky managed to introduce Category Theory in a very sneaky fashion, after a 20 minute introduction. Posted by Kea at 12:20PM (+13:00)


Dialogue of the Week
Friday, October 03, 2008
On the difficulties of shopping for a mostly male audience, from Female Science Professor: FSP: Well, I'm going to a dinner for some distinguished scientists and I'll be giving a speech, so I'm trying to find something professional yet comfortable but not too businesslike. Saleswoman: Is it like what you'd wear to a wedding? FSP: No. Saleswoman: A funeral? FSP: Maybe. Posted by Kea at 02:01PM (+13:00)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Congratulations to Yoichiro Nambu, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa (the K and M of CKM) for winning this year's Nobel prize for their work on broken symmetries! Posted by Kea at 08:56AM (+13:00)

CKM Rules
Thursday, October 09, 2008
In a timely manner, Carl Brannen has posted his latest analysis of the CKM matrix for quarks. In the spirit of simplicity, the experimental matrix is given as a sum of a 1-circulant and 2-circulant, using only 6 real numbers. The 1-circulant is the real part and the 2circulant the imaginary part. It is very precise, forming a new set of predictions for post standard model physics. The plethora of recent blogposts on CKM has provided us with a goldmine of interesting links. For example, one historical paper mentioned here is a result [1] by Cecilia Jarlskog, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Neutrino08. One considers two $3 \times 3$ mass matrices $M_1$ and $M_2$, for $(u,c,t)$ and $(d,s,b)$. If $U_1$ (resp. $U_2$) diagonalises $M_1$ (resp. $M_2$) then one expects the CKM matrix to be of the form $V = U_1 U_{2}^{\dagger}$. If $M_1$ and $M_2$ are pure circulants, the same Fourier operator will diagonalise both, leading to the result $V = I$. So, as Carl has shown, the asymmetry between the quarks is what leads to CP violation and the CKM values. [1] C. Jarlskog, Phys. Rev. Lett. 55 (1985) 1039 Posted by Kea at 08:38AM (+13:00)


CKM Rules II
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Recall that the tribimaximal mixing matrix (ie. the MNS) is expressed in the form $F_{3}F_{2}$ for two Fourier operators, where $F_3$ naturally diagonalises $3 \times 3$ 1-circulants and the two dimensional operator $F_{2}$ acts on the democratic matrix and other special circulants to reduce the circulant to two dimensions. A similar 2-circulant yields the element $B - A$ in the $C_{33}$ entry. Note that the approximate CKM sum of two such 1-circulants also gives a reduced matrix, by linearity. Only CP violation and the 2-circulant contribution keeps the quark mixing solidly in three dimensions. Observe that if 2 is really -1, then the reduced matrix is of the form $\sigma_{Z} + i \sigma_{X}$, a Pauli q-number. So MUB algebras really do suggest the use of modular arithmetic. Update: I should also mention that there is a factor of $\frac{2}{3}$ missing here; the 3 from the Fourier normalisation. Posted by Kea at 09:22AM (+13:00)

An Evening Out
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I would have continued musing over the CKM matrix this evening, but instead I wandered down through the pine forest in a cool southerly breeze to meet some locals for a few nibbles and wine at a lovely function put on by the friendly people at Air Safaris. Oh, and they also took us on a long flight. From the airport on ancient glacial deposits near town, Tim flew the 15 seater Nomad up the Godley valley and then about the high summits and glaciers of the Southern Alps. The thick fresh snow glistened in the evening sun and the air was clear, even down the Fox glacier to the West Coast. Ah, it's tough living in the country. Posted by Kea at 09:26PM (+13:00)

Beautiful Sol
Friday, October 10, 2008
I cannot resist posting this beautiful image from NASA, courtesy of Space Weather: Posted by Kea at 10:58AM (+13:00)


Friday, October 10, 2008
Using Carl's values for the CKM circulant sum $X + iY$, the Fourier transform gives the sum of a diagonal and codiagonal matrix, which on rearranging rows and columns roughly equals Observe that the norm of $(-0.9643,0.2614)$ is about 1. This reduces the CKM matrix to even fewer parameters. Note also that the $2 \times 2$ section takes the form $aI + ib \sigma_{Y} + ic \sigma_{X} + id \sigma_{Z}$ which is a quaternion, close to norm 1. Thus the CKM matrix is expressed as a number $(\alpha, \beta)$, for $\alpha$ a quaternion of norm 1 and $\beta$ a complex number of norm 1. So the transformed matrix is just an element of $SU(2) \times U(1)$. The difference of the $SU(2)$ group factor from an element of the Lie algebra is the value $a = 0.9778$. In fact, the result of the last post shows that this element of the algebra is defined by a transformation $g = F_{3}^{\dagger} (X + iY) F_{3} + \gamma F_{2}^{\dagger}F_{2}$ where $\gamma$ is a positive real related to $a$. Aside: Numbers of the form $(\alpha, \beta)$ naturally appear in Connes' noncommutative formulation of the standard model. We expect these parameters to arise from the inclusion of the octonion degrees of freedom. Posted by Kea at 01:23PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 232
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Recall that the cyclic quandle rules for the three Pauli MUBs are associated to the trefoil knot, where each generator $\sigma_{i}$ labels an arc of the knot diagram. The braiding uses the quandle rule $(XY)X=ZX=Y$. For the four MUBs of dimension three, there is a unique knot of four crossings, namely the figure 8 knot. The minimal braid representation of this knot is a $(231) = (312)^{2}$ braid on three strands, familiar to M theorists as a basic ribbon diagram with two distinct crossings for each factor of $(312)$. Four crossings in total means four arcs labelled by MUBs. A braid type relation appears in an analogue of the Pauli quandle rules via, for instance, $XYX = (ZYTZ)YX = ZYT(XTYX)YX$ but we will not bother multiplying out Lie brackets, because they are not particularly interesting. Posted by Kea at 07:30PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 233
Monday, October 13, 2008
Observe that the four MUBs chosen in lesson 229, when considered as complex matrices, are unitary and of determinant 1. That is, they are elements of $SU(3)$. They are also traceless. Similarly, the Pauli MUBs generate $SU(2)$. In fact, in any dimension we can write the determinant as a product $\prod \omega^{i}$ of eigenvalues which are roots of unity. In even dimensions this includes -1 as a root of unity, but in odd dimensions the complex roots pair to give 1. The factor of $i$ in the Pauli algebra fixes the sign, so that $SU(2)$ is actually generated. The tower of $SU(N)$ Lie algebras is a popular thing to study, but here we see that MUBs may be an even more interesting tower associated to particle spin. Already in dimension three, the full algebra is not generated by a set of only $N+1 = 4$ MUB operators. Looking at the Gell-Mann matrices, we see that they are Hermitian, whereas the MUB matrices are not. However, observe that the conjugate transpose of each MUB element belongs to a dual set of four matrices, with $\omega$ and $\overline{\omega}$ interchanged. The Pauli matrices were self dual because they are Hermitian. This is the self duality of the two dimensional complex numbers in the ribbon graph trinity of Mulase et al. The more general behaviour (and interchange) of the reals and quaternions was called T duality. Posted by Kea at 09:07PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 234
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Now let us try to picture how the trefoil and other knots correspond to the cyclic MUB relations, which are quandle relations in the case of the trefoil. First, mark each arc segment of the knot with a suitable symbol. Starting with the Pauli trefoil, the overcrossing marked $X$ reads as the composition $Y \circ Z$. For the 3d MUBs, note that the first knot in the braid group $B_{4}$ is the 6 crossing $6_{1}$ knot. One can mark the 6 arcs of this knot with elements of the relations, but this only covers two relations at a time. In this case, we have used $Z^{2} = \omega X$ and $Z^{3} = 1$. A similar diagram describes the variables $Y$ and $T$. The 3d MUB relations do not fit as quandle rules on the figure 8 knot, which belongs to $B_{3}$. Note that $\omega$ times the identity matrix is the same as $(YT)^{-1}$, which is another way of saying that $Z^{-1} X Z^{-1} = YT$. Posted by Kea at 09:44PM (+13:00)

Quick Update
Monday, October 20, 2008
Alas, busy days at the cafe make for boring blogging. But today was pleasantly quiet at work, with time for coffee and a chat with a visiting English professor. And I assured everybody that the 90 km/hr wind was merely a light spring breeze. Posted by Kea at 07:24PM (+13:00)

Quick Update II
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Well, I'm working hard these days. Carl and I have almost finished a paper, which I think we can discuss after it is submitted (unless Carl can't help himself). Unbelievably, I actually forgot to go to the hot pools this morning. Job prospects seem to be looking up, too. More on that later. Let's just say that it could be difficult to maintain the semblance of crackpotism for much longer. Posted by Kea at 05:43PM (+13:00)

CKM Rules IV
Friday, October 24, 2008
Let's consider how the double Fourier transform acts on CKM type operators. Since the three dimensional operator $F_{3}$ cycles the 3d MUBs, and these operators (along with their 2-circulant duals) may be used to form a basis for a $3 \times 3$ matrix $A$, then it follows that $F^{4}$ (the fourth iteration of the transform) is the identity. This is made explicit by the following.


Observe that This 2-circulant transformation acts on a general $3 \times 3$ matrix $A$ to give and we see that the quadruple transform returns the matrix $A$. For the measured CKM values, the triple transform must therefore return the inverse of the $SU(2) \times U(1)$ form of the matrix. Now the two dimensional operator $F_{2}$, which forms the other component of the neutrino mixing matrix, acts on the Pauli basis for $SU(2)$ to simply cycle the three basis operators. Therefore, the triple application of the MNS transform $(F_{3}F_{2})$ to the CKM matrix yields an inverse also. It follows that $U T^{3} = T^{3} C$ where $U$ is the CKM group element, $C$ the CKM matrix, and $T$ is the tribimaximal mixing matrix $T = F_{3}F_{2}$. Thus $T$ is a very special operator that acts this way for any (magic) unitary matrix. Posted by Kea at 11:55AM (+13:00)

The MUB Tower
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Given the collection of Fourier transforms $\{ F_{N} \}$ in all classical dimensions $N$, we note that they behave as $(N+1)$ roots of unity! Instead of the point $\omega$ on the complex plane, we put the Pauli MUB $F_{2}$ which cubes to unity. Since all $F_{N}$ satisfy $F_{N}^{N+1} = 1$, the unit matrices all live over the point 1 in the plane. In fact, there are $\mathbb{N}$ Fourier points over every rational point on the circle. Over the point $\omega$, for example, we can include all $F_{N}^{i}$ such that $\frac{N+1}{i} = 3$. As any homotopy theorist knows, infinite covers of a circle are like (positive) real numbers. Only the numbers of the MUB Tower are q-numbers, which don't necessarily commute. All these numbers act on MUB operators to cycle them. This is a canonical way of turning the ordinals $\mathbb{N}$ (set cardinality) into a sequence of dimensions (vector space cardinality). The MUB Tower therefore naturally lives in the arithmetic of a quantum topos. We could try building a Hamiltonian from it. Hmmm. Now where have we heard that before? Posted by Kea at 07:40AM (+13:00)

Sunday, October 26, 2008
I don't watch sitcoms on TV, but I have to say thanks to Lubos for one of the funniest, absolutely hilarious, snippets from Big Bang theory (forgetting the stereotypes for a moment). See the bottom of the post. Posted by Kea at 07:54AM (+13:00)


Quick Update III
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I went down to the hot pools for the first time in a while this morning. There was a cool sou'west breeze and a little high cloud to block out the dangerous sun. Meanwhile, I seem to be applying for a work permit overseas. Who knows what will happen next? Posted by Kea at 11:56AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 235
Friday, October 31, 2008
Once we have selected two different bases in the vector space $\mathbb{C}^{n}$, there is a discrete Fourier transform map between them, represented by an $n \times n$ matrix. For example, when $n = 3$, the Fourier arrows form a triangle. In general, they form an $n$- simplex. Recall that a simplicial set is a functor from the collection of ordinals $N$, where each $N$ is drawn as an $N+1$-simplex, into the category Set. In other words, the functor first picks out $n$ sets to put at the vertices of each $n$-simplex, for all $n$. We would like to replace the ordinals by MUB simplices. This is natural, because at a fixed $n$ the vertices are labelled by q-numbers of dimension $n$. For example, the MUB triangle of $2 \times 2$ Pauli operators replaces the set $\{ 0,1,2 \}$ of the classical ordinal 2. This construction uses numbers belonging to finite dimensional vector spaces, rather than sets. But in M Theory it is OK to think of the category of vector spaces as a quantum analogue of Set, and in quantum physics, why would we wish to calculate using classical numbers? Posted by Kea at 02:42PM (+13:00)

Go Tumbling Down
Friday, October 31, 2008
This is the image brought to my mind by today's arxiv news. Unfortunately, I expect this to generate an ocean of sparticly papers, and only on their rotting pulp will the cards finally fall. Update: Here is Tommaso's informed post on the subject, and here is Carl's. Posted by Kea at 05:03PM (+13:00)


Faster Than Light
Saturday, November 01, 2008
BackReaction has a post on special relativity which includes a nice $2 \times 2$ circulant matrix $\Lambda = (\gamma , - \gamma \beta )$, where $\gamma$ and $\beta$ are what you think they are. Let's see how relativity likes playing with numbers. First observe that since the eigenvalues of a 2d circulant $(A,B)$ are always $A \pm B$, the eigenvalues of $\Lambda$ are given by $\lambda \in \{ \frac{\sqrt{1 - v/c}}{\sqrt{1 + v/c}} , \frac{\sqrt{1 + v/c}}{\sqrt{1 - v/c}} \}$ and $\lambda \rightarrow 1$ as $c \rightarrow \infty$. Alternatively, we could have simplified $\lambda$ to $\lambda = \frac{1 \pm v/c}{\sqrt{1 - (v/c)^{2}}}$ Now for $v/c = \sqrt{3}$, which is the speed of an observed preon, the two expressions for the eigenvalues lead to the basic numerical identity $\sqrt{2} = (\sqrt{3} - 1) \cdot (\frac{\sqrt{3} + 1}{\sqrt{3} - 1})^{1/2} = ((\sqrt{3} + 1)(\sqrt{3} - 1))^{1/2}$ which is easily verified, even on my lousy calculator. This expression for $\sqrt{2}$ just amounts to the difference of squares $3 - 1$, but it's cute. Note also that the same expression applies for any pair $(n, n+1)$ of finite ordinals. That is, all square roots $\sqrt{n}$ are simply expressible in terms of $\sqrt{n + 1}$. For the ordinal $3$, or any $n$ such that $n+1$ is a square, it turns out to be a tautology, because $2 = \sqrt{4}$ trivialises the expression. Posted by Kea at 09:42AM (+13:00)

Talk of the Week
Sunday, November 02, 2008
From PIRSA, a talk by Glenn Starkman with the title If the CMB is right, it is inconsistent with standard inflationary Lambda CDM. I am sure that Louise Riofrio will enjoy the long discussion about the angular 2 point correlation function. Posted by Kea at 05:48PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 236
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
On any diagonal matrix of (square root) mass eigenvalues, one instance of the squared Fourier transform acts as a simple permutation, and so clearly the fourth power of the transform is the identity. In other words, the discrete Fourier transform is like a square root of a basic 2-cycle or Pauli operator $\sigma_{X}$. The other choices for $F$ involve braiding elements. What would a square root of a braid crossing look like? Geometrically, considering the element of $B_{2}$ as a map between bars with two points, the square root is, instead of a rotation of $\pi$ for the bar, a rotation of $\pi/2$. This configuration lines up the points on the bottom bar so that the strands appear to come together in a diagram that usually represents Hopf algebraic multiplication in a category, only now the points are still separated in the third dimension. Posted by Kea at 08:35PM (+13:00)

Moving North I
Thursday, November 06, 2008
As expected, my comments about being blacklisted from the arxiv were deleted from a popular blog (this time The Cafe) and of course AF is not listed on respectable blogrolls. Nonetheless, it appears that blogging may have helped me obtain a postdoctoral research job somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. I would love to tell you all about it, but not until everything is official and my flight is booked. Perhaps this is a brave new world, after all. Posted by Kea at 01:06PM (+13:00)

Picoseconds I
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Soon after the arxiv release of the exciting new CDF result, a phenomenological paper proposing new physics also appeared. Using the PYTHIA Monte Carlo event generator, the authors found that a cascade of three new states (called $h_1$, $h_2$ and $h_3$) could explain the observed excess of correlated muons with high impact parameter. This cascade ends with the generation of eight $\tau$ particles from four $h_3$ states: $h_1 \rightarrow 2 h_2 \rightarrow 4 h_3 \rightarrow 8 \tau$ The generator assumes a $p \overline{p} \rightarrow H \rightarrow 2 h_1$ process, where $H$ is the fairy field, but it is pointed out that this is for convenience only, and the actual process is a mystery. In the words of the authors: the observed pair production cross section is a few orders of magnitude larger than what is predicted if the $h_{i}$ states be-


longed to the Higgs sector. The best fit to the data, which includes vertex reconstruction, results from attributing the long lifetime (about 20 picoseconds) to the $h_3$ state. The mass triplet for $(h_1,h_2, h_3)$ appears to scale as $(4,2,1)$, with $m(h_1) \simeq 15 GeV/c^2$. Aside: See also posts by Matti Pitkanen and Carl Brannen. Posted by Kea at 05:08PM (+13:00)

Friday, November 07, 2008
Don't forget to catch this talk by Rivasseau. Posted by Kea at 12:26PM (+13:00)

Picoseconds II
Friday, November 07, 2008
For any power law mass triple $(n^{2},n,1)$, such as $(4,2,1)$, the Fourier 2-cycle $F^{2} = (31)$ acts as a T duality operation, inverting scales. That is, $F^{2}: (4,2,1) \mapsto (1,2,4) = (\frac{1}{4}, \frac{1}{2}, 1)$ where one can keep the total mass scale the same through a T duality coupling of $n^2 = 4$. Recall also (from mid July, Tommaso) that the vector $(1,4,2)$ appeared in the eigenvalue equation for a full six dimensional standard model operator, with the eigenvalue an elementary 3-cycle, using mod 7 arithmetic. Posted by Kea at 12:39PM (+13:00)

Talk of the Week II
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Since almost nobody seemed interested in Starkman's talk, I thought I would post one of his slides here. Note the resemblance to Louise Riofrio's graph here. Also note that the generous light blue band for the standard cosmology (or current stringy and loopy cosmology) does not agree with the data. At all. The curves that most closely match zero beyond some angle are created using data that excludes galactic contamination, which is the main topic of the talk. Posted by Kea at 07:17PM (+13:00)


A Day at Work
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Two of my colleagues at the Astro Cafe, Chris from Arizona and Morpheus from Hong Kong, weren't quite sure what to make of the seasonal appearance of curious lambs on the way to work, but they captured some lovely shots. Posted by Kea at 08:52PM (+13:00)

Moving North II
Thursday, November 13, 2008
In two weeks I leave my waitressing job, and the view, and in December I will head down south to visit friends. It seems that soon I will have an airline ticket to Europe in my pockets. Just like magic! Posted by Kea at 10:44AM (+13:00)

Quote of the Month
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Google if you want to dive deep into the seamy underbelly of the preprint server. Aaron Bergman Posted by Kea at 07:20PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 237
Friday, November 14, 2008
The tribimaximal mixing matrix $T$, which is easily expressed in circulant form, is Fourier transformed to a block matrix which has exact entries $\frac{2 \sqrt{2} - 1}{2 \sqrt{6}} \pm \frac{\sqrt{3}}{2 \sqrt{6}} i$


$\frac{\sqrt{3} + \sqrt{6}}{2 \sqrt{6}} \pm \frac{1 - \sqrt{2}}{2 \sqrt{6}} i$ $\frac{1 + \sqrt{2}}{\sqrt{6}} + \frac{1 - \sqrt{2}}{\sqrt{6}} i$ Numerically, this transform takes the form Observe that the norm of both the $GL(1)$ component and the $GL(2)$ component is 1, as in the case of the CKM transform. This reduces the parameterisation to four real parameters. The two dimensional component $A$ does not belong to $SU(2)$, but $A^{\dagger} A$ is a braided circulant, namely where the imaginary part should be exactly $2/3$, but my rounding was lazy. The real part is exactly $\sqrt{3}^{-1}$, and the determinant of $A^{\dagger} A$ is $2/9$ (a number that M theorists will recognise). Posted by Kea at 12:13PM (+13:00)

Moving North III
Sunday, November 16, 2008
It cost me a month's wages, but I decided to buy a ticket to Wagner's The Flying Dutchman at Covent Garden next year! I can't wait! Posted by Kea at 03:41PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 238
Thursday, November 20, 2008
We can think of the braid group $B_{3}$ as the general matrix group over the field with one element, associated to sets as vector spaces. It is also the fundamental group of the complement of the trefoil knot. Recall that the trefoil knot corresponds to the Pauli quandle of operators $\sigma_X$, $\sigma_Y$ and $\sigma_Z$. This quandle can be thought of as a group ring for a field with one element. Additively, there is only one choice for the coefficients of $\sigma_X$, $\sigma_Y$ and $\sigma_Z$, and so the formal sum $\sigma_X + \sigma_Y + \sigma_Z$ represents the three element set as the union of labelled one element sets. Multiplicatively, the cyclic quandle rules hold, and these are the only rules. What does it mean to take the fundamental group (or groupoid) not of the trefoil, but of the Pauli quandle? What is the complement of the quandle in MUB space? A truncated braid group of type $B_3$ naturally arises for the $3 \times 3$ operators. Moreover, M theory is very interested in how the Pauli operators interact with this three dimensional case. Somehow M theory doesn't mind that $B_3$ is specialised to truncated knots when considering three objects. After all, the fundamental group is really about maps of a circle into a space, but a circle is what one obtains only after considering (at least) an infinite number of objects. Posted by Kea at 06:19PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 239
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Truncating the braid group $B_{3}$ on three strands at a cubed root of unity is a little bizarre, because it leads to equivalences which do not preserve the number of loops in a link. Most notably, since each generator satisfies a rule $\sigma^{3} = 1$, there is an identity taking the trefoil knot on two strands to two straight strands. However, we knew that the Jones polynomial for the trefoil knot, $J(t) = t + t^{3} - t^{4}$ evaluated at a cubed root of unity, is equal to 1. This is also the value for the unknot. There are 24 elements in the truncated group. More general torus knots have polynomials that may be normalised with respect to the trefoil polynomial, which is another way of setting $J$ to 1. Aside: For the even simpler case of $B_{2}$, forcing the double crossing to be the identity sends the Hopf link polynomial to $2i$ at $t = -1$, or to zero at $t = i$. Posted by Kea at 08:32PM (+13:00)

Moving North IV
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I have visited London briefly in the past, enjoying the Tower, Big Ben and other interesting attractions. Instead, on this trip I look forward to seeing some Dreaming Spires. I hear there is snow about at present. Early in the new year, adventures will include this workshop in London. It looks like a fun program for anyone interested in Categories, Logic and Physics. Posted by Kea at 02:28PM (+13:00)

Spring is Here
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Photo of lupins, courtesy of my colleague Fraser Gunn, who also takes excellent astronomical photographs. Posted by Kea at 02:23PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 240
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The Tutte polynomial $T(x,y)$ of a graph $G$ with edge set $E$ is defined by simple recursion rules. Let $G/e$ denote $G$ with the edge $e$ contracted, and $G - e$ denote $G$ with the edge $e$ deleted. Then the rules are: $\bullet T(G) = 1$ if $E$ is empty $\bullet T(G) = xT(G/e)$ if the deletion of $e$ disconnects $G$ $\bullet T(G) = yT(G - e)$ if $e$ is a loop on a single vertex $\bullet T(G) = T(G - e) + T(G/e)$ else For example, the 2-colored trefoil is associated to the triangle graph on three vertices, or its dual graph, the trivalent node. For the triangle, the computation of the Tutte polynomial proceeds as follows. Now let $g$ be the number of vertices in $G$ and $d$ the number of vertices in the dual graph. The writhe of the knot is $w$. In terms of $T$, the Jones polynomial for an alternating knot is given by $J(t) = (-1)^{w} t^{(g - d + 3w)/4} T(-t, \frac{-1}{t})$ For the trefoil knot, which has a writhe of $+3$, we calculate the Jones polynomial using the Tutte polynomial: $J(t) = -1 \cdot t^{(3 - 4 + 9)/4} \cdot (t^{2} - \frac{1}{t} - t)$ $= - t^{2} (t^{2} - \frac{1}{t} - t) = t + t^{3} - t^{4}$ Hopefully this polynomial is familiar to M theorists. Posted by Kea at 06:40PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 241
Friday, November 28, 2008
For polygon graphs with $n$ sides one quickly finds that the Tutte polynomial $T_{n}$ is given by


$T_{n} = x^{n-1} + T_{n-1} = x^{n-1} + x^{n-2} + \cdots + x + y$ For $x = -t$ and $y = -1/t$ this becomes $T_{n} = (-1)^{n-1}t^{n-1} + (-1)^{n-2}t^{n-2} + \cdots - t - \frac{1}{t}$ With the choice $y = 1/x$ the expansion looks similar in form to the infinite Fourier expansion of a function such as the j invariant $J(q) = j(q) - 744$, although $J(q)$ has positive integer coefficients. Naturally, in M theory we would like to associate the polygon graphs with MUB cycles, generalising the Pauli MUB triangle. Note that $T_{4}$ at a cubed root of unity $t = \omega$ spits out the cubed root $\omega^{2}$. Similarly, $T_{5}$ at a fourth root of unity ($t = i$) is equal to $i$. The Jones invariant for the trefoil equals $-3$ at $t = -1$. The Tutte component, $T_{3} = x^{2} + x + 1/x$, contributes the $3$, because here $x = -t = 1$. Similarly, $T_{n} = n$ whenever $x = y = 1$. That is, setting $t = -1$ is one way to express the usual ordinals $n$ as dimensions of MUB spaces. Posted by Kea at 09:27AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 242
Friday, November 28, 2008
Another way to write the Tutte polynomial for the square is since any tree with $n$ edges has Tutte polynomial $x^{n}$. In fact, for any polygon we have $T_{n} = T_{n - 1} + \overline{T_{n-1}}$. What does this duality mean? Observe that a triangle plus a trivalent node can make a tetrahedron, so the square can be thought of as representing the four faces of a tetrahedron in three dimensions, which is the dimension of the MUB operators of $T_{4}$. It follows that a polygon with $n$ sides represents the $n$ faces of an $n$-simplex. The Tutte terms then match cells of the simplex: for $n = 4$, $x^{3}$ is a 3-cell, $x^{2}$ is a 2cell and $x$ is a single edge. The oddball $y$ term comes from the loop on a single vertex. Since the dual star graph puts three vertices in the region outside the trefoil knot on the plane, it marks three points in the plane, which we will call 0, 1 and $\infty$ as usual. This is like drawing a trefoil on an associahedron, the dual cell complex of which divides $\mathbb{R}^{3}$ into 9 regions, three of which are the square faces of the trefoil knot crossings. When the associahedron is drawn on the pair of pants, the central vertex of the trivalent node is marked with the number $\omega$. Thus the Tutte map $t \mapsto T(t)$ for $t = \omega$ (at $n = 4$) is a symmetry of the associahedron, which swaps sides of the pair of pants, or equivalently, acts via complex conjugation on the Belyi diagram for the j invariant. In this paper the authors show that the Jones polynomial for any link can be obtained from a ribbon graph (dessins) diagram for planar link projections via a (three variable) generalisation of the Tutte polynomial, called the Bollobas-Riordan-Tutte polynomial.


Posted by Kea at 01:10PM (+13:00)

Time Essayed
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
The deadline for the fqxi essay competition on The Nature of Time is at hand. Some entries of interest to AF readers include those by: Louise Riofrio Carl Brannen Matti Pitkanen David Finkelstein Lawrence Crowell Steven Weinstein Julian Barbour Christine Dantas David Hestenes Philip Gibbs Tony Smith me Posted by Kea at 10:34AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 243
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Recall that the two dimensional Fourier type operator, which diagonalises a $2 \times 2$ circulant, is combined with a three dimensional Fourier operator to obtain the tribimaximal neutrino mixing matrix. Using the more conventional Fourier operators, with entries $F_{ij} = \omega^{ij}$ and $0 \leq i,j \leq d - 1$, the mixing matrix is expressed Note that the zero sum of the last column of the $2 \times 2$ Fourier operator, in combination with the top row of ones on the $3 \times 3$ operator, is entirely responsible for the zero entry of the MNS matrix. A product of standard Fourier operators always has this property, since the final column cycles through all the $d$-th roots of unity, which sum to zero. In two dimensions, instead of cycling all three Pauli operators, like our usual choice of operator, the standard Fourier operator generates a 2-cycle of the form The standard basis for $\mathbb{C}^{2}$ forms the eigenvector set for $\sigma_{Z}$, and $\sigma_{Z}$ along with $\sigma_{X}$ form the generators for the noncommutative Weyl algebra, out of which further MUBs are constructed, in this case simply $\sigma_{Y} = -i \sigma_{Z} \sigma_{X}$. The wikipedia article links to the original MUB paper by Julian Schwinger, who already knew about the quantum Fourier transform. Posted by Kea at 11:36AM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 244
Thursday, December 04, 2008
The list of $d+1$ operators, whose columns form a set of MUBs in any prime dimension $d$, is most easily described by the procedure outlined in the paper by Monique Combescure. For $d = 3$, up to factors of $\sqrt{3}$, this operator set is The standard basis is read off the identity matrix, and M theorists will recognise the Fourier operator, which defines the second basis. In general, the third operator is defined by the 1-circulant $M_3 = (1, \omega^{-1}, \omega^{-3}, \cdots, \omega^{-k(k+1)/2},1)$ and the remaining bases are specified by circulant powers of $M_3$. For $d = 3$ there only remains $M_4 = M_{3}^{2}$. The operator $M_{3}$ diagonalises $VU$, for the two Weyl generators $U$ and $V$. For $d=3$, $V = (231)$ and $U$ is the diagonal $(1, \omega, \omega^{2})$. Combescure extends this result to all odd dimensions, in which case $j+1$ MUBs are constructed, where $j>2$ is the smallest divisor of $d$, and $M_{3}^{j-1}$ is the highest non trivial power of $M_3$. In even dimensions, there are only three operators which provide MUBs, and $M_3$ is defined differently. In particular, one requires the root $\sqrt{\omega}$, forcing factors of $i$ into the Pauli MUB algebra. Posted by Kea at 05:24PM (+13:00)

Darkness Rising
Friday, December 05, 2008
A recent PI talk by the theoretician Itay Yavin discusses a gauge theoretic WIMP explanation of dark matter evidence, based on work with various authors, including Neal Weiner. He was not afraid to question the validity of some of the experimental results, in which he was helped along by an audience member, who sounded suspiciously like John Moffat (I cannot view the video). However, Yavin pointed out that it is difficult to collectively dismiss results from DAMA, PAMELA, ATIC, CDF (multi muons), the WMAP haze and Integral. The model in question looks at a breaking of a dark sector $SU(2) \times U(1)$ symmetry, resulting in a $4 \times 4$ mass matrix (for 4 bosonic states) whose parameters can be selected to fit all results mentioned above, although not via the same decay processes. To everyone's amusement, an audience member asked whether or not there were more parameters in the model than data points. Anyway, the CDF lepton jets are supposed to originate from dark photon decays. One suspects that we will see many more talks along these lines in the near future. Posted by Kea at 05:12PM (+13:00)


Gravity Probe Update
Sunday, December 07, 2008
According to the last status report for Gravity Probe B, they will soon post a final analysis of the data for both GR tests. Posted by Kea at 10:51AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 245
Monday, December 08, 2008
The $3 \times 3$ code circulant $C = (0,1,1) = (231) + (312)$ appears in a standard generating method for a three dimensional representation of the braid group $B_3$, which we may discuss later. For now, observe that powers of $C$ define circulants $C^{n} = (x,y,y)$ where the sequences of $x$ and $y$ are given by $x_n \in 0,2,6,10,22,42, \cdots$ $y_n \in 1,3,5,11,21,43, \cdots$ After the initial terms, $y_n$ settles down to $y_n = y_{n-1} + x_{n - 1}$, which is always equal to $x_n \pm 1$. The sequence $x_n$ is number A078008 in the database. That is, $3 x_n \equiv A_n$ gives the chromatic polynomial for 3 colours of the cyclic polygon graph on $n$ sides. In terms of the Tutte polynomial $T(t)$, $A_n (t)$ may be expressed as $A_{n} (t) = (-1)^{n-1} t T(1-t,0)$ Similarly, for the $4 \times 4$ case $C = (0,1,1,1)$, the sequence $x_n$ is given by A054878. This sequence is associated with paths on a square, whereas the $3 \times 3$ sequence is associated with paths on a triangle. Note that $C$ is the adjacency matrix for the triangle. In general, calculating the chromatic polynomial of a graph is an NP-complete problem. By splitting the circulant matrix elements into 2 sequences, it is easy to define $x_n$ in terms of the simple recursion $x_n = y_n + (-1)^{n-1}$, where $y_n$ itself is built from the Fibonacci type rule above. Posted by Kea at 01:14PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 246
Monday, December 08, 2008
The inverses of $C^{n}$ (that is, powers of the circulant $C = (0,1,1)$) also behave very nicely. A little algebra shows that for $C^{n} = (x,y,y)$, $C^{-n} = (a,b,b)$, where $a = \frac{x+y}{x^2 - 2y^2 + xy}$ $b = \frac{1 - ax}{2y}$


In the special cases of interest, $(x,y) = (n,n+1)$ or $(n+1,n)$, we find (respectively) that $C^{-n} = (\frac{-(2n+1)}{3n+2}, \frac{n+1}{3n+2}, \frac{n+1}{3n+2})$ or $C^{-n} = (\frac{2n+1}{3n+1}, \frac{-n}{3n+1}, \frac{-n}{3n+1})$ and $|a| + |b| = 1$ in all cases. For example, the inverse of $(2,3,3)$ is the circulant $(1/8) (-5,3,3)$. These forms for the inverse of a positive circulant hold even when $n$ is not an ordinal. For the more general case of a positive circulant of the form $(n,n+d,n+d)$, the sum $|a| + |b| = 1/d$. Posted by Kea at 05:24PM (+13:00)

Moving North V
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
OK, I think it is finally time to put Carl out of his misery. At the end of the month I will be flying to the UK for my first ever postdoc, in quantum information theory at the University of Oxford. My new boss will be Bob Coecke. Bob is also one of the organisers of the January workshop on Categories, Logic and Physics at Imperial College. Posted by Kea at 03:21PM (+13:00)

Standing Still
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
After a few pleasant days in Wanaka I found myself in Christchurch once again, so I went to see the movie The day the Earth stood still. I especially enjoyed the bit where the alien crosses out the Dark Force term in the equations of relativity. Posted by Kea at 01:01PM (+13:00)

Still Standing Still
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
It turns out that I will not be talking at Imperial College on Jan 7 after all, because unknown representatives of the UK government are holding my passport while my visa application is being processed. I was informed that the application had been deemed non standard (I cannot imagine how, having answered all the questions and, as far as I can tell, obtained the maximum possible score on the points system) which sounds ominously like 'you'll be waiting a while to hear from us'. Posted by Kea at 10:25AM (+13:00)


Happy New Year
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Happy New Year! Tonight I will be washing dishes in a hotel, having successfully found some temporary employment. Posted by Kea at 01:30PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 247
Thursday, January 08, 2009
A simple way to express a cardinal number $n$ as a dimension is to write $n$ as the $n$ dimensional identity matrix. In this case, the natural way to express prime factorizations is in terms of embedded identity matrices. For example, since $6 = 2 \times 3$ there are two ways to write down a circulant permutation such that in the first case $C^3 = 1$ and in the second case $C^2 = 1$. In other words, the factorization of the number 6 results in roots of unity of order less than 6. In general, one embeds identities into the basic Fourier circulant $(234...n1)$. Since matrix elements are noncommutative, one would not dream of using classical geometry to study categorified arithmetic. Posted by Kea at 03:47PM (+13:00)

Oh, Pythagoras
Friday, January 09, 2009
In Simon Singh's wonderful book on Fermat's Last Theorem, he tells of the death of Pythagoras of Samos: Following the death of their founder and the attack by Cylon, the Brotherhood left Croton for other cities in Magna Graecia, but the persecution continued and eventually many of them had to settle in foreign lands. This enforced migration encouraged the Pythagoreans to spread their mathematical gospel throughout the ancient world... It is difficult to murder ideas. Most attempts to do so fail. Posted by Kea at 08:43PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 248
Saturday, January 10, 2009
In lesson 226 we wondered about prime dimensions for which the allowed MUB matrix entries formed a finite field on a prime number of elements. These are precisely the primes of Sophie Germain, that is $p$ such that $2p + 1$ is also prime. Sophie Germain studied them in connection with Fermat's Last Theorem, in particular for the case $x^5 + y^5 = z^5$. Now let $\phi (n)$ be the number of integers less than or equal to $n$ which are coprime to $n$. This is the totient function of Euler. Germain primes are the primes that solve an equation of the form $\phi (n) = 2p$. The totient function tells us the cardinality of the mul-


tiplicative group of integers modulo $n$. It may be expressed as $\phi (n) = n \prod_{p | n} (1 - \frac{1}{p})$ and thus it is related to the Riemann zeta function by $\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{\phi (n)}{n^s} = \frac{\zeta (s-1)}{\zeta (s)}$. Note that the Germain primes define a subsequence of the $\phi (n)$, and of the prime numbers, which one might view as a natural regularization of the zeta function. Posted by Kea at 10:29AM (+13:00)

Riemann Products
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Speaking of Euler products associated to the zeta function, the totient function leads one to consider the product $\prod_p (1 - \frac{1}{p})(1 - \frac{1}{p^s}) = \prod_p [(1 - \frac{1}{p}) - \frac{1}{p^s}(1 \frac{1}{p})]$ $= \prod_p (1 - \frac{1}{p})[1 - \sum_{p_1} \frac{1}{p_{1}^{s}} + \sum_{p_1,p_2} \frac{1}{(p_1 p_2)^s} - \cdots ]$ where one of the terms on the right hand side is a sum over $k$ distinct prime factors. That is, in cancelling the $\phi(\infty)$ factors, we have that $\frac{1}{\zeta (s)} = 1 + \sum_k (-1)^k \sum_{p_1,p_2, \cdots, p_k} \frac{1}{(p_1p_2 \cdots p_k)^s}$ which is a simple sum over all ordinals $n$ composed of single prime factors. This may be rewritten $\frac{1}{\zeta (s)} = \sum_{even} \frac{1}{n^s} - \sum_{odd} \frac{1}{n^s} = \sum_n \frac{\mu (n)}{n^s}$ where the parity counts the number of prime factors in $n$, and $1$ is an even prime. The function $\mu (n)$ is the Mobius function, which is zero for $n$ with repeated prime factors. Posted by Kea at 01:12PM (+13:00)

Riemann Products II
Sunday, January 11, 2009
The consideration of ordinals $N = p_1 p_2 p_3 \cdots p_k$, where all prime factors $p_i$ are distinct, occurs as the Pauli exclusion principle for the Riemann gas, whose partition function is the Riemann zeta function.


The product expression for the inverse zeta function is always well defined for finite products, which define a sequence of functions $\zeta_N$ for $N$ such a Pauli ordinal. Showing that the limit $N \rightarrow \infty$ leads to a well defined zeta function for basically all $s$ values is equivalent to the Riemann hypothesis. Posted by Kea at 10:27AM (+13:00)

Riemann Products III
Sunday, January 11, 2009
It is known that the value of $\zeta (s)$ at $s = 0$ is $\zeta (0) = - 1/2$. On the other hand, recall that the Everything Seminar showed us that $1 - 1 + 1 - 1 + 1 - 1 + 1 - \cdots = \frac{1}{1 + 1} = \frac{1}{2}$ and $1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + \cdots = - \frac{1}{2}$ so that the product for $1/ \zeta(s)$ tells us that $1/ \zeta(0) = 1 - 1[1 + 1 + 1 + \cdots] $ $+ 1[1(1 + 1 + 1 + \cdots) + 1(1 + 1 + 1 + \cdots) + 1(1 + 1 + 1 + \cdots) + \cdots] \cdots$ $= 1 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{4} + \cdots = 2$, which is almost the right answer! What does a minus sign matter, anyway? We can probably fix that. Similarly, the Pauli product expression indicates that $\frac{1}{\zeta (-1)} = 1 - 2 - 3 - 5 + 6 - 7 + 10 + \cdots = -12$ somehow! At least thinking of complex numbers as infinite sums is much nicer than messing around with standard analysis. Posted by Kea at 03:25PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 249
Monday, January 12, 2009
To be definite, rather than turtles, let us pick the Weyl 1-circulant $(234 \cdots n1)$ all the way down through the prime factors of a number $n$. Then for the number $6$, the two possible permutations $P \in S_6$ are both of which satisfy $P^6 = 1$. For more than two prime factors for $n$, this process still selects a permutation satisfying $P^n = 1$, such as in this example for $12 = 3 \times 2 \times 2$. The product of an infinite number of prime factors would result in an infinite matrix. Posted by Kea at 03:36PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 250
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Recall that the Tutte polynomial for the trefoil knot is based on the trivalent vertex graph. On the other hand, we would like to consider categorified invariants such as in Khovanov homology. The Khovanov cube for the trefoil knot contains the 8 ($= 2^3$) possible smoothing diagrams for the trefoil. For each crossing piece of the original knot there are two ways to smooth the crossing. In other words, there are two types of edge on the Tutte graphs. We might as well label these two colours by inward and outward arrows. Then the eight vertices of a cube are given by the diagrams Posted by Kea at 01:02PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 251
Friday, January 16, 2009
Bob Coecke reminds us that his 2008 paper on bases and quantum protocols also uses oriented trivalent vertices. That's nice, because we knew that the Pauli MUB was associated to the trefoil quandle, and now it is associated at a more fundamental level with the Khovanov cube. The question is, how does this correspondence extend to higher dimensional MUBs? For odd prime dimensions, the MUBs may be specified by the eigenvector operators, namely (a) the Fourier operator and (b) the sequence of Combescure circulants $M_1, M_2, \cdots, M_n$, which includes the identity. The corresponding MUB matrices (which are diagonalised by the eigenvector operators) are (a) the Weyl 1-circulant $(234 \cdots n1)$ (generating the permutation group $S_n$) and (b) a sequence of braided circulants that use the diagonal Weyl operator $D$. Each of the $n(n+1)$ pairs of MUB matrices forms a quantum plane with rules $A_i A_j = \omega^k A_j A_i$, for $\omega$ the $n$-th root of unity. In particular, the Weyl 1-circulant $C$ acts on the other $n$ matrices $A_i$ to cycle them, just as the Pauli $\sigma_X$ acts on either $\sigma_Z$ or $\sigma_Y$ to yield the other operator. This special behaviour of the Fourier MUB component marks one edge of a (potential) Tutte graph, which we may consider a root in the case of trees. If, in fact, trees are matched to the MUB sequence, this results in an operadic labelling of the MUB index $n$. Posted by Kea at 10:51AM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 252
Saturday, January 17, 2009
In vector space arithmetic, instead of ordinary products and additions we have something like tensor products and direct sums. For example, the combination of circulant primes in a matrix ordinal $n$ is a product. In a paper on random permutation matrices Hambly et al remind us of the observation of Wieand, that the spectrum of such a matrix, although different, has some surprising similarities to that of a random unitary matrix. But the basic Weyl circulant is only one of the MUB factors, coming from the Fourier transform. Combinations of braided (MUB) 1-circulants, with entries that are roots of unity, give rise to more general large complex matrices with one entry in each row and column. Since the eigenvalues of MUB circulants are also always on the unit circle (they are roots of unity) it would be interesting to study the behaviour of the eigenvalues of their products. Aside: Carl's new Koide paper has many interesting things to say about circulants. Posted by Kea at 03:43PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 253
Sunday, January 18, 2009
One zeta type function for a matrix $A$ is given by $\zeta_A (s) = \textrm{det} (I - \frac{A}{s})$. For the Weyl circulant $A = (234 \cdots n1)$ in odd prime dimension this takes the form $\zeta_A (s) = 1 - s^{-p}$ and so the product of all such determinants would look like $\prod_p (1 - s^{-p})$, which is strangely similar to the (inverse of the) usual zeta Euler product, except that $p$ and $s$ are interchanged. Observe that this product takes the form $\prod_p (1 - s^{-p}) = \sum_n \mu (n) s^{- \kappa (n)}$ where $\mu (n)$ is the Mobius function and $\kappa (n)$ is the sum of the prime factors of $n$, otherwise known as the sequence A001414, or the integer logarithm of $n$. Posted by Kea at 09:36AM (+13:00)


Sunday, January 18, 2009
This photo is only slightly modified: Posted by Kea at 01:45PM (+13:00)

CKM Rules V
Monday, January 19, 2009
Recall that the neutrino tribimaximal mixing matrix is most easily expressed in the form $F_3 F_2$, the product of two quantum Fourier operators. One wonders whether or not the other Combescure MUB operators can be combined to give us some information about the CKM matrix. For example, we have that Observe that the absolute value of this matrix takes the form where all entries are real, and the square of this absolute value looks like The cube finally takes a form reminiscent of the CKM, with all entries possibly distinct. In this example, the values of $a$, $b$ and $x$ are given by $\sqrt{2 + \sqrt{3}}$, $\sqrt{2 - \sqrt{3}}$ and $\sqrt{2}$. Posted by Kea at 04:55PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 254
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Dave at Carl's blog has pointed out that $\textrm{cos} (\theta) = \frac{2 \sqrt{2}}{\sqrt{9}}$ where $\theta$ is the sum of row (or column) entries in the circulant decomposition of the tribimaximal mixing matrix. In M Theory, we are used to coming across this number $2/9$. For example, it appears as a determinant, $\frac{2}{9} = 1 - (\frac{1}{\sqrt{3}} + \frac{2}{3} i)(\frac{1}{\sqrt{3}} - \frac{2}{3} i)$ in the 2D component of the transform of the tribimaximal mixing matrix. The number $\frac{1}{\sqrt{3}} + \frac{2}{3}$


also appears in the 2D component of $| R_3 R_2 |$, a MUB analogue of the (absolute value of) the tribimaximal matrix. That is, this number is a normalised form of $(1 + i \omega^2)$, where $\omega$ is the usual cubed root of unity. Posted by Kea at 01:01PM (+13:00)

Still Down South
Thursday, January 22, 2009
As the nice lady at Air New Zealand said to me, in sympathy at my status as an undesirable alien, at least I can enjoy more of the summer. My little cabin in the garden has been very comfortable. But next week it is probably time to move on, so if no visa appears I will head down south again to Wanaka, from where it is easy enough to catch a bus back to Christchurch. Posted by Kea at 07:28PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 255
Friday, January 23, 2009
The numbers appearing in the absolute value of $R_3 R_2$ also occur in other MUB combinations of both three dimensional and two dimensional operators. For instance, with an $R_2$ factor on the right, we obtain whereas an $F_2$ factor recovers yet another form of the tribimaximal mixing matrix: Posted by Kea at 04:15PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 256
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Larger products of MUB operators also lead to nice magic matrices. For example, consider this stunning exact magic matrix: which has numerical values roughly equal to Observe that this matrix is similar in form to, although not the same as, the CKM quark mixing matrix. Posted by Kea at 02:13PM (+13:00)

Quote of the Week
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Thanks to David Corfield for this survey paper (on foundational categorical topology) from the mathematician Paul Taylor. Breaking my personal rule of mostly ignoring criticism of physicists from mathematicians, I put here the following gem of a quote.


Physics very probably relies on compactness of the interval, but I would be very sceptical if you told me that some property of black holes depends on excluded middle. Have you actually developed the analogous constructive theory, and found observational evidence to distinguish it from the classical one? This is, after all, what the experimental method says that you should do. Posted by Kea at 01:53PM (+13:00)

Still Down South II
Friday, January 30, 2009
Now I'm back down south in Wanaka again, as another week comes to an end. A stable southerly offers good walking opportunities for the next few days, and there are dogs to walk. Thank you to all those people who have given me support recently. Hopefully a visa will arrive soon. If not ... AF will not be silent. Posted by Kea at 02:12PM (+13:00)

Matrix Power I
Sunday, February 01, 2009
A nonassociative array product is naturally defined by replacing multiplication with power and addition with multiplication, as in the $2 \times 2$ case Observe that matrices which are magic under normal matrix multiplication have analogues which are magic under these power products, in the sense that the multiplication of entries along each row and column is equal to some constant. For example, the analogue of the usual democratic matrix is the matrix with entries the cubed root of unity. Note that the identity matrix still acts as an identity, but we will not bother to define a zero element, because we don't much care if things turn out to be like ordinary fields or not. Demanding a magic sum of 1, and a magic product of 1 in the new nonassociative algebra, results in a mapping of the positive real interval $[0,1]$ to the complex unit circle. Scalar multiples do not exist in the new array product. If we replace zero by the number 1, then all permutation matrices must be mapped to the (power) democratic matrix with unit entries, namely three times the original democratic matrix. Posted by Kea at 03:49PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 257
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Unitary magic matrices with non-negative rational entries, such as the norm square of the neutrino mixing matrix, form a semigroup because the product of two such matrices results in another matrix of the same kind. Restricting to 1-circulant unitary magic matrices results in a smaller semigroup, since products of 1-circulants are again 1-circulants. Observe that in a product of the form the difference between the two entries in the resulting circulant is $(a - b)(d - c)$, namely the product of the differences in the components. In


particular, the power $M^{n}$ of a single such 1-circulant $M$ results in a difference of $(a - b)^{n}$, which cannot be zero for finite $n$ if $a \neq b$. So the only way such a power can result in the democratic unitary magic matrix $D = (1/3,1/3,1/3)$ is if it is an infinite power. Moreover, since $a, b < 1$, it is always the case that an infinite power will converge to $D$, that is $M^{\infty} = D$. Posted by Kea at 10:48AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 258
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
A general unitary magic 1-circulant may be written as the sum of two magic 1-circulants, as in $(a,b,b) + (0,c,0)$. The $n$-th power of this sum has a binomial expansion for which at least one matrix factor in each product has a power greater than or equal to $n/2$. Since $DM = D$ (where $D$ is the unitary democratic matrix), for any such 1-circulant $M$ it follows that the limit of the power as $n \rightarrow \infty$ must also be $D$. These arguments apply to matrices over restricted domains for the rationals or reals. Similar arguments apply to 2-circulants. Now general magic unitary matrices that are written as sums of two circulants, such as the approximate norm square of the CKM matrix, may also be expanded binomially to a sum of products that converges to $D$. Posted by Kea at 01:43PM (+13:00)

Still Down South III
Thursday, February 05, 2009
According to a local newspaper, from February 20 all UK visas for New Zealand citizens will be processed in Australia. When I phoned Wellington this morning, I was quite amazed by the incredible transformation in their helpfulness. I sent an email requesting a progress report on my visa application (this was certainly not possible previously) and received a friendly, automated reply! Unfortunately, tomorrow is a public holiday and one suspects that nothing more will happen until next week. I wonder what the record time is for visa processing? Posted by Kea at 04:01PM (+13:00)

Abtruse Goose
Saturday, February 07, 2009
The brilliance of Abtruse Goose is apparent in the variety of reactions to the Arguing with String Theorists episode. Clifford Johnson, a string theorist, casually laughs at the accuracy of the cartoon without appearing to understand it at all. As a result, Peter Woit puts up with idiotic comments


about his sex life and of course Lubos Motl also weighs in, patting himself on the back for his PC approval of the girl string theorist (the bitch slapper). Woit laments that nobody else is doing their blogging duty and criticising string theory. Yes, this is all rather tiresome, isn't it? Since nobody has actually bothered to define String Theory, it clearly encompasses any successful theoretical predictions that might appear in the next few decades. Why are people complaining? If they were serious about changing the culture of theoretical physics, they would do something about it. Oh, but hang on a minute ... That might require actually taking risks and displaying courage. Well, we won't be holding our breath then. Obama can't be expected to sort out this mess on his own. Posted by Kea at 11:18AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 259
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Complex magic matrices also multiply to yield new magic matrices. If the row and column sums of two magic matrices are $e^{i \theta_1}$ and $e^{i \theta_2}$, the row and column sum of their product will be $e^{i (\theta_1 + \theta_2)}$. Carl's parameterization of the CKM matrix $V$ results in a row sum phase with $\theta = -0.27308859$, close to a 23rd root of unity. In other words, the row sum is the complex number $0.96294248 - 0.26970686 i$. The $n$th power of such a complex matrix will have a row sum with $n$ times the angle, $n \theta$. Observe that the number 0.96294248 is very close to $26/27$. This corresponds to the fact that $2 - 2 \times 0.9629 = 8/9$, which is the real part of a factor in a product form for the CKM matrix. That is, let $V = AB$. Now assume that the row sums for $A = A_1 + i A_2$ and $B = B_1 + i B_2$ are such that $A_1 + A_2 = B_1 + B_2 = 1$, where these numbers may be complex. Then it follows that the real part of $A_1$ equals $8/9$. We should probably check to see how an exact figure of $8/9$ compares with experiment. Posted by Kea at 02:30PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 260
Monday, February 09, 2009
This CKM business is getting a bit messy, so let us recall that the Fourier transform of a complex circulant sum takes the form Carl Brannen's values for the CKM matrix (perhaps slightly inaccurate) are $I = 0.973313$ $J = -0.008577$ $K = 0.000466$ $R = 0.040013$ $G = 0.225762$ $B = -0.004273$.


In particular, $(I + J + K) + i(R + G + B) = 0.965202 + 0.261502 i$, which has norm 1. The point is that, focusing on the real parts, it is better to think of these numbers in the form $a/27$. No doubt Carl will fix the numerical fit and blog about it shortly. The number 27 (or rather its square, $729 = 3^6$) is a natural normalisation factor for products of MUB type matrices. Posted by Kea at 09:48AM (+13:00)

Quote of the Month
Monday, February 09, 2009
I think there is a widespread misconception that there are many ignored alternatives. I think that most good string theorists would be eager to look into alternatives IF it had even *some* of the good features of a fundamental theory. But most people don’t seem to realize how difficult it is to come up with even a mildly promising alternative. It is not like there are tons of alternatives out there and theorists are ignoring them. Somebody at Not Even Wrong Posted by Kea at 10:29AM (+13:00)

Pioneering C Change
Monday, February 09, 2009
For years, Louise Riofrio has patiently explained her varying speed of light cosmology. Now, thanks to DIY QG, I would like to bring attention to this paper, by Antonio F. Ranada and Alfredo Tiemblo, which explains the Pioneer anomaly in terms of a varying speed of light cosmology, or rather the mismatch between atomic and astronomical time. Posted by Kea at 04:29PM (+13:00)

CKM Recipe
Monday, February 09, 2009
Take the following real unitary magic matrix. Take the square root of each entry to form another real matrix. The bottom right $2 \times 2$ corner is the real part of the Fourier transform of the CKM matrix. The top left corner is very close to the real part of the row sum for the cubed root of the CKM matrix, which itself has a row sum with real part $26/27$. That is, the following approximate relation holds: $\textrm{cos}(\frac{1}{3} \textrm{cos}^{-1}(\frac{26}{27})) \frac{\sqrt{723}}{\sqrt{729}}$ \simeq


The norms of the Fourier transform blocks were previously observed to be 1. This fixes the imaginary part of the $1 \times 1$ piece. We will then consider another unitary magic matrix for the imaginary component.

Posted by Kea at 09:36PM (+13:00)

CKM Recipe II
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
In the approximation of a cubed root cosine by a square root, if one starts with the exact number $26/27$ (for the CKM row sum), then equality implies a numerator not of 723, but of 722.9792412. On the other hand, assuming an exact numerator of 723 results in the number $26.003436/27$. Anyway, $723 = 697 + 26$ and these integers appear in the decomposition of the symmetric magic matrix $U$ into 1-circulant and 2-circulant integer matrices: Observe that the small value of 3 (off the $U(2) \times U(1)$ block) limits the number of positive integer decompositions to four. The 2-circulant piece always takes the form $(26,0,0) + kD$, where $D$ is the democratic matrix and $k \in 0,1,2,3$. Posted by Kea at 02:18PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 261
Thursday, February 12, 2009
In general, the Fourier transform of a magic circulant sum takes the form The condition that it be in $U(1) \times SU(2)$ reduces the number of parameters to four, as in where it is assumed that $B^2 + C^2 = 726$. For the CKM matrix $V$, we have seen that the parameters $A$, $B$ and $C$ are very simple numbers satisfying such rules. $X$ is a small parameter ($X < \sqrt{3}$) that we might adjust to fit the experimental values. Posted by Kea at 11:45AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 262
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Using only integer values for the squares of entries in 27 $F^{\dagger} V F$, it follows that the small (squares of) entries in the imaginary part must sum to 3. On solving for the variables $I$, $J$, $K$, $R$, $G$ and $B$ one has the freedom of signs in sorting out the CKM values. Let us just look at the up-down entry, $I + iR$. The solution is given by $3I = 26 + 2 \sqrt{697}$ $3R = \sqrt{53} - 2 \sqrt{2}$ and so the up-down entry $V_{ud}$ must equal $0.9744 = \sqrt{I^2 + R^2}$. Fortunately, according to wikipedia, this value is $0.9742 \pm 0.0002$. It should not be difficult for the reader to find expressions for the other CKM entries, based on the Fourier transform. Aside: Tommaso Dorigo continues with his excellent series of posts on fairy fields. Posted by Kea at 05:13PM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 263
Sunday, February 15, 2009
In summary, this approximate solution for the CKM matrix uses the four parameters $A^2 = 676$, $B^2 = 697$, $C^2 = 29$ and $X^2 = 1$. With an appropriate choice of signs, the magic circulant parameters become $3I = 26 + 2 \sqrt{697}$ $3J = 26 - \sqrt{697} - \sqrt{3}$ $3K = 26 - \sqrt{697} + \sqrt{3}$ $3R = \sqrt{53} - 2 \sqrt{2}$ $3G = \sqrt{53} + \sqrt{2} + \sqrt{87}$ $3B = \sqrt{53} + \sqrt{2} - \sqrt{87}$ and the resulting (square) matrix values are given by 0.9495, 0.0502, 0.0003 0.0498, 0.9465, 0.0037 0.0008, 0.0033, 0.9960 Observe that the largest disagreement with experiment is in the very small $V_{td}$ and $V_{ub}$ values. Posted by Kea at 11:53AM (+13:00)

Still Down South IV
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
After two months of waiting for what should be a straightforward visa, I have now settled into life in Wanaka. Now I'm off into the hills for 2 days. Posted by Kea at 08:36AM (+13:00)

Still Down South V
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
That was a very enjoyable late summer trip, with perfect weather. Thanks to Kerie and Tasman (the dog). One cannot have such beautiful valleys to oneself in England. Nonetheless, tomorrow I phone Australia, yet again, in an attempt to find out how my visa application is progressing. It appears to be no longer possible to speak to Wellington. Posted by Kea at 04:41PM (+13:00)


Good, Bad and Ugly
Friday, February 20, 2009
People who hear that I am interested in physics often say to me that they would like to know more about String Theory. Although not articulated, the implication is usually that there must be Only One String Theory. In reality, string theorists come in several flavours: good, bad and ugly. For example, our friend kneemo is a good string theorist, who recognises that the so called physical predictions of main stream String Theory are probably just plain wrong. Then there is mottle, who recently said: String theory is one theory, it predicts many possible vacua (Lorentz-invariant or dS-invariant solutions to its equations of motion), and we live in one of them. Well, at least this statement settles any doubt one might have had that the bad string theorists might be willing to alter their physics a little to fit the facts. Clearly, the facts don't matter to them. Ugly string theorists include people who boast loudly that they are not string theorists at all, but are not very convincing. Posted by Kea at 12:17PM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 264
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Recall that circulants are always magic as well as square magic in the sense that the sum of squares along a row or column is a fixed constant. In particular, any Koide mass matrix $M$ has this property. But MUB operators such as $F_3$ are not magic. For example, the action of $F_3 F_2$ (the neutrino mixing matrix) on $M$ results in a $1 \times 2$ block matrix in terms of the square roots of the masses, because $F_3$ diagonalises, and $F_2$ then acts on a pair of mass eigenvalues. The fact that this matrix is not magic is the same as the statement


that $m_1 \neq m_2$. The fact that it is not square magic follows from the statement that $s < 0$ in $\textrm{cos} \delta = \frac{s - 6v}{s}$, where $\delta$ is the angle shared by all three masses. This property is shared by the hadron fits. Posted by Kea at 08:10PM (+13:00)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009
An important characteristic of the topos Set is the existence of a natural number object, namely the object $N$ of counting numbers along with a diagram $1 \rightarrow N \rightarrow N$ where the second arrow is a successor function, plus one. This diagram is universal in the sense that it is initial in the category of all such diagrams. A general diagram in this category replaces the object $N$ by another set $A$. In the quantum world, however, $N$ is better described by the dimensions of simple vector spaces. Including the ordinal maps, we can think of $N$ as a whole category, usually called $\Delta$. But $\Delta$ lives in a category of categories, Cat, rather than Set. So instead of maps $u: N \rightarrow A$ characterising the universality of arithmetic, we end up looking at functors $U: \Delta \rightarrow C$, which are basic mathematical gadgets known as cosimplicial objects. The commuting square in Set that compares the successor function with a map $f: A \rightarrow A$ is replaced by a (weakened) commuting square that compares an increment in dimension to a functor $F: C \rightarrow C$ via the cosimplicial functor $U$. In other words, quantum arithmetic really is about cohomological invariants after all. And let's not forget that in this higher dimensional operadic world, $1$-ordinals are merely the simplest kind of trees. The category $\Delta$ should really be replaced by a category whose objects are trees. Posted by Kea at 01:09PM (+13:00)

Operadification II
Friday, February 27, 2009
Underlying the concept of natural number object is the basic recursion theorem. The composition of the arrows $f \circ q: 1 \rightarrow A \rightarrow A$


in Set is just the evaluation $f(q)$. This arrow $f(q): 1 \rightarrow A$ can itself be used as input for the same diagram, by appending another copy of $f$ to the right, to obtain the arrow $f(f(q))$. That is, the natural number object commuting diagram extends indefinitely to the right by appending extra copies of the successor and the function $f$. Once the comparison arrow $u: N \rightarrow A$ assigns zero to $q$, it follows that it must assign $f(q)$ to 1, $f(f(q))$ to 2, and so on. Thus the definition of recursion, as a possibly infinite process, demands the full set $N$ rather than some finite ordinal set. But for periodic recursive functions, satisfying $f(f(f(\cdots(q)))) = f(q)$ for $n + 1$ brackets on the left hand side, modular arithmetic using the set n acts as a universal diagram. For example, if $f$ represents rotation by an $n$-th root of unity, then it is periodic in this sense. Posted by Kea at 10:31AM (+13:00)

Still Down South VI
Friday, February 27, 2009
Well, there goes the opera ticket. Actually, I finally received one short email from a representative of the British government, but since it came from Wellington there is ample room to doubt the vague promises and excuses therein. Posted by Kea at 05:07PM (+13:00)

Operadification III
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The multicategorical analogue of the natural number diagram $1 \rightarrow N \rightarrow N$ looks like $\Delta^{\cap} \rightarrow \textrm{Tree} \rightarrow \textrm{Tree}$ where the category $\Delta^{\cap}$ (dimension not specified) has objects $n$ represented by single level trees, the associahedra trees. That is, since we are allowed any number of input identity arrows, the simplest one object category has an arrow for each $n$. The category Tree, by definition, extends these single level trees to $k$-ordinal trees of $k$ levels. In other words, the ordinals $N$ in Set are replaced by the levels of the $k$ordinal trees. This is how we wanted to represent $n$ in the quantum world, in association with dimension. Now recall that the $k$-ordinal trees can represent Batanin's polytopes, which are topological spaces. The successor map simply adds a leaf to every top branch. For example, the sequence of $k$ dimensional spheres arises as a version of the ordinals in this sense.


Multicategorical arithmetic therefore compares an ordinary cosimplicial object in $C$ with a weakened kind of cohomological object Tree $\rightarrow C$. By truncating the categories at level $k$, one obtains a multicategorical analogue of modular number objects. There are many motives for studying this kind of arithmetic. Posted by Kea at 05:11PM (+13:00)

S-matrix Reloaded
Saturday, February 28, 2009
This simple and beautiful PI talk by Freddy Cachazo is a must see! He begins with some history on the S-matrix and proceeds to whiz through twistors and MHV diagrams. Posted by Kea at 08:32PM (+13:00)

From Oxford
Thursday, March 05, 2009
True to form, the Wellington English sent my passport, with no email acknowledgement, to Christchurch, with a visa stamp that expires on April 4, 2009. So I threw everything in my case in 10 minutes, hopped into Kerie's car with Kerie, and headed for Christchurch, six hours away by road. I then took a short flight to Auckland, followed by a very, very long flight to London via Hong Kong, arriving only a few hours ago. Am now enjoying the sights, staying at Oriel College, and will have to figure out where the Computing Lab is tomorrow. Posted by Kea at 05:43AM (+13:00)

Seminar Heaven
Monday, March 09, 2009
Apparently, it is possible here to fill an entire work schedule with seminars in computer science, physics, mathematics and philosophy. One could also fill every evening with concerts, lectures and theatre. Happily, MUB physics is interesting enough to keep me entertained. At the end of my first day, on Thursday, I went to a string theory seminar on gravitino dark matter, which only accelerated the onset of 4pm jetlag crash. On Friday Eugenia Cheng was down from Sheffield to speak about an inductive definition of weak $n$-categories using terminal coalgebras. This is very interesting since it involves both the category Set and the category Top of topological spaces; the latter in order to supply an operad for the construction. Everybody in the group went to the seminar lunch. Later in the afternoon, there was a seminar entitled Example of a 2-category at the Mathematical Institute, but most non mathematicians were forewarned by the word Langlands in the abstract, and indeed one of the questions at the end was: er, so what does this have to do with categories?


The mornings are still very chilly, but the weather has been quite pleasant so far, and the 20 minute walk to work passes some spectacular historical buildings. Posted by Kea at 09:25PM (+13:00)

Mersenne MUBs
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Consider the MUB matrices in prime dimensions $p$. If we demand that the entries form a finite field of $p + 1$ elements (that is, including $0$) it follows that $p$ must be a Mersenne prime. It is not known if there are an infinite number of such primes or not, but Euler showed that any perfect number $n$ may be written in the form $n = \frac{1}{2} M_i (M_i + 1)$ for some Mersenne prime $M_i$. In particular, the perfect number $6$ comes from the Mersenne prime $3$. Posted by Kea at 06:31AM (+13:00)

Keeping Up
Saturday, March 14, 2009
It seems that the whole CDF collaboration has taken to writing posts for Tommaso Dorigo with a series of amazing pieces of news, including Higgs mass exclusions and a new hadron with mass 4144 MeV. Posted by Kea at 03:50AM (+13:00)

Oxford Life
Sunday, March 15, 2009
In the land of Monty Python, the Home Office still hasn't seen the error of its ways, and is procrastinating about issuing me with another work permit so that I can apply to extend my visa to a date after the expiry of the work period. Apparently, this problem is not unusual here. Meanwhile, the University has efficiently issued cards, keys, computing accounts and numerous other useful things to help me get some research done. So I have been wondering a little about how our phenomenological MUBs might relate to, or extend, certain dagger symmetric monoidal structures studied by Coecke et al. Aside: Apparently the referees did not like Carl's paper because it uses quantum information theory and not QCD, and they know that quantum information theory could not possibly be used to derive such patterns between particle masses.


Posted by Kea at 10:58PM (+13:00)

Seminar Heaven II
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Today Michael Hopkins gave an elementary introduction to TFTs from a topologist's perspective, before outlining a theorem for $\omega$ $n$-categories (ie. with groupoid like arrows above dimension $n$) related to the classification of TFTs. He stressed the importance of category theory for tackling this problem. Lurie will also probably speak about this subject next week. The interesting construction is a choice of subcategory chain $C^{fd} \rightarrow C^{f} \rightarrow C$ where $C$ is any suitable symmetric monoidal category at the target of the (generalised) TFT functor. The category $C^f$ ($f$ for finite) is the collection of all arrows that have both left and right adjoints, and $C^{fd}$ (for fully dualisable) is the category where objects have duals in a suitable sense. In other words, the categories they study generalise categories such as FinVect (finite dimensional vector spaces) to the infinite dimensional path space realm that topologists love. Posted by Kea at 07:57AM (+13:00)

Oxford Life II
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Although it's not really my business, I decided to phone the Home Office, just to see if somebody would talk to me. After the inevitable time on hold, I finally spoke to a lady who told me that I should have emailed (not phoned) another division of the Borders Agency, because there was nothing on their system about visas that had been issued overseas. Whilst on hold, the voice message explained that there were no personal appointments available in March, except possibly, under certain circumstances, in Glasgow. She then explained that issues with visas should be referred to the issuing authority, that is to say, Wellington. Since I am no longer in New Zealand, and my visa stamp expires in only 2 weeks, I expressed some doubt that the Wellington people would be able to help, especially given their achievement record to date, which resulted in the job being given to another country. I wonder, if I posted my passport to a random person at the Home Office in London, how long would it take them to figure out where it was? Posted by Kea at 04:42AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 265
Friday, March 20, 2009
There is a nice series of papers by Godsil et al on combinatorics associated to MUBs. Consider the simple qubit Combescure matrix This is the only choice for the eigenvectors of the Pauli matrix $\sigma_{Y}$ that satisfies the following properties. The Schur


multiplication of two matrices simply defines entries by the product of matching entries from the two components $A$ and $B$. That is $M_{ij} = A_{ij} B_{ij}$. Under this product, an inverse for $R_2$ is found relative to the democratic matrix (the Schur identity): An invertible matrix in this sense is type II if $M (M^{-1})^{T} = n I$, where $I$ is the ordinary identity matrix. This works for $R_{2}$, although only $R_{2}^{8} = I$. A type II matrix is a spin model, in the sense of Jones, if all vectors of the form $Me_{i} \circ M^{-1}e_{j}$ (for $e_{i}$ the standard basis vectors) are eigenvectors for $M$. One checks that this holds for $R_2$. Note that the Fourier ( Hadamard) operator $F_{2}$, although a type II matrix, is not a spin model matrix. Posted by Kea at 06:55AM (+13:00)

Oxford Life III
Monday, March 23, 2009
Spring is in the air here, with daffodils lining many a walkway. I am slowly settling in, having enjoyed my first college lunch last week, during which I glimpsed the old main hall with large portraits of its founder, Elizabeth I, and other notable patrons. A number of friendly academics managed to demolish venison, veges, fruit, dessert and coffee (in the senior common room, as they say) and then walk back to the office, all in the space of a lunch hour! It is a little embarrassing discussing the sorry state of the economy in such surroundings. Posted by Kea at 06:07AM (+13:00)

Seminar Heaven III
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Lurie decided to give four lectures instead of one, kicking off today with yet another introduction to the Baez-Dolan cobordism hypothesis. There are also seminars to attend here in the Comlab. Meanwhile Physics is running a series this week on how the LHC works, but unfortunately there's no way I'll make those, and it's not long now until this conference. Unfortunately, computer science, physics and mathematics all lie next to each other on campus. I would be much fitter if they didn't. Posted by Kea at 07:59AM (+13:00)


M Theory Lesson 266
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Thinking once again about knotted and coloured string networks, it seems that trivalent vertices on three colours are a lot like a (Tutte) dual representation of a Pauli quandle for a trefoil, where each arc of the knot is a different colour. These networks also allow crossings, such that the undercrossing preserves the colour. As a quandle rule, such colourings correspond to the action $b \circ a = a$. An example of a quandle that obeys this simple law is one generated by a single invertible operator $M$, such that $M^{n} = 1$. The quandle operation (as is usual for a group) is conjugation, and this acts trivially on $M^{k}$ because we have only powers of $M$ to play with. Without the trivalent vertices, this quandle generates $n$ separate link components, because the arcs at a crossing never mix. Posted by Kea at 08:18AM (+13:00)

Oxford Life IV
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Strangely enough, the frequent obstacles of construction work and hordes of tourists here reminds me a lot of Christchurch NZ. But in other ways, England is really very different. One is supposed to tip in restaurants (sacrebleu), an average bathroom is about the size of a bathtub, and people seem to have trouble understanding that in the southern summer there are places where it is 13 hours ahead of GMT. Meanwhile, my passport has finally wandered off into the bowels of the Home Office together with my original PhD certificate, which is nicely soiled and crumpled after its three month holiday in Wellington. Unsurprisingly, I had to fill out a long form containing almost exactly the same information they have already been given several times previously, such as the fact that I harbour no terrorist intentions or am not in any other way a person of dubious character! Posted by Kea at 06:57AM (+13:00)

The Even Prime
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The question in dimension 2 is, when defining the circulant MUB operator why do we need the complex number $i$? Why couldn't we just take the circulant $C = (1,-1)$? Well, $C$ has the obvious problem that both eigenvector columns are the same, making it useless as a basis. But let's step back and think a moment about a general circulant of the form $(1, \omega)$, where we don't know exactly what $\omega$ should be. Then conjugating on the diagonal $\sigma_{Z}$, which lists the usual spin eigenvalues, results in Now checking the independence of eigenvectors in the relation tells us that $\omega^{2} \neq 1$, namely that $-1$ is not an option. Then the eigenvalue equation tells us that $(\overline{\omega}^{2} - 1) \overline{\omega} = \omega - \overline{\omega}$,


which is to say that $\overline{\omega}^{3} = \omega$. So we simply must have that $\omega = i$, if it's an ordinary number of some sort. Posted by Kea at 10:26AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 267
Friday, March 27, 2009
Usually when playing with a category of vector spaces over a field $K$, one either puts $K = \mathbb{C}$ or one doesn't worry about the field at all. But there is a situation when finite fields are the only appropriate choice. Recall that the adjunction from Set to Vect contains a functor $G:$ Vect $\rightarrow$ Set which sends a vector space to its underlying set. Over $\mathbb{C}$ this is clearly an infinite set. So if we wanted to restrict to FinSet, the category of finite sets, there would be no way to maintain the adjunction. On the other hand, with a finite field, although a finite dimensional vector space may be large, it is still finite. Mathematicians sometimes say that finite fields are a lot like the complex numbers anyway. Without zero, the multiplicative structure is just like the roots of unity in the complex plane. And MUB matrices for finite dimensional Hilbert spaces in Mersenne prime dimensions only require finite fields. Posted by Kea at 08:30PM (+13:00)

A Stringy Universe
Saturday, March 28, 2009
As the age of blogging rolls on, people seem to be more and more enthusiastic about the prospects of string theory. Today kneemo highlights a new paper by Kallosh. Mottle continues to entertain with links to F theory, for experts only, and of course Woit somehow manages to continuously whine. Meanwhile, I have been looking again at certain stringy black holes in four dimensions whose entropy is measured by quantities that occur very naturally in the study of entanglement. One may well ask where the $d = 4$ comes from in the quantum information theory, because obviously the messy string theory derivation is quite unimportant compared to these more fundamental considerations. Well, notice that the three spatial dimensions from $d=4$ matches the number of MUBs for a qubit. Similarly, $d=5$ black holes mysteriously require qutrit states, which have four basic MUBs. Moreover, if one correctly accounts for the fourth roots in the Pauli MUB case, one might guess the dimension should be 6, which happens to be the dimension of the compactified piece in type IIB theory. So instead of ridiculous numbers of dimensions in some arbitrary classical space, we just have dimensions of Hilbert spaces. Later on I might discuss how one can rewrite this entanglement measure for three qubits in terms of symmetric $3 \times 3$ matrices with entries dependent on only 6 of the 8


amplitudes. Of course, Carl Brannen used similar operators in his paper on the hadron masses, but this paper was rejected due to the unfortunate circumstance that it had almost nothing to do with QCD. Posted by Kea at 06:51AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 268
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Tom Leinster's computation of the Euler characteristic of a (finite) category uses the $n \times n$ incidence matrix, $Z$, of the underlying graph. Let $u$ be the vector $(1,1, \cdots, 1)$ of length $n$. If there exists a vector $a = (a_1,a_2,a_3, \cdots, a_n)$ such that $Z a = u$, the Euler characteristic is given by $\chi = \sum a_{i}$ Let us try to recover the cardinality of a set from this characteristic, by generalising the set to a connected groupoid on three objects. Our favourite 3 element set will do. Now the equation shows that each hom set in the groupoid must have cardinality $1/3$ for the even weighting to work. Fortunately, this is precisely the cardinality of a group. For it to work for any number of elements $n$, this group should be something like the cyclic group of order $n$. There are $n^{2}$ such hom sets in the groupoid. Observe how the normalisation factor here has a real effect on the possibilities for hom sets. Without the $1/3$, the vector $a$ would have to be scaled, resulting in an Euler characteristic of only $1$, for any $n$. In other words, when each hom set is the trivial group the information about the cardinality of the set is lost. The simplest possible categorification of the set n therefore uses the cyclic groups. Posted by Kea at 05:50AM (+13:00)

A Stringy Universe II
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Now if stringy black holes are all about abstract entanglement, why do string theorists insist on talking about classical landscapes and awful complex analysis? After all, haven't they figured out yet that the Standard Model isn't completely right? On the other hand, then one remembers that the analysis hides a few devils. But it simply isn't acceptable to talk about gravity using such blatant prejudices about geometry, leaving one clear, horrifying option: to rewrite analysis. Topos theorists have thought quite a bit about this problem. But as simple minded physicists we can always think about it more pragmatically, trying to build up the complex numbers piece by little piece, perhaps starting with small finite fields as truth values for MUB matrix entries. A full complex Hilbert space requires an uncountable number of truth values. In this case, a $1$-ordinal heirarchy of structures isn't going to be enough to reach $\mathbb{C}$, but we must just keep on going somehow (with surreal trees and $n$-ordinals and other goodies). So the complex numbers really ought to be taboo until one


studies $\omega$-categories and multicategories, a lesson from both topology and topos theory. Posted by Kea at 08:04AM (+13:00)

Conference Heaven
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Doh, I squandered the opportunity of April 1! Anyway, the conference season kicks off this week with MFPS 25 on Friday. Then next week we have QPL 09. In June, Perimeter is running Categories, Quanta, Concepts. Gee. Nowadays there are just too many categorically minded conferences to attend! Posted by Kea at 06:10AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 269
Saturday, April 04, 2009
In M theory, viewing the $1$-ordinals as one level trees usually leads us to associahedra polytopes, which can be concretely embedded in a real number space. These real spaces are useful for analysing physically interesting integrals associated to MZVs, but the question is, what are those real spaces doing there? We don't seem to need them. The association of MZVs to patterns arising from operads is quite functorial, leading one to suspect that MZVs should be defined not from the point of view of standard analysis, but as canonical numerical invariants for categorical structures. Then one wouldn't need to discuss real backgrounds. Then, if we still cared, later one could worry about whether or not these zetas were really the same as the ones that we thought we were talking about when we felt integrals were unavoidable. Posted by Kea at 07:13PM (+13:00)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009
I have been busy (a) attending conferences and (b) thinking about nails in coffins. Posted by Kea at 05:10AM (+12:00)

Oxford Life X
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
MFPS has just ended and tomorrow we're into QPL, of more interest to AF readers. I agreed to help out with the videos, so I apologise in advance if the Pauli effect kicks in. Meanwhile, the Home Office are of course taking their time deciding whether or not I should be in the country, although I don't know how I could leave without a passport, and for reasons far, far beyond my comprehension, it seems I may have to wait another week


or so until I finally get paid in pounds. Posted by Kea at 06:07AM (+12:00)

QPL 09
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Day One of QPL 09 went relatively smoothly and there were a few interesting talks, but now I will just mention the beautiful talk by Joachim Kock on his recent work with A. Joyal. They prove a ( nerve) theorem characterising compact symmetric multicategories ( modular operads) in terms of Feynman graphs (which is an extension to the work in this paper). Recall that whereas categories are about edges (objects) and vertices (morphisms) which compose, a multicategory allows (planar) rooted tree reductions. Unrooted trees take us to cyclic operads, and finally with loops we have (undecorated) Feynman graphs, with external legs. The classical nerve theorem for ordinary categories looks at an adjunction between Cat and the category of directed graphs. A graph $G$ is sent to a category with objects the vertices and morphisms the paths in $G$. There is a certain factorization property for this adjunction that gives a functor $\Delta_{0} \rightarrow \Delta$, where $\Delta_{0}$ is the class of distance preserving maps, that is to say graphs with matching path lengths between distinct vertex sets. $\Delta$ includes certain extra diagrams. In the case of the modular operads, the theorem takes a similar form. The analogue of directed graphs here is the category of presheaves on elementary graphs (the basic building blocks). A generic map is a refinement of a star graph (with one vertex) where the vertex is replaced by another graph so that the outputs match up. But there is also a class of etale maps, or covers, such that the cover of a graph is a pullback square. Anyway, there is a monad $T$ which expands a presheaf on elementary graphs to one on all Feynman graphs. The modular operads are the $T$ algebras for this monad. Posted by Kea at 05:48AM (+12:00)

A Debate
Thursday, April 09, 2009
AF needs a link to this amusing conversation at Tommaso's place. Posted by Kea at 06:35PM (+12:00)

Cosmology 101
Friday, April 10, 2009
Louise Riofrio has never given up trying to explain to adults a varying speed of light cosmology that a child could understand. Now, thanks to the theorist Marco Frasca, Carl Brannen has observed that a varying speed of light solution to Einstein's equations res-


ults from a five dimensional Kasner metric: $\textrm{d}s^{2} = -\textrm{d}t^{2} + t(\textrm{d}x_{1}^{2} + \textrm{d}x_{2}^{2} + \textrm{d}x_{3}^{2}) + t^{-1} \textrm{d}x_{4}^{2}$ The mixture of exponents for $t$ arises from the (three dimensionally) isotropic solution conditions $\frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{2} - \frac{1}{2} = 1$ $\frac{1}{4} + \frac{1}{4} + \frac{1}{4} + \frac{1}{4} = 1$. These are like magic matrix conditions for a $4 \times 4$ matrix. The fifth dimension, which both Carl and string theorists are fond of, is necessary for these conditions to be satisfied. There is no Dark Force. Observe that the coordinate speed of light in the three spatial dimensions goes like $c = 1/ \sqrt{t}$. When taken seriously as a solution, Riofrio's equation $R=ct$ then states that universal expansion is characterized by $R = \sqrt{t}$, or $M = R^{2}$. Since this is supposed to approximate a locally emergent cosmology with T duality properties, it indicates that string theorists are wrong to think that mass should correlate with string length, something that every 5 year old quantum mechanic knows. Posted by Kea at 05:00AM (+12:00)

Friday, April 10, 2009
Jamie Vicary bet me a bottle of wine that the fairy field would be found in the next few years. Actually, he was willing to bet on the next two years, but I let him off the hook on that one. (Unfortunately, my total stakes on this question include a little wine and around ten dollars, so even I can afford to lose.) At QPL, Vicary spoke about his characterisation of the complex numbers using natural structures in dagger monoidal categories with superposition (see this paper). Superposition says that given two morphisms $f,g: A \rightarrow B$, there exists a morphism called $f+g$ and addition is commutative and associative. The crucial notion is that of a $\dagger$ limit for a diagram $D$, defined to be a limit $L$ such that the arrows $f_{S}: L \rightarrow D(S)$ satisfy $\sum f_{s} \circ f_{s}^{\dagger} = 1_{L}$, where the sum is over a set of source objects in $D$. This is a normalisation condition for superpositions. When all objects in a discrete diagram $D$ are sources, this reduces to the categorical biproduct $\oplus$. Given a category with a zero object and all finite biproducts (such as the category of Hilbert spaces) it turns out that there is a unique superposition rule. One of the things that Vicary shows is that, for a category with tensor unit $I$ and all fi-


nite dagger limits, the semiring of scalars $I \rightarrow I$ has a natural embedding into a characteristic zero field. This relies on the decomposition of any non-zero ordinal $p: I \rightarrow I$ into a diagonal arrow $I \oplus I \oplus \cdots \oplus I \rightarrow I$ and its adjoint codiagonal. So, if we want to work with finite fields of characteristic $p$, we can now identify exactly which pieces of complex number structure break down. For instance, there might be a zero map constructed from a finite diagonal and codiagonal on the unit object. Posted by Kea at 10:09PM (+12:00)

Oxford Life XI
Sunday, April 12, 2009
The mornings are still quite cold here, but the daffodils and exotic squirrels are everywhere. Conference time is over. Two prominent members of the group, Bob and Mehrnoosh, are heading off to Canada for a while. (Hmmm, I wonder what mischief we can get up to while they're gone.) Meanwhile, I am planning to move into a nice house next week, not far from work. And needless to say, the Home Office are still working on my visa application. Posted by Kea at 10:26PM (+12:00)

A Stringy Yarn
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Who would have thought this day would come? Not content to ignore Louise's latest post, The String Enterprise Unravels, our friend Mottle joins the comment section at his most charming. Although Carl and others are merely mammals, Louise and I actually earn the status of inferior humanhood! Maybe he's miffed that our blog ratings are improving. Posted by Kea at 07:52AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 270
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
In M Theory, we often talk about classical structures in the topos Set and quantum (and classical) structures in a category of vector spaces, Vect. Thus it shouldn't be surprising that quantum mechanics might have something to do with arithmetic. Consider finite dimensional vector spaces over the field with two elements. If we were to sum a plane with another plane, the four dimensional resultant space would have $2 + 2 = 4$ basis vectors. On the other hand, there would be $4 \times 4 = 16$ elements in the full space. The basis cardinality was added while the vector space cardinality was multiplied. This is not so obvious when working with spaces over infinite fields.


Now recall that the adjunction from Set to Vect was well behaved for finite fields. And we can talk about Set as the category of vector spaces over the field with one element. The forgetful functor from Vect takes the abovementioned product into a set with that many elements. So if we started with two two element sets, and chose two two dimensional spaces over the field with two elements, then we would end up with a $16$ element set of vectors in Set, along with a natural map to the four element set $2 + 2$ with which we started. Posted by Kea at 06:40AM (+12:00)

Stringy Appeal
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The most frustrasting element of the String Wars is the brick wall of the quark gluon plasma. As Mottle quite rightly points out: The minimum ratio of viscosity and the entropy density can be translated in another way: it is actually the maximum ratio of the entropy density to viscosity. For a fixed viscosity (and volume), which physical system has the highest entropy density (and therefore the net entropy)? Well, in the gravitational context we know the answer. Black holes maximize the entropy. They're the ultimate bound state of matter into which the matter collapses into, and by the second law of thermodynamics, they must maximize the entropy among all such bound systems. It is true that string theory correctly retrodicted this behaviour for plasmas. And it is also true that, under this observation, it must be well nigh impossible for a brainwashed clever string theorist to buy the idea that the physics of string theory is mostly wrong. In M Theory, we agree wholeheartedly that black hole physics dictates the behaviour of such plasmas. We disagree that classical geometry, classical symmetry principles and unobserved SUSY partners have much to do with it. The black hole entropy is described by an entanglement measure which, using category theory, may be given meaning entirely outside the world of complex geometry. Even Hilbert spaces and spectral triples disappear. In this brave new world, naive stringy extra dimensions simply count operator sets. Lagrangians are emergent. So there is a place, on the other side of that brick wall, where people are standing and shouting back, finding it impossible to believe that they could (relatively speaking) be wrong. For string theorists, there is one question: do you seriously believe that your so called theory is crazy enough? Posted by Kea at 08:33PM (+12:00)

Oxford Life XII
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Today I visited the museum across the road. There is an exhibition on the life of Darwin, focusing on the voyage of the Beagle. Unlike most such exhibitions, the building itself is part of the exhibition, with a plaque marking the place of the great debate between Bishop Wilberforce and T. H. Huxley in 1860.


In Darwin's time, ideas about natural evolution had already occurred to a number of people. The truly new feature of Darwin's theory was the idea of a common ancestor, entailing both a diversification of life over time and an increase in complexity, as a larger variety of organisms adapt to their environment. Various physicists have discussed the application of evolution to the cosmos. Unfortunately, these discussions usually involve multiverses of an alarmingly Boolean character, and a 19th century Darwinism that would have modern fans of Hegel rolling their eyes. Moreover, one could argue forever on an appropriate measure of complexity (monotone in epoch) for a classical cosmos. At the end of the day, this total denial of quantum cosmology ruins all attempts to correlate the existence of life with the special parameters of fundamental physics. Evolution would look quite different from the centre of the universe. My past is continually constructed from a complex collection of local propositions, most of which I share with other humans, although they too are but figments of the imagination. A past ancestor is a being about which I have, in some sense, more knowledge. Moreover, since your local universe is entirely your own, and not at all mine, any omnipotent creature that happens to inhabit all universes would have to be a shallow beast, its existence relying only on the thinnest common threads of our ideas. Posted by Kea at 03:02AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 271
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Having committed ourselves to finite field arithmetic for now, we remember that MUB operators use only a small set of truth values. The qubit case requires the field with five elements, whereas qutrits only require the four element field. But the factor of $i$ required in the qubit case means that one does not automatically encounter (at least in quantum mechanics) the mod $7$ multi muon arithmetic, because six dimensions uses $12$th roots of unity. However, the main obstacle to using square roots in the qubit case, namely the smallness of the number $2$, no longer applies in dimension $6$. Thus there should be a measurement operator set based on the seven element field for the important dimension six case. The interesting case from the point of view of modular mathematics is the number $24$, which initially appears for (stringy $F$ theory) dimension $12$, combining mass and spin quantum numbers. Recall that these dimensions are also counted by the triple of Riemann moduli spaces, $M_{0,6}$, $M_{1,3}$ and $M_{2,0}$, each of twistor space dimension. Posted by Kea at 06:56AM (+12:00)


Breakfast Ideas
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Breakfast at my new house is very civilised. We sit down together at the table, chat a little and eat slowly. This morning a visiting materials physicist lamented about previous unsuccessful attempts to study category theory, the usefulness of which he was anyways greatly in doubt. I promised to come up with a recommended reading list, tailored to a materials scientist, but having thought about it further today I must confess to being totally stumped. Clearly there are still some gaps to fill in the introductory category theory genre. Now we can all find the good arxiv papers and standard textbooks. Any other recommendations? These days one often comes across people in other (ie. usually not physics) departments who have some interest in category theory. I already mentioned Lawvere and Rosebrugh's book, Sets for Mathematics, to the lovely young philosopher who is studying Frege, amongst other things. And I suspect that Ross Street's book on Quantum Groups is also useful. Poor Carl is presently struggling with the ubiquitous text by the late Mac Lane. This book is very good, but perhaps not for the beginner. My favourite is Sheaves in Geometry and Logic, but that betrays a bias towards topos theory. Aside: Now you can support Abtruse Goose with this groovy cap. I thought of merchandising for funds, but unfortunately it is entirely against my green anti-materialist ethos. Maybe I'll buy a cap though. AG deserves it. Posted by Kea at 06:40AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Breakfast Ideas by:LRiofrio April 25, 2009

It looks like victory is near for Category theory. Over here the discussion are mostly about Space flight, though I try to sneak physics in wherever possible. In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn, The stately pleaure domes decree.. --Coleridge, from memory

M Theory Lesson 272
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Today at morning tea we talked, amongst other things, about neutrino symmetries. Recall that the symmetry group $A_4$ can be used to describe the tribimaximal mixing matrix, $T$, for neutrinos. We have probably neglected to point out before that $A_4$ is secretly a $2$-group, where the $2$ refers to categorical $2$-arrows. That is, $A_4$ is the group $C_{3}$ acting on the group $C_{2} \times C_{2}$. There is another order 12 group, which we will call $G$, where $C_{2} \times C_{2}$ is replaced by the only other


four element group, $C_{4}$. This reminds us of the Fourier decomposition $T = F_{3} F_{2}$. The group $C_{2}$ is generated by the Pauli swap, $\sigma_{X}$, and $C_{3}$ may be generated by the basic three dimensional permutation $(231)$. Any discrete Fourier expansion is expressed as an element of the group algebra for one of these groups. Note that these groups are also generated by the circulant operators $R_{d}$, and in dimension two $F_{2}$ also gives $C_{2}$. Then $T$ may be defined directly in terms of $A_4$ generators as $T = R_{3}F_{2}$. Now since $R_{2}$ does not generate $C_2$, but $R_{2}^{2}$ generates $C_{4}$, we can consider the alternative mixing matrix $S = R_{3} R_{2}$ as a $G$ ( non local) version of the mixing matrix. This was the matrix that vaguely resembled a root of the CKM matrix. Aside: A new paper by Harrison et al discusses the nearness of the CKM matrix to unitarity. Posted by Kea at 06:07AM (+12:00)

Quote of the Week
Saturday, April 25, 2009
In Week 201, which came up recently at the cafe, John Baez said, in relation to Galois theory, The moral is this: you can't solve a problem if the answer has some symmetry, and your method of solution doesn't let you write down a correct answer that has this symmetry! An old example of this principle is the medieval puzzle called Buridan's Ass. Placed equidistant between two equally good piles of hay, this donkey starves to death because it can't make up its mind which alternative is best. Good advice for string theorists and particle physicists, perhaps? Also check out some of Baez's cool new links. Posted by Kea at 06:30AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Quote of the Week by:CarlBrannen Nice Baez article. I'm continuing to struggle with the generalized Galois problem of fitting the magic unitary 3x3 matrices into the unitary 3x3 matrices. I'm pretty sure it's going to come down to exponentials and Lie calculations. April 25, 2009


Problem with the Matrix
Saturday, April 25, 2009
As many AF readers know, Carl Brannen has been diligently trying to solve the magic matrix decomposition problem for $3 \times 3$ unitary matrices. Now Lubos Motl very helpfully decided to solve this problem for Carl, also providing witty commentary along the lines of Let me give you some examples because they’re easier for you than mathematics. Math class is hard, Barbie. Unfortunately, he made a very elementary mistake and failed to solve the problem after all, but was somewhat annoyed, it would seem, when Carl pointed this out to him. I am informed that Carl has now been banned from Motl's blog. It is a shame that we cannot continue this fruitful collaboration because, as Carl often points out, Motl has made lasting contributions to physics with his concept of tripled Pauli statistics. We will just have to continue playing with our simple matrices alone. Posted by Kea at 11:08PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Problem with the Matrix by:Kea April 26, 2009

Dear Lubos, unfortunately I am still fairly impoverished and liquidation could only be a positive thing for me financially. Apologies if I have misunderstood the situation with regards to magic matrices. 2. Re: Problem with the Matrix by:Kea April 26, 2009

Yes, to be fair, Lubos is not mistaken that I am often quite stupid and truly obsessed with these matrices. But then I do try to forgive myself for this, since I care about the physics. And as an old dog myself, I do hope to see more young people playing with these questions. 3. Re: Problem with the Matrix by:CarlBrannen April 26, 2009

I should defend Lubos a little here. It's a matter of the difference between "from a unique" and "from the unique". He interpreted the sentence "Every unitary 3x3 matrix can be obtained from a unique magic unitary matrix by multiplying rows and columns by arbitrary complex phases." as if it had instead been "the unique magic unitary matrix" and proceeded to show that there was no such unique matrix. Mathematicians get used to speaking like this but it doesn't necessarily translate to well into physics speak. Along that line, a better way of putting it would be to write "Every unitary 3x3 matrix can be obtained uniquely from a magic unitary matrix", but the "from a unique" construct is not uncommon in mathematics. The problem with Lubos and most other professionals is that they're not attempting to obtain information in this sort of thing. They're only looking for errors, and if they can misinterpret things, so much the better, they find an error more quickly (theirs). This is


why you can't teach an old dog new tricks; their hearing is failing. 4. Re: Problem with the Matrix by:CarlBrannen April 27, 2009

Perhaps Lubos did contribute to the proof; a little infamy improved the advertising and so PhilG stepped up with a nice proof, based on the observation that a row-column phase transformation of a unitary matrix to magic form is equivalent to the much simpler problem of finding two vectors of phases u and v, such that uUv = m where U is the unitary matrix, and m is the sum for the magic unitary matrix (which, as it turns out, we might as well assume is equal to 1). However, the non constructive proof does not show that the magic matrix so obtained is unique. 5. Re: Problem with the Matrix by:Lumo April 26, 2009

Fucking crackpots, I didn't make any mistake, and I am telling you that if you won't stop with these libels spread on the Internet, I will sue you and do my best to liquidate you. 6. Re: Problem with the Matrix by:CarlBrannen April 26, 2009

By the way, the thought that Lubos would sue you or me for defaming him is multidimensionally laughable. He already has an awful reputation, neither of us has any money, he was mathematically wrong, and in any case we haven't defamed him. 7. Re: Problem with the Matrix by:aquantumdiariessurvivor April 27, 2009

From my personal experience, Lubos does occasionally admit a mistake - but only after having made it very embarassing for himself, and only if forced to do it by checking the matter with people who know better. I think neither of those clauses apply in this case, so I do not really know what you were expecting... His reaction here is quite typical, but I know that nor you nor Carl will take it too personally... Cheers, T.

M Theory Lesson 273
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Abtruse Goose tells us that for a matrix $A$, the exponential satisfies $e^{F^{-1} A F} = F^{-1} e^{A} F$ We can easily apply this to Koide matrices, which are diagonalised by the Fourier transform matrix $F_3$. It follows that a Koide matrix is an exponential of the matrix The first entry of the circulant $A$ is $\textrm{log} (\sqrt{m_1 m_2 m_3})$. Expressed in terms of the natural scale $\mu = 25.054309435 \sqrt{\textrm{MeV}}$,


the charged lepton case takes the value $\textrm{log} (\sqrt{2} + \textrm{cos}(\frac{2}{9}))(\sqrt{2} + \textrm{cos}(\frac{2}{9} + \frac{2 \pi}{3}))(\sqrt{2} + \textrm{cos}(\frac{2}{9} - \frac{2 \pi}{3}))$ which gives us more crazy numbers to play with! The ease of swapping addition for multiplication in the circulant Fourier transform is a sign that the Fourier transform might have something to do with basic arithmetic. Posted by Kea at 09:26PM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 273 by:Kea Wow, Tony, that's interesting. Let me take a look... 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 273 by:Kea April 29, 2009 April 29, 2009

OK, I had a look at the slides. Tony, to me it looks like a pile of G-string waffle about simple symmetric matrices, followed on slide 51 by the statement that the hierarchy should be m1:m2:m3 = a^4:a^2:a^1, which you know we've been talking about for a while without invoking GUTs. 3. Re: M Theory Lesson 273 by:TonySmith Kea, about matrices such as Koide, have you seen Vafa's contribution to the Atiyah 80th birthday conference ? The pdf file (54 slides) is at and slides 48 and 51 show a 3-generation mass matrix mu mc mt md ms mb me mmu mtau as 1 e e^2 e e^2 e^3 e^2 e^3 e^4 where e = 0.04 = alpha_GUT and m1 : m2 : m3 = alpha_GUT^4 : alpha_GUT^2 : 1 Maybe it might be related to arxiv 0904.3101 or maybe equations 6.25 and 7.1 of 0904.1419 but still I don't understand what Vafa is doing, so April 29, 2009


I wondered if what he is doing with matrices is close enough to what you are doing that you could explain it ? A physical question I have is: it seems to me that Vafa is using GUT physics, so does that mean that he believes that GUT theory is NOT ruled out by experimental observations such as Kamiokande etc. ? Tony

Visa Update
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Is it almost May now? Yes, I thought so. Well, today I tried to contact the correct visa section at the Border Agency, but the first phone call, after some minutes, ended up with a voice message giving me another number, and on phoning that number I was told that they were too busy to take calls. Anyway, as far as I can tell somebody there still has my passport etc, along with a perfectly valid application to extend my stay beyond some weeks ago. Posted by Kea at 05:12AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Visa Update by:Kea Actually, I was just told that my passport will soon be returned! 2. Re: Visa Update by:nige May 03, 2009 April 29, 2009

That's good news! Hope you stay as long as you can. Are you planning to attend any conferences and give talks? 3. Re: Visa Update by:Kea I don't believe it! I have my passport, with permission to stay until October! 4. Re: Visa Update by:LRiofrio April 29, 2009 April 30, 2009

It is easy to see why people are tempted to overstay their UK visa. That led to the confusion over whether Juan Carlos de Menzies (shot six times in the head with hollowpoint bullets by cowardly police) was in the UK legally or not. I am happy that you are in Oxford with scientists who question the orthodoxy, but the country around it needs a brain transplant.


M Theory Lesson 274
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tony Smith brings our attention to a recent set of slides by C. Vafa of F theory fame. Vafa is discussing some simple $3 \times 3$ matrices for neutrino and charged lepton masses and mixings. The final slide indicates a mass hierarchy of the form $m_1 : m_2 : m_3 = c^4 : c^2 : 1$ where $c$ is a characteristic GUT coupling. This expression should be familiar to AF readers, at least in the context of MUB operations. Recall that a $3 \times 3$ symmetric matrix is the sum of a symmetric 1-circulant and a 2circulant, which is automatically symmetric. Thus a symmetric matrix $M$ with first row $(c^2 , c, 1)$ may be expressed as where the second factor is itself a sum of circulants. This makes explicit the contribution from dimension $2$ that we see in the Fourier decompositions for the mixing matrices. Vafa's (neutrino) Yukawa matrix is just of this form for $a=0$ and $c$ a cubed root of unity. Posted by Kea at 12:18AM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 274 by:kneemo May 01, 2009

Maybe they will some day discover CP2 after realizing that the standard explanations for family replication might be wrong...CP^2 also arises in supergravity, as the projective charge space of a class of N=2 extremal black holes. The symmetries of the black hole are just the symmetries of CP^2. However, for some reason in the literature, CP^2 is not mentioned explicitly. Instead, only the black hole orbits are given explicitly, in terms of quotient groups. Perhaps Vafa's work will be trend changing and people will become more comfortable discussing the projective space first and its symmetries later. 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 274 by:Kerie Hi Marni I hear via MyFace that you have a visa extension. Yay... clapping...whistling...wooohoooo...... Kerie 3. Re: M Theory Lesson 274 by:Kea April 30, 2009 April 30, 2009

Hi Kerie! Yes, hard to believe that after 4 or 5 months that I finally have a real visa! 4. Re: M Theory Lesson 274 by:MattiPitkanen April 30, 2009

In Lubos's blog I learned that F theorists are finally realizing that complex projective spaces might be physically and mathematically interesting. Maybe they will some day


discover CP2 after realizing that the standard explanations for family replication might be wrong, that color might not be what is believed to be, that space-time might be 4-D after all, and so on. The question is whether they willing to learn these lessons if someone has already done it? Isn't it disappointing to discover something wonderful and find that some idiot did it for decades ago?

What has led to astray is the lack of any kind of physical principles. The basic flaw was the assumption that GUTs are appropriate QFT limit of any unification. This is certainly the dullest possible working hypothesis involving absolutely minimum amount of imagination. As a consequence F-theorists are filling hep-th with incredibly baroque constructions in order just to reproduce SU(5) GUT! The saying about mountains giving birth to mice fits here very well. That Einstein with purely conceptual thinking was able to develop a theory whose supersymmetric version might be UV finite shows how incredibly important it is to base the theoretical activities to some physical principles. Yes, I know that it is useless to preach for an audience that is sleeping. The intellectual activity in every field of life comes in bursts followed by long periods of stagnation. Consciousness theorist inside me says that this is kind of fractal counterpart of sleepawake cycle so that one must just tolerate the snoring. 5. Re: M Theory Lesson 274 by:Kea April 30, 2009

Isn't it disappointing to discover something wonderful and find that some idiot did it for decades ago?LOL, Matti. But I am sure that in the time honoured tradition of string theory, they will simply completely ignore the 20 or 30 years of work that went before them and tell everyone that it was their idea.

Quick Update
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Hat tip to Carl for the link to this nice new talk by Bob Coecke at PI. Not long til this conference now. And they're letting me attend this conference too! Back in Oxford, there are still plenty of seminars to attend. This afternoon, Steve Simon gave a beautiful talk (on TQFTs, the Kauffman invariant and why string theory is wrong ... OK, so he didn't use those words exactly), starting with the story of Lord Kelvin and Peter Tait, who first developed knot theory on the motivation that knots in the aether should have fundamental physical significance. And today being May Day, I was up at 5am to join the crowds under the Magdalen tower. Posted by Kea at 06:10AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Quick Update


by:Kea P.S. Bob, it's re-see-pee - not re-cipe. 2. Re: Quick Update by:LRiofrio

May 02, 2009

May 02, 2009

Great that you are coming to Perimeter in May. The cosmic constant indeed has a problem, one of non-existence. When you get back to Oxford, maybe you will see Subir talk on June 22. (He doesn't believe in "dark energy.") The June 29 talk on "Alternatives to Standard Cosmology" looks interesting, but I may be elsewhere that day. In 1874 the same Lord Kelvin and Tait published a paper claiming the speed of light is slowing down! "Knots in the aether" shows that strings and dark energies are not even new ideas. 3. Re: Quick Update by:CarlBrannen May 04, 2009

Check out 0905.0030, How Well Do We Know the Orbits of the Outer Planets? It shows that the pioneer anomaly could be present in the outer planets as well but we'd never know it from the observations we've made so far. 4. Re: Quick Update by:TonySmith May 05, 2009

Carl, thanks for mentioning the Pioneer anomaly paper 0905.0030 by Page et al about the outer planets. I had just recently put up a paper on the web (not on arXiv due to blacklisting) about the Pioneer anomaly. It is at and a mirror site at (sorry for the long URLs) Tony 5. Re: Quick Update by:Kea Thanks for the link Tony. Kepler would be proud. You know, it's not hard to learn how to make a link ... 6. Re: Quick Update by:Kea You see! Even old dogs can learn new tricks! Cute picture of the deer. There are actually deer at Magdalen College, which has extensive gardens. 7. Re: Quick Update by:Anonymous See these war time poems from Oxford. 8. Re: Quick Update May 05, 2009 May 05, 2009 May 05, 2009


by:TonySmith Sorry that the URLs were too long to show up.

May 05, 2009

Here they are with a line break (which must be removed) to make them visible: My Pioneer paper is at SarfattiCastroPioneerKepler.pdf and a mirror site at SarfattiCastroPioneerKepler.pdf Tony Tony 9. Re: Quick Update by:TonySmith Kea, you said "it's not hard to learn how to make a link". That is easy for you to say you are young (old folks like me have a hard time learning new things and what ability we have is used up dealing with social security and medicare) and female (women are smarter than men - and hugely exponentially smarter than the men who don't know that). Tony PS - If I had to guess how to do it, I would guess to "use some HTML tags" but I tend to mess up such stuff since for many years I have not done much explicit HTML coding for web stuff, as I am using Claris Home Page 3.0 (Mac Classic) for my web site work, which I guess shows how archaic I am. 10. Re: Quick Update by:TonySmith OK, I will try a doing link because I need to do it to ask a question. Kea, you mentioned the Magdalen tower. What is the symbolism of this image image from the web site of Magdalen College Oxford ? Tony PS - I tried to use IMG SRC as a tag, but I got what I expected from my previous comment: "Your HTML cannot be acccepted: Tag is not allowed", May 05, 2009 May 05, 2009


so even if this (my second attempt at this post of this comment) works, I feel that this stuff is beyond my abilities. 11. Re: Quick Update by:Kea May 02, 2009

Yes, I also had trouble with the cooking show, Carl. And I would say potato carrot mash, not mush. Hi Louise. Well, I do confess to actually having a little to do with Subir Sarkar giving a talk in our department. And of course I am looking forward to it. 12. Re: Quick Update by:CarlBrannen May 02, 2009

The part I had trouble understanding was what a "pot" and a "car" were in the cooking. After several hours of playing the tape over and over, I figured out that these were abbreviations for the main ingredients in the potato / carrot mush recipe.

Congratulations Tommaso
Monday, May 04, 2009
Congratulations to Tommaso Dorigo for obtaining tenure in Italy! Posted by Kea at 11:17PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Congratulations Tommaso by:LRiofrio Congrats to Tommaso! I hope to say so in person sometime. 2. Re: Congratulations Tommaso by:aquantumdiariessurvivor thank you sweety. I'll buy you a beer very soon! Cheers, T. May 05, 2009 May 07, 2009

M Theory Lesson 275
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Last time we saw how a symmetric magic matrix could be decomposed into one three dimensional and one two dimensional piece. Sadly, AF has neglected to mention some lovely properties of Combescure matrices, acting via conjugation. For example, on the two dimensional circulant piece we have so $R_3$ simply permutes the indices. And recall that $R_3$, being a $1$-circulant, fixes any $1$-circulant. On three dimensional $2$circulants it acts like the basic permutation operator $(231)$. That is, $R_3$ naturally encodes several permutation actions. Posted by Kea at 02:12AM (+12:00)


1. Re: M Theory Lesson 275 by:kneemo May 05, 2009

Yup, this is how triality arises for cubic Jordan algebras. If you were working over the octonions, you'd be mapping between the three equivalent ways of embedding SO(9) into the exceptional group F4. SO(9) in string/M-theory is the light-cone little group, which classifies the massless degrees of freedom of D=11 supergravity, with a triplet of representations. SO(9) can arise in a quantum information context in a novel way by extending Duff and Ferarra's extremal black hole/qutrit correspondence, where the three equivalent ways of embedding SO(9) correspond to the three ways of rotating the black hole qutrit computational basis in J(3,O), a twenty-seven dimensional real Hilbert space. 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 275 by:Kea May 05, 2009

Excellent, kneemo. And as far as the underlying category theory is concerned, octonions are just as nice as complex numbers. I'm just too stupid to be adept at manipulating nonassociative operators.

M Theory Lesson 276
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Thanks to Phil for commenting about magic matrices and MUB operators. The interaction of the matrix $R_3$ with the Fourier operator $F_3$ is expressed in relations such as where all entries have the same norm, and under normalisation are just phases. Note that $2 + \overline{\omega} = 1 - \omega$. The odd phase differs from the other phase by a special angle. The moduli of these matrices are all permutation matrices, which are also trivially magic with row sum $1$. The special angle, in radians, is given by $\theta = 0.2928428$, which corresponds to a sin squared of $1/12$. Actually, the phase difference is $\pi - 2 \theta$. By cubing $1 - \omega$, we see that the basic phase here is just $\pi/6$, a $12$th root. Unsurprisingly, the value of $\textrm{sin} \theta$ also turns up in the Fourier transform of the neutrino tribimaximal mixing matrix in circulant form. Posted by Kea at 08:07PM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 276 by:PhilG May 06, 2009

I believe I now have a full (non-constructive) solution to your matrix decomposition problem which you can find in the comments on Carl's blog. I'll try to put it into a more coherent form, so that you or Carl can check it and use it as you wish. 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 276 by:Anonymous May 07, 2009


would you wish to elborate? when i first saw the paper i thought 'crackpot' perhaps to my own discredit. But on further inspection, albeit brief, im not so sure, though far be it for an amateur such as myself to judge the veracity of the claims made there-in. Oh, and please excuse my ignorance on these matters, im just a interested outsider trying to get an insiders perspective. Im fascinated by these sorts of thngs and am reliant on those better positioned to explain the more technical and abstruse aspects of the subject : ) Chris 3. Re: M Theory Lesson 276 by:Anonymous May 07, 2009

Hey Kea, how are you? hope this isnt too off topic but i wasnt sure where else to put it lol i was just wondering what your opinion was on the work of Joy Christian (of Oxford and the Perimeter Institute, particualrly his latest paper on the subject of entanglement,'Disproofs of Bell, GHZ, and Hardy Type Theorems and the Illusion of Entanglement' ( ) Your thoughts and opinion would be greatly appreciated. Take care, Chris 4. Re: M Theory Lesson 276 by:CarlBrannen May 08, 2009

Latest PI lecture from Bob Coecke is available at the Perimeter Institute. I think what is needed here is a set of non trivial examples of what is going on. I think the central concept is that of elimination of summation in favor of cross products and product of composition. I'll write up a blog post on it. One of the problems with summation as used in QM is that it doesn't work in the density operator formalism I prefer. I've heard all the arguments in favor of it, and I can write down examples where it is supposed to be critically important but actually is not needed at all. For example, the concept of "quantum interference" where there are two paths that interfere with each other. It's hard to get people to deny that summation is a part of reality when they see those nice interference patterns. But interference is something that happens to wave functions when you add them together. This is not possible in pure density operator formalism, but it's a fact that density operators generate all the same results as the usual state vector form. To get that sort of example to be finite, you make the number of interfering legs finite. The other typical examples are spin-1/2 particles. Meanwhile, I'm still spinning along on CKM and MNS matrices. I've got the Pauli algebra MUBs built into 3x3 matrices of projection operators and have verified the annihilation and idempotency equations. 5. Re: M Theory Lesson 276 by:Kea I disagree with these conclusions. Category theory is much more elegant. 6. Re: M Theory Lesson 276 by:Kea May 10, 2009 May 07, 2009

Gee Phil, sorry we didn't acknowledge your excellent work sooner! I have been rather busy, shoe shopping and filling out my new social calendar. Carl, I have been thinking about qubits and projective geometry, and no doubt so has



GRB 090423
Saturday, May 09, 2009
The first article I saw on GRB 090423 was dated April 1, but as outrageous as it seems from the point of view of Dark Age cosmology, I knew it was real. After all, Louise has been explaining for years that the early universe contained large black holes. This new GRB boggles the mind, smashing previous records with a whopping redshift of 8.2. Posted by Kea at 05:45AM (+12:00)

1. Re: GRB 090423 by:MattiPitkanen There are two approaches to the formation of structures. In the conformistic approach based on slightly deformed Minkowski space as the arena of physics structures are formed gradually as Robertson Walker cosmology develops perturbations. In second approach- about which TGD is example about- structures are there all the time as the topology of space-time sheets and become gradually visible. In TGD framework cosmic strings- space-time surfaces which are extremely thin string like objects- dominate in the very early cosmology and are basically responsible for the formation of structures. During cosmic expansion they gradually transform to thicker magnetic flux tube like structures carrying weaker magnetic fields. The microscopic description of black holes in TGD relies on string like objects. The amount of mass inside a sphere containing tangled string is indeed naturally proportional to its radius. Although strings as fundamental objects are replaced by 3-D light-like surfaces in TGD Universe, string like structures are predicted to appear in all length scales - even nuclear physics in TGD Universe relies on nuclear strings formed by nucleons connected by color bonds with quark and antiquark at their ends- and can be related directly to the existing physics. This explains also the existence of primordial magnetic fields, which are a complete May 09, 2009


mystery in the first approach. 2. Re: GRB 090423 by:LRiofrio May 09, 2009

Thanks again for the link. Since our oppressors are going down in flames, we are doing quite well. I hope the latest post makes a positive difference. 3. Re: GRB 090423 by:Kea May 09, 2009

Hi Louise and Matti. Yes, there does seem to be a clear divide on structure formation between what I would call the correct quantum cosmologies, and the conventional classical approaches. Presumably the next few years will turn up piles of such evidence.

Saturday, May 09, 2009
A while back, Lieven Le Bruyn linked to an article on the story of Ramanujan and Hardy and the number 1729. In 1919, Ramanujan knew instantly that 1729 was an interesting number, because it may be expressed in two ways as $1^{3} + 12^{3} = 9^{3} + 10^{3}$. On being pressed further, Ramanujan did not know the smallest number that may be expressed as a sum of two fourth powers, although Euler had solved this problem. But there is a good reason why 1729 is more natural. Recall that Pythagorean triples solve equations of the form $x^{2} + y^{2} = z^{2}$ because they form three sides of an irregular triangle, whose lengths are expressed as areas of squares. So the simplest cubic analogue should be about volumes on the faces of a tetrahedron. And as every category theorist knows, tetrahedra are naturally marked by face pairs, with a three dimensional arrow going between face compositions. Let's try to match the Ramanujan quadruple $(1,12,9,10)$ to volumes associated to the faces of a tetrahedron. Each edge of the tetrahedron must correspond to a distinct pair of numbers, like $(9,12)$. The opposite edge corresponds to the conjugate pair, which for $(9,12)$ is $(1,10)$. We could choose the tetrahedron with edge lengths equal to, say, the average of the numbers in the edge pair, but there ought to be a right angled tetrahedron for the Ramanujan numbers. This tetrahedron would have three Pythagorean faces and one skew face. Now the smallest Pythagorean triple $(3,4,5)$ provides a right angled tetrahedron with edge lengths $(1,3,4,5, \sqrt{10} , \sqrt{17})$. The Ramanujan triangles would have to be $(1,3, \sqrt{10})$ $(3,4,5)$ $(5, \sqrt{10}, \sqrt{17})$ $(1,4, \sqrt{17})$


which is kind of cute, since $10 - 1 = 9$, $17 - 16 = 1$, $10 + 17 - 25 = 2$ and so on. Posted by Kea at 11:05PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Taxicabs by:Kea May 10, 2009

Hi Kerie. The first link has the taxi story. I hope the knitting is progressing well, since winter is on the way. 2. Re: Taxicabs by:Kerie May 10, 2009

oh i thought there was going to be an interesting anecdote on taxis :( I'll go back to my knitting 3. Re: Taxicabs by:PhilG LOL! That's the way to do it. Actually it is quite useful to map number theory problems to polytopes or graphs to help you think about their symmetries in that way, even if the equations themselves dont have a perfect geometric interpretation like the pythagorean triples do. Many years ago I got interested in a number theory problem that dates back to Diophantus. He was looking for sets of four numbers such that the product of any two is one less than a square. You can see how that problem maps very nicely to a tetrahedron. After a long time I realised that the problem has a natural generalisation where the geometric structure is a cube with the embedded tetrahedron giving the special case. You then find that the 2x2x2 hyperdeterminant is key to solving the problem. I put a paper about it on the arxiv back in the days when they accepted submissions from nonentities like me. It got cited by Duff et al when they found the relationship between hyperdterminants and string dualities. I found that hilariously ironic because I had always been miffed that string theorists never cited my work on string theory! 4. Re: Taxicabs by:PhilG May 11, 2009 May 12, 2009

Its difficult to get a good geometric interpretation of the Ramanujan quadruple and perhaps your description uses the tetrahedron in more of a combinatorical sense than a geometric one. In fact the areas of the faces can be related using their squares. I.e. if A, B, C, D are the areas of the faces with A,B and C being for the right angled triangles and D the acute traingle, then the relation is D^2 = A^2 + B^2 + C^2 (use heron's formula for easy algebraic proof) You can also make a tetrahedron where all four face triangles are right angled and the area relationship comes out as A^2 + B^2 = C^2 + D^2 5. Re: Taxicabs by:Kea May 11, 2009


Hi Phil Duh! The completely right angled tetrahedron must be the right one. Then we can take 9 to the 2/3 etc to get numbers from the Ramanujan set. Nice.

Twistor Seminar
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Today David Skinner entertained us with a talk about recent work on recursion relations in twistor theory, being careful to point out that the new geometrical aspects of this viewpoint on scattering amplitudes are quite different to those of the original string theory setting. For those of us who don't like integrals, there were some nice diagrams of triangulated polygons. Apparently Andrew Hodges put a new paper on the arxiv today explaining how amplitudes could be related to simple polytopes in a twistor space, but it hasn't materialised yet. Perhaps tomorrow. Meanwhile, I have a nice pair of new shoes! Posted by Kea at 05:13AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Twistor Seminar by:nige May 12, 2009

(Sorry for typos in my comment: "... In fact of course, ..." and for the apostrophe in "it's" in "less esoteric, its assumptions", if apostrophes are only permitted to signify a dropped letter. I keep forgetting the rules.) 2. Re: Twistor Seminar by:nige Thanks also for the link to the paper by Lionel Mason and David Skinner, I'm kind of surprised by the fact that they are doing scattering amplitudes with twistors. The SM already predicts scattering amplitudes very accurately, so why do that? Surely the thing to do is to use twistors to work on fundamental problems not addressed by the SM, e.g. (1) Foundational issues in QM/QFT like alternatives to the picture of a particle as a piece of string; (2) Predicting masses of particles (I know Carl Brannen is working on this with matrices, density operators and a generalized Koide formula, but despite progress I think there are still some unresolved interpretation issues); and (3) quantum gravity. 3. Re: Twistor Seminar by:nige May 13, 2009 May 12, 2009


"Twistor diagrams inspire also more ambitious ideas. The notion of plane wave is usually taken as given but twistors suggest as basic objects the analogs of light-rays which are waves completely localized in directions transverse to momentum direction. These are perfectly ok quantum objects since de-localization still takes place in the direction of momentum." - Matti Pitkanen Thanks for those links Matti. I'm deeply interested in the application of twistors to spin-1 massless particles such as real and virtual photons. Feynman points out that from the success of path integrals, light uses a small core of space where the phase amplitudes for paths add together instead of cancelling out, so if that core overlaps two nearby slits the photon diffracts through both the slits: ‘Light ... uses a small core of nearby space. (In the same way, a mirror has to have enough size to reflect normally: if the mirror is too small for the core of nearby paths, the light scatters in many directions, no matter where you put the mirror.)’ – R. P. Feynman, QED, Penguin, 1990, page 54. Feynman's approach is that any light source radiates photons in all directions, along all paths, but most of those cancel out due to interference. The amplitudes of the paths near the classical path reinforce each other because their phase factors, representing the relative amplitude of a particular path, exp(-iHT) = exp(iS) where H is the Hamiltonian (kinetic energy in the case of a free particle), and S is the action for the particular path measured in quantum action units of h-bar (action S is the integral of the Lagrangian field equation over time for a given path). Because you have to integrate the phase factor exp(iS) over all paths to obtain the resultant overall amplitude, clearly radiation is being exchanged over all paths, but is being cancelled over most of the paths somehow. The phase factor equation models this as interferences without saying physically what process causes the interferences. One simple guess would be that an electron when radiates sends out radiation in all directions, along all possible paths, but most of this gets cancelled because all of the other electrons in the universe around it are doing the same thing, so the radiation just gets exchanged, cancelling out in 'real' photon effects. (The electron doesn't lose energy, because it gains as much by receiving such virtual radiation as it emits, so there is equilibrium). Any "real" photon accompanying this exchange of unobservable (virtual) radiation is then represented by a small core of uncancelled paths, where the phase factors tend to add together instead of cancelling out. Is the twistor nature of a particle like a photon compatible with this simple interpretation of the path integral for things like the double slit experiment, and virtual photons (the path integral for the coulomb force between charges)? I'm wondering whether the circulatory motion around the direction of propagation in twistors will cause the interferences and cancellation when they are exchanged in both directions between two charges, thus making virtual photons or gauge bosons invisibly apart from their role in causing forces? 4. Re: Twistor Seminar by:MattiPitkanen May 12, 2009

Twistors allow an impressive organization of ordinary Feynman diagrams of gauge theories. Instead of calculating an immense number of individual diagrams you get their sum as single twistor diagram. The minimal function for twistor diagrams would be this kind of organization.


Twistor diagrams inspire also more ambitious ideas. The notion of plane wave is usually taken as given but twistors suggest as basic objects the analogs of light-rays which are waves completely localized in directions transverse to momentum direction. These are perfectly ok quantum objects since de-localization still takes place in the direction of momentum. Parton picture in QCD strongly suggest them physically. Also quantum classical correspondence becomes especially clear for them: quantum states in particle experiment would really look what they do look in laboratory. There are excellent reasons to expect that IR divergences of gauge theories are eliminated by transverse localization. The condition that twistor structure exists in space-time is also quite a constraint and suggests strongly that higher dimensional theories should use M^4xS type space so that the higher-dimensional space would not be dynamical. M^4 of course has also other marvelous properties: light-cone boundary in M^4 is metrically 2-D and allows generalized conformal invariance (I wonder how many times I have said this without absolutely any effect on colleagues: they simply cannot take me seriously for the fraction of minute needed to realize "Hey, this guy is right!"). In spirit of twistorialization program of Penrose I proposed some time ago how spacetime surfaces representing preferred extremals of Kaehler action in M^4xCP_2 and coding locally basic data for light rays (local momentum direction and polarization essential for twistor concept) could be lifted to holomorphic surfaces in 12-D TxCP_2 or 10-D PTxCP_2. The surprise was that for surfaces which are not representable as graphs of a map M^4->CP_2 ("non-pertubative phase" for which QFT in M^4 description does not make sense) the surfaces would have dimension higher than 4: D=6,8,10. Maybe there is a connection with branes of M-theory and TGD.

Twistors are also highly powerful idea generators. Twistor concept led through a rather funny interlude to the realization that QFT limit of TGD must be based on Dirac action coupled to gauge bosons without any YM action. The counterpart of YM action is generated radiatively so that all gauge couplings are predicted provided the loop integration can be carried out so that divergences disappear. Gauge boson propagator would have standard form apart for normalization factor which represents square of gauge coupling. The basic problem is definition of the cutoff of momentum integration and zero energy ontology and p-adic length scale hypothesis force this cutoff physically and allow a geometric interpretation for it in terms of fractal hierarchy of causal diamonds within causal diamonds. Theory produces realistically the basic aspects of coupling constant evolution for standard model gauge couplings apart from gauge boson loops. The values of fine structure constant at electron and intermediate boson length scale fix the two parameters - call them a and b, characterizing the cutoff in hyperbolic angle to two very natural values. b is exponent and exactly equal to b=1/3 by argument based on analyticity (no fractional powers of logarithms). Second one is coefficient equal to a=0.22050469512552 if fine structure constant is required exactly in electron length scale (this means of course over accuracy). Taking analyticity argument seriously, one can say that fine structure constant is predicted in intermediate gauge boson length scale. It turned out that massivation of gauge bosons occurs unless the hyperbolic cutoffs for time-like and space-like momenta are related in a unique manner. The hyperbolic cutoff is the ad hoc element of the model, and the next project is to find whether the proposed model in which quantum criticality would fix the UV cutoff in hyperbolic angle really does


it and whether it leads to the hyperbolic cutoff forced by the values of fine structure constant at electron and intermediate gauge boson length scale. This involves rather heavy numerical calculations using rather primitive tools (just MATLAB from a friend (University of course cannot help!), no symbol manipulation packages, no young left-brainy students) and represents quite a challenge for my 58 year old badly right-halved brain. I have organized the work on twistors and emergence of gauge boson propagators to two new chapters: Twistors, N=4 Super-Conformal Symmetry, and Quantum TGD and Quantum Field Theory Limit of TGD from Bosonic Emergence of "Towards M-matrix". 5. Re: Twistor Seminar by:LRiofrio May 13, 2009

This post reminded me of Penrose's book too. He is wisely skeptical of inflation and other "trendy" theories. Congratulations on the shoes! Speaking of British; I must wear black leather boots with spike heels; a post about that is coming. 6. Re: Twistor Seminar by:nige May 12, 2009

(Sorry for all the comments, and please accept apologies for my ignorance if I'm misguided.) 7. Re: Twistor Seminar by:CarlBrannen Marni, check out the matrices in this paper. 8. Re: Twistor Seminar by:nige May 12, 2009 May 12, 2009

Wow, of course Oxford is home to Sir Roger Penrose and thus home to the twistor theory! I had forgotten. I love the rotating toroidal illustration of a twistor in The Road to Reality 2004, and find it more physically appealing for how electrons spin and radiate gauge bosons to give their intrinsic dipole magnetic moments, than extradimensional strings. Strings would be nice if their oscillations would predict numerical masses that could be checked, but of course the Calabi-Yau manifold to compactify the 6 extra spatial dimensions has about 100 unknown moduli that can together take maybe 10^500 or (more likely in my view) infinity combinations of values. An equation "predicting particle masses" with 100 unknowns describing 6 unobservably small Planck scale compactified dimensions in a Calabi-Yau manifold is as useless a thing imaginable, even if string theory could derive such an equation. I fact of course, it doesn't do that: the 100 or so moduli have to be stabilized with Rube-Goldberg machines of some kind and there are no certain proofs of what string theory really is, so even if we could probe the Planck scale and get data on the moduli of the compactified extra spatial dimensions, there would not be a cut-and-dried physical model with which to calculate particle masses. It would remain religion, even if we could see the Planck scale, as far as I can see. At least twistor theory is less esoteric, it's assumptions are less speculative. It's not trying to reconcile a unification speculation with a quantum gravity speculation, using other speculations (extra spatial dimensions).


I hope that Dr Andrew Hodges' exciting new paper on twistors isn't censored and

banned by the powers that be (Distler et al.) at arXiv headquarters. (New shoes? I thought there was a dress code for all mathematicians in Oxford in the summer: sandals with socks?? One other question, does Sir Roger Penrose hang out around the maths department there ever, or is he permanently retired now he's in his late 70s???)

Twistor Seminar II
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Ah! Here is the new paper by Andrew Hodges. Posted by Kea at 08:16PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Twistor Seminar II by:Kea May 13, 2009

Nigel, if you want to write so much, please use your own blog. There is such a thing as blog ettiquette. 2. Re: Twistor Seminar II by:Kea All right, thanks a lot, Nigel. Your enthusiasm is appreciated. 3. Re: Twistor Seminar II by:nige May 13, 2009 May 13, 2009

Hi Kea, I'm sorry my suggestion was long and off the scattering amplitudes topic, I've moved it here.

M Theory Lesson 277
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The close connection between MUBs and finite fields makes one wonder how to properly state categorical axioms for modular arithmetic. As far as I can tell, this issue is far from resolved in the literature. For example, in the topos Set the natural number object contains finite sets as subsets, but the axioms of arithmetic rely on the infinite object. Recall that one dream for logoses is to understand an ordinal $n$ as an elementary category, independently of larger numbers. Just taking oriented simplices, for instance, doesn't say anything at all about modular arithmetic, basically because one never imagines pieces of space disappearing under addition! How can we hope to understand the complex numbers if we don't even understand finite fields? Posted by Kea at 04:25AM (+12:00)


Happy Journey
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Good luck to Herschel and Planck, due to launch in about five hours. Posted by Kea at 08:14PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Happy Journey by:LRiofrio May 16, 2009

Good luck to both of them! WMAP has measured the proportion of baryonic matter as 4.4 +/- 0.3%. Planck should narrow that down to =/- 0.1%, closer to the prediction of 4.507034%.

Force of Gravity
Friday, May 15, 2009
Congratulations to Carl Brannen for winning an honourable mention in the prestigious Gravity Research Foundation essay contest, with a paper entitled The Force of Gravity in Schwarzschild and Gullstrand-Painleve Coordinates. And good luck with the publishing ... hmmm. Of course even I shudder automatically at the idea of gravity as a Force, but that is why this work is a perfect example of the triumph of pragmatism over obtuse abstraction, a philosophical subject that will be discussed in an interesting seminar here this afternoon by Harvey Brown. In the end, it's the job of a physicist to make things straightforward, and the picture of graviton exchange is something that any schoolkid could understand. Posted by Kea at 08:57PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Force of Gravity by:CarlBrannen May 15, 2009

Marni, I think the reason we work well together (i.e. MNS and CKM) is the combination of pragmatism and abstraction. I wonder what it would be like if I could understand 75% of what you write rather than the current level of around 33%. I'm sure there's some gems in there that need faceting. 2. Re: Force of Gravity by:Kea May 16, 2009

If they didn't have a common thread, we wouldn't have been talking to each other for years now! And it makes me happy to see a prize committee reward someone who thinks GR is, well, kind of garbage. 3. Re: Force of Gravity



May 16, 2009

The thing about most of modern physics is that it's based not on abstraction so much as on symmetry. GR is the most pronounced of this. One of the odd features of the category approach to QM is that it avoids talking about symmetrization and antisymmetrization. So these sorts of ideas do have a common thread. 4. Re: Force of Gravity by:antimatter33 May 19, 2009

GR is NOT "kind of garbage" - this is too false to even refute. Rmn = 0 is a perfectly good equation and perfectly aligned with what is seen. And GR is not based on symmetry. It is based on a principle that geometry is part of physics - that the stage is part of the play. I can't believe how much trash is heaped on Einstein by people who have not the faintest idea of what he really did. This goes for the church of the Big Bang and Inflation as much as it does for those who say "GR is garbage". I have worked on this problem for twenty-five years and I can tell you it is not garbage. I suggest you read Weyl and Cooperstock. And maybe Einstein. -drl 5. Re: Force of Gravity by:CarlBrannen May 22, 2009

"perfectly aligned with what is seen" The problem is that it's incompatible with QM, and what's seen is only to first order. The symmetry principle for GR is "universality of freefall". The basic problem is that symmetry principles are nothing more than sophisticated curve fitting. Any fool can take a set of experimental observations, fit a curve to them, call it a "symmetry" or a "principle" and then derive predictions from it. "It is based on a principle that geometry is part of physics ..." The best definition of the geometry of spacetime is given by quantum mechanics. This is Clifford / geometric algebra and GR does not use it. If you want a theory based on geometry, you can't use the theory to define the geometry. That's circular reasoning. Instead, you must define the theory from something else, and then derive the theory from the geometry. (See my essay for more on this topic.) "... by people who have not the faintest idea of what he really did." I just picked up an honorable mention at the annual gravitation essay contest. The subject of my essay was a new theory of gravity. You can't do that without knowing the old theory. "I have worked on this problem for twenty-five years and I can tell you it is not garbage." This is the same thing that the classical mechanics people were saying just before QM and relativity showed that they were inadequate. But classical mechanics still has a wide range of application, soon GR will be obsolete. 6. Re: Force of Gravity by:LRiofrio Congratulations to Carl! This gives hope to all of us. May 16, 2009


7. Re: Force of Gravity by:Kea Well, I missed that hour, lol! Anyway, I'm sure the talk went well. 8. Re: Force of Gravity by:nige Well done Carl! 9. Re: Force of Gravity by:CarlBrannen

May 17, 2009

May 16, 2009

May 17, 2009

Kea, the more I think about it, I think I might have got some cash if I'd just turned in the exact solution to the post Newtonian Expansion instead of going on about what gravity is made of. By the way, I'm connected to the internet at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. Getting across the border wasn't as bad as I expected. They even let my beat-up teen-aged Mazda Miata across. I'm giving a talk, will mention you as being involved with this project. If you have objections better make them fast; it's in an hour. (From my reading, I understand that it is customary to shave the heads of collaborators. I've already had the operation.) 10. Re: Force of Gravity by:Kea May 22, 2009

drl, you must have noticed the connection between your SO(3,3) and twistor geometry. Now imagine working with the more abstract sheaf cohomology of twistor theory (for years and years) and then the more abstract category theory behind it (for years and years) and then finding that this is a lot like quantum mechanics (over years and years). Don't you think that's interesting?

M Theory Lesson 278
Sunday, May 17, 2009
MUBs tell us to focus on the finite fields $F_{q}$, where $q = p^{n}$ is a prime power. For a fixed $p$, the inverse limit of these fields is the ring of $p$-adic integers. This gadget has the annoying property of being uncountable, and is responsible for the beautiful fractals that naturally describe embeddings of $p$-adic numbers in the complex plane. From a logos perspective, the axioms for fields are rather messy, and they should not be considered in the context of ordinary sets. Set theory doesn't even know the difference between the continuum cardinality and other choices, so why do we use it to inspire definitions of categories? Actually, category theorists have thought about this for a long time, and there are many kinds of category capable of all the important things that sets are capable of, but which aren't at all like the usual category of sets. M theorists need to learn more about these alternatives. For example, today David Corfield brings our attention to the concept of pretopos. If one delves a little into this idea, the rationals and finite fields start to look even more remote from the (not uniquely defined) reals than they do in a topos! Posted by Kea at 01:31AM (+12:00)


1. Re: M Theory Lesson 278 by:MattiPitkanen May 17, 2009

Amusing to see that p-adic fractals have been finally found by mathematicians. I studied the continuous mapping x= sum_nx_np^n--->sum_n x_np^(-n) from p-adics to reals for 15 years ago and made plots also about 2-dimensional maps for complex extensions of p-adics for p=2,5,7. Illustrations can be found here My original belief was that the inverse map (not completely unique) would allow to map real space-time surfaces to their p-adic counterparts and vice versa. The idea failed because the map did not respect isometries. The map however makes sense for p-adic variants of probabilities in p-adic thermodynamics. Maybe I must wait one decade more to before mathematicians realize that p-adics and reals can be glued to together along common rationals (and also selected algebraics) to form a larger structure and that the notion of manifold generalizes in this manner.

Angels and Demons
Sunday, May 17, 2009
The film Angels and Demons, although based on the novel by Dan Brown, alters the original plot in fascinating ways. Spoiler warning. The explosive antimatter from the LHC belongs to Vittoria, elevated from her original role as an adopted daughter (who needs rescuing later in the story) to an esteemed collaborator (and active experimentalist) of the murdered physicist running the containment experiment. Tom Hanks also arrives at the Vatican, where the ambiguously evil boss of the Vatican, supposedly dealing with the recent death of his beloved pope, is horrified by the arrogance of the scientists who think they can say something about the moment of creation. The God Particle features several times in the script. And we get a fair dose of Tom Hanks expertly studying an unknown manuscript by Galileo, who is supposed to be one of the founders of the secret society of The Illuminati, whose modern members are bent on destroying the Catholic Church in revenge. In the end, the hero and Vittoria manage to save the Church from certain doom, returning power to some old white man (who magically avoided being murdered and whose colleagues somehow don't manage to look all that innocent). Highly recommended entertainment. In true Oxford fashion, my local cinema advertises a special screening tonight, at which local physicists will explain the science of antimatter and fairy fields. Posted by Kea at 10:47PM (+12:00)


More Seminars
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Starting tomorrow we have the new Interdisciplinary Seminar in Fundamental Physics here in the Comlab. Term time really is busy. There is also a regular OASIS seminar, a twistor seminar, a string seminar, a theory seminar, a QFT seminar, philosophy seminars and many more! Today we heard a very interesting talk from Boris Zilber, a logician, involving something like a Combescure $R$ matrix for time evolution, and yesterday Fay Dowker spoke about the causal sets multiple history interpretation of quantum mechanics. Posted by Kea at 05:55AM (+12:00)

1. Re: More Seminars by:kneemo May 21, 2009

Very nice. Are you going to post the slides for your Polytopes for Veneziano Amplitudes talk? 2. Re: More Seminars by:Kea May 21, 2009

Hi kneemo. Not sure. Since I will be in Canada until June 6, that might not be the most well prepared talk I have given. 3. Re: More Seminars by:LRiofrio May 20, 2009

Thanks to the person who set these up! June 22 and 29 look especially interesting! 4. Re: More Seminars by:Kea May 20, 2009

You're welcome, Louise. Unfortunately, I still meet many people who think the Dark Force rules the universe. 5. Re: More Seminars by:PhilG May 22, 2009

It's good to see that you made over in time to get onto the conference circuit. Going to seminars (and giving them) is the thing I missed most since leaving accademia 20 years ago.

Everett Today
Friday, May 22, 2009
This afternoon I went to a fascinating and informative seminar by Peter Byrne on the life of Hugh Everett III, the originator of the Many Worlds interpretation. The story is based on a seemingly exhaustive search of papers, notes and letters, some discovered only recently in LA. A long sequence of these documents, along with photographs, were flung


briefly onto the projector during a lightening fast hour and a half summary of Everett's life. Amongst the gems was a short personal reply that Everett received as a child, to a lost letter, in which Einstein states that there is no irresistable force and no immovable object. There was a transcript from a conference involving Wheeler (Everett's advisor), deWitt, Podolsky, Feynman and others, which concluded with Feynman's criticism of the concept of universal wave function. As history shows, this criticism was largely ignored by the relativists, and others. There was a brief account of the interactions between Wheeler and Bohr, and Everett's friendship with Misner. Everett himself, the proud son of a military man and a brilliant (but forgotten) mother, was destined for an illustrious career at the Pentagon during the cold war. Posted by Kea at 06:05AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Everett Today by:nige May 22, 2009

Before learning that he was into many worlds quantum mechanics philosophy, around 1992 when trying to grasp fallout I went to SRIS in London specially to read a paper that Hugh Everett III's co-authored, called 'The Distribution and Effects of Fallout in Large Nuclear-Weapon Campaigns', Operations Research, Vol. 7, No. 2, March-April 1959, pp. 226-248. My university didn't have Operations Research but the SRIS of the British Library did. It is completely and spectacularly devoid of any physics whatsoever about fallout; the whole fallout distribution mechanism is totally ignored. They don't even consider the fallout particle-size distribution, which is key to determining whether the fallout is spread over a massive area in relatively uniform low concentrations or whether you get a very non-uniform distribution. Exactly the same pseudoscience abounds in Hugh Everett III's extravagant multiverse (many worlds) interpretation of the uncertainty principle: 'If you ... use the ideas that I’m explaining in these lectures – adding arrows for all the ways an event can happen – there is no need for an uncertainty principle! ... on a small scale, such as inside an atom, the space is so small that there is no main path, no “orbit”; there are all sorts of ways the electron could go, each with an amplitude. The phenomenon of interference [by field quanta] becomes very important ...’ (Feynman, QED, 1985, pp. 56, 84. Emphasis added.) Dr Thomas Love states: ‘The quantum collapse [in the mainstream interpretation of quantum mechanics, where a wavefunction collapse occurs whenever a measurement of a particle is made] occurs when we model the wave moving according to Schroedinger (time-dependent) and then, suddenly at the time of interaction we require it to be in an eigenstate and hence to also be a solution of Schroedinger (time-independent). The collapse of the wave function is due to a discontinuity in the equations used to model the physics, it is not inherent in the physics.’ This is absolutely vital to Hugh Everett III's many worlds speculations. Alain Aspect's experiments and PhD thesis ignore loopholes when claiming


entanglement from photon correlations: the detectors are very inefficient and Aspect relies on the unproven assumption of the independence of emission events. His data has to be adjusted for fair sampling, the assumption that the ensemble of pairs detected is a fair sample of those emitted, which - given the low efficiencies of the detection of individual polarized photons - is highly questionable. See the arXiv paper: 'In some key Bell experiments, including two of the well-known ones by Alain Aspect, 1981-2, it is only after the subtraction of "accidentals" from the coincidence counts that we get violations of Bell tests. The data adjustment, producing increases of up to 60% in the test statistics, has never been adequately justified.' The Physical Review policy is to suppress these facts: ‘In 1964, John Bell proved that local realistic theories led to an upper bound on correlations between distant events (Bell’s inequality) and that quantum mechanics had predictions that violated that inequality. Ten years later, experimenters started to test in the laboratory the violation of Bell’s inequality (or similar predictions of local realism). No experiment is perfect, and various authors invented “loopholes” such that the experiments were still compatible with local realism. ... ‘This loophole hunting has no interest whatsoever in physics.’ Thus the multiverse is not unquestionable dogma, which of course happened. Sorry if this comment is too long, off topic, or seems to ignore the rules of courtesy for comments, just delete it if so (I'll copy it to my blog). 2. Re: Everett Today by:Kea May 22, 2009

Hi Nigel. Thanks for the comments. My impression of Everett is roughly as you state - it seems he was far too arrogant, given the small contribution he made to physics. The Pentagon loved him because he came from the 'right' background. That's the 20th century for you.

M Theory Lesson 279
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Unfortunately, I haven't managed to catch many twistor theory talks here yet, but this week L. Mason drew a nice picture on the whiteboard, which looked something like this: Observe the closed polygons in the dual conformal space, representing momentum conservation. Mason was discussing Yangian symmetries that arise from an integrable system associated to a harmonic map. Posted by Kea at 03:04AM (+12:00)


Fairy Update
Monday, May 25, 2009
Tommaso Dorigo reports on a new study of different event generators which strengthens the Tevatron case for fairy field exclusion in the 158-180 GeV range. Posted by Kea at 07:49PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Fairy Update by:LRiofrio One of these days the Higgs boson may be excluded out of existence! May 26, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I am feeling quite guilty about the number of air miles I am ticking off this year. Arrived Waterloo this afternoon, just in time for two lectures at Perimeter on the subject of Dark Energy, where the large mug of readily available coffee kept my head from hitting the desk. The new building is far more impressive than I imagined it would be, since I clearly remember the site from my stay here in 2003. It must be a wonderful place to work. Sadly, the schedule for this conference is still not up. Posted by Kea at 11:08AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Perimeter by:LRiofrio So nice to see you on this side of the pond! From the conference website: "The 'Cosmological Constant Problem' is one of most outstanding problems in theoretical physics...However, the way researchers address this problem varies tremendously between different scientific communities." The CC is largely a creation of physicists invading astronomy with their particle physics methods. At the IAU meeting in Rio there are two whole days devoted to "Are the Fundamental Constants Changing in Spacetime?" and not one session devoted to the CC. 2. Re: Perimeter by:aquantumdiariessurvivor Wonderful! I hope you enjoy the trip! Looking foward to meeting you soon, May 31, 2009 May 28, 2009


T. 3. Re: Perimeter by:Kea May 29, 2009

Hi Louise! The conference was a morale booster, and PI is a great place to work.

Quantum Cosmology
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The cosmology conference at Perimeter finished with a very interesting series of talks, the new consensus definitely tending towards a quantum explanation for the Dark Force. Although nobody mentioned Louise Riofrio's work, Starkman's results were displayed, the WMAP guy said primordial black holes were consistent with some difficult tests of dark matter theories, and even the string theorists seemed keen to move away from a cosmological constant. Particularly enjoyable was the talk of Raphael Sorkin, who predicted an apparent cosmic acceleration from quantum causal set theory 20 years ago! He started the talk with a few entertaining jokes, before settling on the title Everpresent Lambda, referring to this paper. This model assumes that fluctuations are nonlocal and due to quantum discreteness. A causal set is a network of atoms of spacetime with a partial order. Assuming an effective gravitational path integral one considers the uncertainty relation $\Delta \Lambda \Delta V \simeq \hbar$ and under the assumption that the expectation value for $\Lambda$ is zero one finds that $\Lambda$ should be related to $\sqrt{V}^{-1}$. The model lets the volume $V$ be the volume to the past of some event. Although Sorkin did not discuss it, one could also rearrange the uncertainty relation to obtain $c \simeq \frac{\sqrt{V}}{\Delta V}$ using $\hbar c = 1$. In this form it more closely resembles Riofrio's observationally successful quantum cosmology rule $R=ct$, since a time parameter is related to the number of nodes in the network which measures the volume. Posted by Kea at 11:32PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Quantum Cosmology by:LRiofrio May 29, 2009

Am glad to see you enjoying Perimeter. It is a lovely building to work in! As always, the link is appreciated. The Summer will see two separate talks for a much bigger and more important audience in Rio. 2. Re: Quantum Cosmology


by:Kea Hi Louise. Rio this winter does sound very interesting.

May 29, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009
The schedule is now up for next week's workshop here at PI. Posted by Kea at 10:13AM (+12:00)

1. Re: CQC at PI by:Kea May 30, 2009

Tony, I have not read these papers and probably never will. If you look at the abstracts for next week you will see that there is a very wide range of views on these questions even within the category theory community. 2. Re: CQC at PI by:Kea May 30, 2009

Hi Tony. Right ... sort of. The point is that when logic and dagger monoidal categories are kings, and classical geometry is only emergent, one doesn't think of Bell's theorem as a point worth arguing. One could probably come up with a new definition of the words 'local and hidden' which address some particular concern that you may have, but why bother? 3. Re: CQC at PI by:TonySmith Thanks for the link to the abstracts. One of them, by Bill Edwards, seems to be based on a paper by Coecke, Edwards and Spekkens entitled "The Group Theoretic Origin of Non-Locality for Qubits". Since that paper says in part: "... What is nonlocality? ... The technical definition tells us that “there is no local hidden variable theory.” By Bell’s theorem this means that “some inequality is not satisfied.” ..." it seems to me that Edwards et al base their work on the validity of Bell's Theorem so therefore they do not consider Joy Christian's "Disproof of Bell's Theorem ..." to be valid so I guess that answers my question. Tony Smith 4. Re: CQC at PI by:TonySmith May 29, 2009 May 30, 2009


I see that the PI workshop includes sessions on such things as Kochen-Specker (related to Bell's Theorem) and "non-locality for qubits". What do the people there think of the work of Joy Christian ? Particularly, his papers quant-ph/0703179 which was written while he was at Perimeter and 0904.4259 [quant-ph] which was written while he was back at Oxford. Tony Smith 5. Re: CQC at PI by:TonySmith Kea, as to "why bother?": In trying to understand the paper by Coecke, Edwards and Spekkens that seems to be the basis for the talk by Edwards at the PI quantum workshop, it seems to me that a major point of the paper is to distinguish between stabilizer qubit quantum mechanics (Stab) with phase group Z4 and Spekkens's toy theory (Spek) with phase group Z2 x Z2, which they try to do by showing that Stab must be non-local based on the GHZ version of the Bell-Type Theorems to as to which Joy Christian says in 0904.4259 that he has a "Disproof". So, IF Joy Christian's GHZ "Disproof" applies to Stab, then IF Joy Christian is correct THEN the paper of Edwards et al is flawed. As to whether Joy Christian's GHZ disproof applies to Stab, note that the basis of Joy Christian's argument is based on Pauli matrix quantum structure, and that Edwards et al use a version of GHZ that is effectively equivalent to the Pauli matrix version, since they say in part "... GHZ states and Pauli measurements both survive the restriction from full QM to the stabilizer theory [Stab], so the proof applies equally well ...". So, the answer of "why bother?" is that if Joy Christian is correct, it seems that the paper of Edwards et al is flawed, and if Joy Christian is incorrect, then the paper of Edwards et al may be correct, so it seems useful to determine whether or not Joy Christian is correct. Tony Smith May 30, 2009


PS - Here is more detail of what Edwards et al say: "... the mathematical difference between the theories is intimately related to one of their key physical differences: the presence or absence of non-locality. ... The GHZ correlations ... can take only two forms, corresponding to thge two fourelement groups, Z4 (as in the case of Stab) and Z2 x Z2 (as in the case of Spek) ... The GHZ correlations ... are invoked in one of the most elegant 'no-go' proofs showing that quantum mechanics cannot be explained by a local hidden variable theory ... This no-go proof ... applies to stabilizer theory [Stab] ... The proof begins with a GHZ state. The key ingredients are the probabilities of outcomes ... GHZ states and Pauli measurements both survive the restriction from full QM to the stabilizer theory [Stab], so the proof applies equally well in this case, i.e. it is impossible to model stabilizer theory [Stab] with a hidden variable theory ... A hidden variable interpretation can be constructed for the GHZ state in any Z2 x Z2 MUQT ... we have a concrete example of a local hidden variable theory, Spek, which exhibits exactly these [GHZ] correlations ... we can see that the Z4 type basis structure ... embodies non-locality ... We then conclude that Z4 GHZ states must have non-locality, whereas Z2 x Z2 GHZ states can not ...".

Sunday, May 31, 2009
Although I will have four wonderful months over the summer to focus on work, I am naturally wondering where I should go when my UK visa runs out in October. Should I hide in a Perimeter cupboard? Having seen homeless people in Toronto in winter, I suspect that would not be a great option. Maybe I could head to Switzerland once again, and hopefully this time avoid that nasty crevasse on the upper Grosseraletsch glacier. Camping out at altitude is free there, but internet connections might be problematic. Hmm. New Zealand is looking quite appealing compared to the current alternatives. Posted by Kea at 11:22AM (+12:00)

1. Re: October by:Anonymous June 01, 2009

No, what's clear to me is that you are a person who likes to talk about physics and


pretend to be a physicist, but who actually doesn't really ever accomplish anything. 2. Re: October by:Anonymous May 31, 2009

Perhaps if you actually do some work and get a few published papers, you can get a position somewhere else. 3. Re: October by:LRiofrio June 01, 2009

What nasty things anonymous says! Kea has earned a PhD and a position at Oxford. It is sad that other anonymous cowards are in charge at British Immigration. They try to keep a few examples out while otherwise allowing unlimited immigration, letting the wrong people in. 4. Re: October by:TonySmith June 01, 2009

Sorry for multiple posts due to my incompetence in clicking on blog comment stuff. Also, the first word in them should be "Attackers" Tony Smith 5. Re: October by:TonySmith June 01, 2009

ttackers who hide behind Anonymity clearly show that their obvious low self-esteem is in fact well deserved. On another matter, probably off-topic but maybe hopefully leading to fun discussion: Kea, your blog page says: "... If you could peer far enough into the night sky, you'd see a star in any direction you looked. ...". Wouldn't that be a violation of the Olbers Paradox? As John Baez says on his web site Physics FAQ, based on material by Scott I. Chase: "... With infinitely many stars, every element of the sky background should have a star, and the entire heavens should be at least as bright as an average star like the Sun. ... The fact that the night sky is not as bright as the Sun is called Olbers' paradox. ...". Tony Smith 6. Re: October by:nige June 02, 2009

Ummm. As the universe expands, the mass density falls as the inverse cube of the scale factor or effective radius (in a flat universe with no classical 'curvature'), R, i.e. mass density ~ R^{-3}. This is simply because the volume of a sphere is proportional to R^3 while the mass is conserved, so the density ~ mass/volume ~ 1/R^3. But the energy density of the CBR of course varies faster, as ~R^{-4}, where the -4


exponent comes from the redshift which decreases the energy of photons (they are effectively 'stretched out' in length by redshift as the universe expands, so the frequency i.e. number of oscillations per photon per second as it is received, falls as the universe expands, reducing the energy by Planck's formula E = hf). Now the funny thing is that we can use this energy density (Joules/m^3) ~ 1/R^4 relationship to work out how the CBR energy density fell with time since the CBR was emitted at 400,000 years after the BB. Since the large scale universe is flat, the scale factor R increased by a factor of 13,700,000,000/400,000 = 34,000 since the CBR was emitted. Hence the energy density of the CBR is now (34,000)^4 = 10^18 times smaller than it was at 400,000 years after the BB when the CBR was emitted. This is why we're not being friend by the CBR. However, it poses a question! Why is the energy density proportional to R^{-4}? Surely the CBR is converging inward, towards us, from a great distance, not diverging outwards from us! I think that there is a glib mathematical assumption being made here by the mainstream, which may or may not be right. Even if 1/R^4 is 100% right for energy density, there should be an effort to explain the mechanism by which the non-redshift part (i.e. the R^{-3} part of the total R^{-4} energy density fall) occurs. This is of interest to my work on quantum gravity exchange radiation. It's horrible how little mainstream cosmology work is founded on well-defended physical facts! It's all back-of-theenvelope guesswork which is now unquestionable dogma. 7. Re: October by:nige Hi Carl, In that case, what's to stop you seeing radiation from the first microsecond of the big bang? The CBR masks it because it's even more redshifted than the CBR!! The density and temperature of the universe increases without known limit as you look back to 13,700 million light years distances, or 13,700 million light years ago (time). There's nothing to stop you seeing primeval radiation from arbitrarily short times after the big bang, apart from redshift. So I disagree that the distance limit is any solution, you need to remember that as you look back to distances approaching time zero, the intensity of the light goes towards infinity. This big bang scenario is nothing to do with the steady state lookback limit. The question why the sky is dark can't be answered using a false analogy such as the steady state universe. You have to take the big bang model, and explain why you can't see radiation from near time zero. It's masked by the CBR because it's so redshifted it's undetectable. So redshift is the only answer, as far as I can tell. 8. Re: October by:nige Re: Oblers' paradox It's the redshift that makes the sky dark. Professor Edward Harrison in his book Cosmology 2nd edition (Cambridge University Press, 2000) claims falsely on p505 that redshift can't explain the darkness because in a decelerating universe it causes too little June 01, 2009 June 03, 2009


loss of photon energy, but he is falsely comparing a decelerating big bang which does have redshift (since 1998 it has been known that the universe isn't decelerating) with an infinite static universe, where the correct comparison to ascertain the effect of redshift would be to compare the big bang with redshift to the big bang without redshift. Once you do the right comparison, Harrison's objections to redshift as a solution to Obler's paradox are removed. Redshift stops us being fried by the CBR which would be lethal infrared radiation with a blackbody radiation spectrum of 3000 K in the absence of redshift, but is only 2.7 K with redshift included. Thank God for redshift! (I've got a long essay I wrote about Harrison's quackery for my cosmology course at university many years ago which I've summarized on my blog, linked here.) 9. Re: October by:LRiofrio June 01, 2009

You would be welcome in CA or Texas. In the former you would be one train ride from either Berkeley or Stanford. In Texas there are wide open spaces and a waterfront view. If I were not a scientist I would like to work as a guide in the Space Center--theyt wear blue suits just like the astronauts. 10. Re: October by:Kea June 01, 2009

Gee, what original advice. Let's see, I've heard that about once a day for over 20 years. Heh, do you think just maybe that I might actually care more about the physics than my job prospects? 11. Re: October by:Kea June 01, 2009

Re Olbers: dammit, Tony, I went through a long list of questions to find that one! 12. Re: October by:CarlBrannen June 04, 2009

nige, I think your logic is right for the big bang scenario, but I don't believe in the big bang. I think the universe is flat as a board and always has been. In my world, it's the gravitons that make the universe appear expanding on long distances, and lumpy on short distances. 13. Re: October by:Kea June 01, 2009

Problem fixed, Tony, and thanks Louise. Of course, we must acknowledge that the anonymous coward has a point, and I am rather hopeless at publishing papers. I am trying. 14. Re: October by:CarlBrannen June 02, 2009

It's a combination of red shift and the fact that the universe has existed for only a finite length of time. So there is a horizon limit to how far you can look. (And then you see the CMB.) 15. Re: October by:Mitchell June 02, 2009

Marni would easily get a fellowship at the Boundary Foundation, the antipodean rival to the Perimeter Institute, if it actually existed.


16. Re: October by:nige Hi Carl, '... I don't believe in the big bang.'

June 07, 2009

That's good, because science isn't about beliefs or religion. Redshift does appear to suggest expansion (because no other proven mechanism for the uniform shifting of line spectra has ever been found), the ratio of hydrogen to helium abundance suggests fusion at high temperatures in an expanding universe, and the CBR suggests the emission of radiation when the universe became transparent as radiation-absorbing ions combined with electrons to become transparent hydrogen gas at about 4000 K temperature. What I want to see is some proof that the CBR radiation energy density should fall as time^{-4}. The hand-waving proof usually given that the energy density should fall as t^-1 due to redshift is OK, but the claim that expansion should cause an additional t^-3 fall due to volume expansion ignores the geometry in which the CBR is converging inwards towards us from a spherical shell nearly 13,700 million light years distant. This is not spherical divergence. You'd expect converging radiation energy density to increase, not fall! I think t^{-4} may be right but the full explanation is not the arm-waving claim usually made. 'In my world, it's the gravitons that make the universe appear expanding on long distances, and lumpy on short distances.' Spin-1 gravitons would do just that! Immense masses over large distances (clusters of galaxies, superclusters, etc) exchanging spin-1 gravitons will push one another apart, like the dough pressure pushing raisins apart in a baking cake. For smaller masses and distances, the inward pressure on all sides of spin-1 graviton exchange from clusters of galaxies predominates over the repulsive exchange that occurs literally between any two small masses, so they get pushed together. Gravity.

Rejecta Mathematica
Monday, June 01, 2009
Good News! The old short paper on Koide masses and the quantum Fourier transform has been accepted by Rejecta Mathematica, which only publishes works that have been rejected by respectable journals. Of course, given the ridiculous time frame for physics publishing, this paper is now hopelessly outdated by the enormous progress since made by Carl Brannen, who will no doubt have many papers published soon. Posted by Kea at 01:18AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Rejecta Mathematica by:PhilG June 01, 2009

Does Rejecta Mathematica really publish? They have been around for a few years but I dont see any papers on their website. Please someone show me where they appear! 2. Re: Rejecta Mathematica by:Anonymous June 01, 2009


Congratulations! is there a Rejecta Physica journal? 3. Re: Rejecta Mathematica by:SuccessfulResearcherHowt June 06, 2009

No idea about Rejecta Physica, but there is a Journal of Irreproducible Results :))

CQC Monday
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Day One of CQC at PI consisted of talks until lunch, a leisurely two hour break and then an afternoon question time, which quickly degenerated into a discussion on the difference between instrumental approaches (ie. the background independent point of view in the context of diagrammatic QM, roughly speaking) and foundational approaches to physics, the latter applying to proper theories (the definition of this unfortunately relying on very few previously known examples, such as GR). Anyway, hopefully the amount of discussion sets the tone for a pleasant week. The weather, on the other hand, does not look like improving. Posted by Kea at 11:21AM (+12:00)

1. Re: CQC Monday by:PhilG June 02, 2009

The whole UK has been enjoying a glorious heat wave since you left. Chances are it will be over by time you return, sorry. 2. Re: CQC Monday by:CarlBrannen Uh, "Physical interpretation for Riemann zeros from black hole physics" 3. Re: CQC Monday by:LRiofrio June 02, 2009 June 02, 2009

I would not recommend the Toronto Winter either. You are still welcome in sunny Texas. Perimeter is a nice place to visit. 4. Re: CQC Monday by:CarlBrannen June 02, 2009

Marni, I suppose you're going to eventually run into this Riemann zero paper. 5. Re: CQC Monday by:LRiofrio June 03, 2009

Have you heard the news there? the UK Home Secretary is (finally) stepping down! In addition to charging iphones and blue films to the taxpayer, her policies kept good people like Kea out.


Back in Oxford
Monday, June 08, 2009
The PI conference is over and I have returned to Britannia. There were some excellent talks, but more importantly, there was time for discussion in the afternoons. Jeff Morton has started blogging the talks. I would like to say more, but am currently consumed by other tasks, such as fixing my computer account (which was automatically deleted on a previously valid expiry date). Posted by Kea at 08:49PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Back in Oxford by:LRiofrio June 09, 2009

Thanks for all the posts. Every day that you can work in Oxford is something to be thankful for. 2. Re: Back in Oxford by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 Nice, so, do you have any theme for papers in mind? BTW, do you know Matt Visser? 3. Re: Back in Oxford by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 OK. Next time I will ask you by email! :) 4. Re: Back in Oxford by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 Is he an open minded and nice person? 5. Re: Back in Oxford by:Kea June 13, 2009 June 13, 2009 June 16, 2009 June 11, 2009

Daniel, as far as I know, I have never met you in my entire life. You shouldn't go around personal questions about people I may know on a public blog. Sigh. So just this once: he is a fairly nice person. 6. Re: Back in Oxford by:Kea June 10, 2009

Yes, you are right. I am thankful just for being here, and now I can concentrate on work for the next few months. 7. Re: Back in Oxford by:Kea Daniel, there is no shortage of ideas, and yes, I have met Matt Visser. June 11, 2009


Cool Cats
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Since the cool cats conference in Canada, I have been catching a few more Oxford seminars. Yesterday, Andrew Dancer spoke about Frenkel's loop group version of the Langlands Correspondence. He noted the category theorists in the audience, promising to discuss some category theory, but of course there was very little category theory and I only obtained the usual miniscule improvement in my understanding of this subject. Meanwhile, I'm off to a lovely old college for lunch and it's a (relatively unusually) beautiful day here! Posted by Kea at 09:03PM (+12:00)

A Pi Groupoid
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Recall that the cardinality of a groupoid involves the inverse of the cardinalities of groups. At PI, Jeff Morton told me about a very nice example involving, for instance, the cyclic groups $C_{n} \times C_{n}$, which each have cardinality $n^2$. That is, we can have a cardinality $\pi^2$, because $\pi^{2} = 6 \sum_{k} \frac{1}{k^2}$. Recall that this infinite sum is the number $\zeta (2)$ for the Riemann zeta function, first evaluated by Euler in 1735. Since $e$ is also a groupoid cardinality, namely for the groupoid of finite sets and bijections, it seems that transcendentals naturally appear in the context of infinite groupoids. Posted by Kea at 09:33PM (+12:00)

A Question
Friday, June 12, 2009
Today at lunch I was asked one of the questions that nonsense theorists are often asked: so what does this have to do with the real world? Of course, one could always launch into a (now fashionable) tirade about protocols for quantum information, or two dimensional systems and topological quantum field theories. However, since the conversation was set more in the context of quantum gravity, and the asker was mostly looking for a very simple, one line answer (after having already suffered a five minute introduction to category theory), I was at a loss to find the right words. So here is the challenge: can you summarize categorical quantum gravity in 20 catchy words or less? We assume that our readers will not be captivated by statements along the lines of Everything is made of Strings or, more pertinently, the speed of light varies (although that is, of course, true). Rather, the phrase should capture the potential of quantum gravity to describe aspects of the world completely outside the domain of estab-


lished physical theory. Posted by Kea at 02:15AM (+12:00)

1. Re: A Question by:Kea June 12, 2009

That's sweet, kneemo, and that is the sentiment that I tried to express, but of course it probably comes across as a cop out. 2. Re: A Question by:TonySmith Sorry for a typo: I said " the A0 and A1 and A2 subgroups of A4" when I should have said " the A0 and A1 and A2 subgroups of A3". Of course, A3 = SU(2,2) = Spin(2,4) = D3 in non-compact version and A3 = SU(4) = Spin(6) = D3 in compact version, which is where I got to thinking about the 4 of SU(4). Tony Smith 3. Re: A Question by:nige June 12, 2009 June 12, 2009

Categorical quantum gravity should categorize and then sum graviton-exchange Feynman diagrams for all gravity charges (mass/energy like photons, electrons, etc.). 4. Re: A Question by:Mitchell June 12, 2009

My perspective is something like this: we do not know the ontological "substance" of things very well. We arguably have some direct knowledge of what's occurring in the individual consciousness from moment to moment, but reality as a whole is conceived in ways which are inferential constructions from the concepts and percepts available to the individual consciousness. So I agree with the positivistic analysis which says that physics is in part a method for predicting sense experiences, while disagreeing that this is an appropriate point at which to stop thinking. N-category theory, as a recursively constructed theory of the composition of (n-1)morphisms, is a sort of general theory of the formal possibilities of structure and relation which is ontologically neutral. So it's very interesting that you naturally get n-simplexes coming out of it, and can build up various "quantum geometries" from them. I'd say, therefore, that the primary interest to me of categorical quantum gravity is as a step towards a theory of the formal ontology of nature, in that the empirical phenomenon of gravity may emerge very naturally from the gemeric combinatorics of structure. 5. Re: A Question by:Kea June 12, 2009

Thanks everybody, but I suspect that none of these responses would have been acceptable, with the exception of Louise's. As kneemo points out, people want to know


they can have futuristic technology (beam me up, Scotty) but we are not in a good position to imagine exactly what this might be. Louise's idea is very concrete, easily understandable, and can be stated in few words. 6. Re: A Question by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 I mean, defined in the categorical way. 7. Re: A Question by:Qubit June 13, 2009 June 13, 2009

You can go on barking for ever, but it does not mean an apple will ever fall on your head. 8. Re: A Question by:Qubit June 14, 2009

No!!! Definity not! It not insult to you at all, I've never even read your post! Its my 20 word contribution. 9. Re: A Question by:CarlBrannen June 12, 2009

Category theory boils down the essence of the information content of quantum mechanics to the least mathematical structure possible. Uh, since I don't understand category theory much I don't know how true this is, but as long as the audience doesn't understand it either, it might fly. 10. Re: A Question by:kneemo June 12, 2009

It's a bit like asking J. J. Thomson in 1897 what electron research would be useful for in the real world. We cannot yet comprehend nor foresee the vast implications of categorical quantum gravity. 11. Re: A Question by:TonySmith symmetrical monoidal category. An = Dn only for A3 = D3= Conformal Group. Gauging Conformal Group = Gravity. In the above, I sort of cheated to get within the 20-word limit by considering finite-dim as one word and = as not a word, and by leaving details to the following references: "Physics, Topology, Logic and Computation: A Rosetta Stone" by John Baez and Mike Stay (see page 33) "Group Theor" by Predrag Cvitanovic (see section 15.4) - this has nice category-like diagrams that he calls bird-tracks. "Unification and Supersymmetry" by Rabindra Mohapatra (Springer) (section 14.6) using a MacDowell-Mansouri type mechanism to get gravity from the conformal group. Tony Smith PS - If you are asked "why the An and Dn series of Lie groups?", June 12, 2009


an answer is that the An include the gauge groups of the Standard Model and the Dn give you spinors (for fermion-type things), so only for An and Dn do you get both, and that is only for A3 = D3, and you could go on to say that you get the Standard Model U(1) and SU(2) and SU(3) by considering the categorical bird-track diagrams for the A0 and A1 and A2 subgroups of A4. 12. Re: A Question by:nige June 13, 2009

There are three approaches to quantum mechanics, Heisenberg's matrix mechanics, Schroedinger's equation and its solutions, and Feynman's path integrals. The only one which is physically deep and leads to any understanding is Feynman's path integrals; the others are just statistical approximations. With path integrals you can see what you are doing because you are summing interaction graphs with varying geometry (for simple tree interactions, such as Moller scattering of electrons or the diffraction of light by water which Feynman illustrates brilliantly in his 1985 book QED) or both varying geometry and also varying the interaction by including spacetime loops for pair production and annihilation (which don't occur in the doubel slit experiment, refraction of light by water, or low energy electron scattering because pair production requires strong electric fields to occur). So Categorical theory should be applied to replace the path integral. Path integrals are inherently flawed in the way the integrate continuously variable differential equations (lagrangian equations) for field interactions. This is both physically and mathematically wrong, because nature is discrete and thus discontinuous. Instead of integrating, there should be a discrete summation. Categorical theory should offer a means to do this. I'm assuming that Categorical theory is to physics today, what group theory was to physics in the 30s when Weyl and Wigner were developing and trying to popularize it (long before it was used with Noether's theorem to derive the Yang-Mills equation for chargecarrying field quanta, let alone the full Standard Model). Somehow, the path integral should be replaced with a deeper understanding, which will throw more light on the mechanisms for cutoffs and renormaliation. Clearly these problems are due to formulation of the path integral which ignores the discrete nature of interactions. Although a perturbative expansion for any given path integral (containing successively more complex spacetime loops) results in a sequence of terms eqch discretely corresponding to a separate Feynman diagram interaction, it's physically wrong to use integrate a differential equation for which is only approximating discrete events. A true mathematical model of quantum fields should be discrete in mathematical nature, like the phenomena it models, not continuously variable! 13. Re: A Question by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 June 13, 2009

I will summarize: there is no categorized quantum gravity, because the rules of QM are not even well defined yet. 14. Re: A Question by:nige Qubit, Should I presume that your insult is directed to my comment? I'm sorry for being born if that helps. But is no reason why gravity isn't simple in nature, June 13, 2009


being mediated by radiation (gravitons) exchanged by gravitational charges (mass and energy, like photons and electrons). The falling apple is forced to accelerate due to graviton exchange. Feynman's path integral sums a lot of graviton interactions by weighting them according to their influence. Many cancel out due to geometric reasons. E.g., if equal amounts of graviton exchange with distant masses occurs to the left and right of the apple, it is not accelerated right to left. The asymmetry is vertical. String theorists begin with the Fietz-Pauli argument that quantum gravity is due to only the apple and the earth, thus ignoring the surrounding mass of 9 × 10^21 stars, totalling 3 × 10^52 kg. By ignoring the 3 × 10^52 kg observable mass around us and assuming that the apple only exchanges gravitons with the earth, Fierz and Pauli found that gravitons would need to be spin-2 (180 degrees rotational symmetry, so outgoing and incoming gravitons look identical): ‘In the particular case of spin 2, rest-mass zero, the equations agree in the force-free case with Einstein’s equations for gravitational waves in general relativity in first approximation ...’ – Conclusion of the paper by M. Fierz and W. Pauli, ‘On relativistic wave equations for particles of arbitrary spin in an electromagnetic field’, Proc. Roy. Soc. London, volume A173, pp. 211-232 (1939). This is where string theory starts, building on error. What's needed is a correct summation of graviton exchanges. I can do it geometrically using various mathematical tricks, but don't have the time to build up an elaborate mathematical obfuscation that looks professionally impressive to mainstream physicists. It would be great if Categorical theorists could sort out quantum gravity! 15. Re: A Question by:LRiofrio June 12, 2009

Kea said it best, the speed of light varies. Thsi could lead to applications that today's science couldn't imagine. Just for one, energy from Black Holes could make nucllear fusion look crude. 16. Re: A Question by:TonySmith Sorry for an even worse typo: My first comment here should have been about this 20-word statement: "Lie group finite-dim representations = compact symmetrical monoidal category. An = Dn only for A3 = D3= Conformal Group. Gauging Conformal Group = Gravity" Tony Smith June 12, 2009


Twistor Time
Monday, June 15, 2009
It is very difficult to keep up with arxiv preprints these days, but since kneemo hasn't mentioned it yet, in this new paper Arkani-Hamed et al study the twistor diagrams of Hodges. As the abstract states: Our twistor transformation is inspired by Witten's, but differs in treating twistor and dual twistor variables more equally. In these variables the three and four-point amplitudes are amazingly simple. They refer in particular to this new paper by Mason and Skinner. Posted by Kea at 02:21AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Twistor Time by:LRiofrio June 20, 2009

IN his book THE ROAD TO REALITY, Oxford's Roger Penrose promotes Twistor theory while casting doubt on "fashionable theory."

A New Home
Monday, June 15, 2009
In good news from down under, after a successful program of pest control on Raoul Island, many of my kakariki friends have decided to make their homes there again, after 150 years. Posted by Kea at 03:03AM (+12:00)

1. Re: A New Home by:Kea June 16, 2009

Hi Mahndisa! I'm glad to hear that you have been thinking about physics lately. Actually, Carl has written a lot about idempotents and the weak interaction - and it certainly is interesting to think about. 2. Re: A New Home by:LRiofrio June 17, 2009

How cute! In Hawaii the Nene bird has been making a comeback too. How nice to have colour in the world. Perhaps the birds will inspire a solution to the "3-colour" problem!


3. Re: A New Home by:MahndisaSRigmaiden

June 16, 2009

Good for the birds. Was thinking of something from a year or two ago about idempotents. Reading a bit of particle physics, W being its own antiparticle is an idempotent. Wonder how that can fit into mathematical description/framework correllation to physical world. Take Care.

Jordan M Theory
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Baez decided to learn M Theory, and asked for some hints on how the exceptional Jordan algebra might appear in an $11$ dimensional theory, prompting some helpful advice from two people named Lubos and Kea. The whole conversation was of course quickly deleted, although I don't recall it containing any direct personal insults. Anyway, here is a fresh link to kneemo's blog, who I am quite sure knows far more about this question than anybody else. Posted by Kea at 07:56PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Jordan M Theory by:Kea June 17, 2009

The sign of a good scientist is somebody who can listen to ideas without worrying too much about the words being used. Don't worry, I fully appreciate that Lubos is a relatively honest guy - and I might even start reading some of his twistor string papers. 2. Re: Jordan M Theory by:PhilG June 17, 2009

Me too. I got called stupid and dishonest just for asking an innocent question. Actually, on the Lumo scale of insults those are almost complements so I shan't worry. 3. Re: Jordan M Theory by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 June 18, 2009

Kea, Jacques Distler answered nicely your last observation. I'd like to see your comment. 4. Re: Jordan M Theory by:Anonymous Daniel, The comment by Professor Jacques Distler begins: "Kea is right about one thing." Can that be proved topologically equivalent to the statement: "Kea is wrong about everything with one exception." If it can, then he is making a very big claim, and should have evidence to back it up. June 21, 2009


More likely, it's just his slightly biased personality coming across, and Kea should be grateful to have someone who works in the same department as Steven Weinberg making such a comment. 5. Re: Jordan M Theory by:MahndisaSRigmaiden June 18, 2009

One day he will get his commupance. And Kea is right, sometimes we should listen to the message irrespective of the messenger. 6. Re: Jordan M Theory by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 June 17, 2009

Yeah, but not everyone has the patience to listen the information from someone when feeling insulted.

Quote of the Week
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
We believe that [this formula] encapsulates the complete n-particle tree level S-matrix of YM theory (for any gauge group) ... [we] highlight a crucial fact about the formula: namely, that it is not really an integral at all. Roiban et al Posted by Kea at 08:29PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Quote of the Week by:Kea June 20, 2009

Matti, that's great. I have been learning a lot about twistors this week. Now I might get back to a simple paper showing that the p-adics are important. 2. Re: Quote of the Week by:MattiPitkanen June 19, 2009

Just yesterday I ended up with a concrete view about p-adic fractalization of M-matrix. Internal consistency requires that loops involving bosons vanish so that one has only *tree diagrams*. Coupling constant evolution is however non-trivial since bosonic propagator is not free propagator. Ironically, twistor consideration led to the realization that bosonic propagation emerges in TGD (only Dirac action coupled to gauge boson fields and counterpart of YM action as effective action resulting by functionally integrating over fermions). Then I realized that bosonic emergence seems to be independent of twistors. Now I realized that twistor approach with non-trivial coupling constant evolution requires just this: that is non-free bosonic propagator and mere tree diagrams at boson level! Something impossible in standard QFT. For a brief overall view see my latest blog posting.


Emerging Holography
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Last week's amazing twistor workshop ended Friday with an outstanding physics colloquium by Nima Arkani-Hamed, called Holography and the S matrix, but secretly about computing scattering amplitudes using twistor spaces. He went to some effort to try to convince a large audience of theoretical physicists that there was a mysterious new, mind blowing holographic theory behind these magical simplifications in scattering amplitudes for both Yang Mills and gravity. However, unlike serious fans of thermodynamic gravities (for instance, Padmanabhan) he didn't seem in favour of a microscopic theory of gravity that was wildly different from string theory. Some time was spent criticising the Standard Model emphasis on manifest locality, when locality should be an emergent property. In the fantastic results so far, twistor space is clearly doing holography for us, but there is a long way to go before emergent locality is properly understood. After all, if we can remove spacetime from particle physics, why not its boundaries too? Posted by Kea at 12:36AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Emerging Holography by:MattiPitkanen June 21, 2009

To my humble opinion space-time will stay with us. The physics in the interior of spacetime represents the classical, geometric correlates of quantum physics without which one has no quantum measurement theory. In TGD framework space-time also creates correlations between 3-D surfaces (particles) appearing as its "causal boundaries" (actual boundaries or light-like 3-surfaces at which the signature of the induced metric changes). I see the generalization of the notions of space-time and geometry as much more promising approach than trying to get rid of it. I also believe that also the good old Minkowski space has permanent place in physics because of its symmetries with generalized conformal invariance of light-cone boundary included. Also because in a wider framework it has number theoretic meaning. Also twistors are very intimately related to 4-D Minkowski space and to me look like providing a dual description. People are endlessly introducing new mathematical frameworks but are extreme conformists - or should I say just intellectually lazy - as far as fundamental problems of physics are considered. One additional item to a long list which I have given many times. No one asks whether the radiative corrections in QFT might represent black box which should be opened in order to make progress, and QFT in standard sense is assumed to be the low energy limit of string models. At least to me a virtual particle possessing mass larger than that of the known Universe looks rather bizarre notion! 2. Re: Emerging Holography by:Kea June 21, 2009


Hi Lubos. To me, holography is really just a buzz word, but I mention Padmanabhan because I really like the fact that he can recover Einstein's equations from

thermodynamic degrees of freedom on local horizons. Nima simply used the following arguments (it was just a colloquium) to claim that twistors are doing holography: (i) reduction in dimension (to CP3, or RP3 as the case may be), (ii) the simplification of twistor scattering amplitudes means a removal of the old S matrix picture of motion through spacetime ('coming in from infinity') to a picture where the single diagram (that replaces gazillions of Feynman diagrams) means covariant 'creation from the vacuum'. That is, there is some powerful operation of introducing new particles. Now we think roughly this way when we discuss categorification (introducing more arrow types) but personally I don't like the word vacuum, because it is imbued with far too many connotations from local field theory. But overall, Nima did a good job of explaining that the way people ususally think of locality is just plain wrong. 3. Re: Emerging Holography by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 June 23, 2009

Probably this talk is about an incoming paper with the same title of the talking: "This most recent work doesn’t appear to use topological string theory, although ArkaniHamed et al. are rather cagey on the topic of what sort of twistor space theory is at issue. They promise a forthcoming paper entitled “Holography and the S-matrix”, with: a completely different picture for computing scattering amplitudes at tree level than given by the BCFW formalism, that we strongly suspect is connected with a maximally holographic description of tree amplitudes that makes all the symmetries of the theory manifest but completely obscures space-time locality" These things probably have something to do with this paper: 4. Re: Emerging Holography by:Kea June 23, 2009

Hi Daniel and kneemo. Yes, Arkani-Hamed et al are very much thinking of twistor diagrams these days, as is Hodges, Mason, Sparling and no doubt many others. 5. Re: Emerging Holography by:kneemo June 23, 2009

Ok, so is this new holography related to the idea of replacing worldlines with points in projective twistor space? If so, it seems the Riemann surface twistor diagrams introduced by Witten in arXiv:hep-th/0312171v2 would be more useful than Feynman diagrams in this new setting. 6. Re: Emerging Holography by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 June 23, 2009

There is another summary here of the central topic of a report from IAS newslater, spring 2009 edition ( ): The cover story of the newsletter is called Feynman Diagrams and Beyond, and it starts with some history, emphasizing the role of the IAS’s Freeman Dyson. It goes on to describe recent work on the structure of gauge theory scattering amplitudes going on at the IAS, emphasizing recent work by IAS professor Arkani-Hamed and collaborators that


uses twistor space techniques, as well as Maldacena’s work using AdS/CFT to relate such calculations to string theory. Arkani-Hamed (see related posting here) says he’s trying to find a direct formulation of the theory (not just the scattering amplitudes) in twistor space: We have a lot of clues now, and I think there is a path towards a complete theory that will rewrite physics in a language that won’t have space-time in it but will explain these patterns. and explains the relation to AdS/CFT as: The AdS/CFT correspondence already tells us how to formulate physics in this way for negatively curved space-times; we are trying to figure out if there is some analog of that picture for describing scattering amplitudes in flat space. Since a sufficiently small portion of any space-time is flat, figuring out how to talk about the physics of flat space holographically will likely represent a real step forward in theoretical physics. 7. Re: Emerging Holography by:Lumo June 21, 2009

Dear Kea, it's interesting & thanks. Could you please try to reproduce the arguments you've heard why the twistors (or the convergent properties of the scattering amplitudes) are linked to holography? Please feel more than free to post any of this stuff anywhere on my blog, too. 8. Re: Emerging Holography by:Kea June 21, 2009

Oh, to further motivate all this, I should say, Nima started the talk with a loose discussion of measurement problems. In particular, since precise measurements eventually lead to black holes eating up the probe, we should associate ideal measurements with stuff that happens at infinity. The devil is in the details with this stringy idea of holography, but it does do a fast job of conveying a nonlocal intuition about gravity. 9. Re: Emerging Holography by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 Carrasco provided further information here: June 23, 2009

Ambitwistor Holography
Monday, June 22, 2009
One of the interesting twistor ideas that I have been hearing about lately is the Ambitwistor Lagrangian of Mason and Skinner. They give an integral for (an $N = 3$) supertwistor space, over an $8$ dimensional form, that is defined in terms of a Chern-Simons piece along with supersymmetric twistor forms. Note that the $8$ dimensions comes from a light like component of the $10$ dimensional ambitwistor component of the $12$ dimensional twistor space for $(Z,W)$. The fermionic coordinates satisfy $(\psi \cdot \eta)^4 = 0$ (just think of the quantum Fourier trans-


form), which is responsible for the condition $(Z \cdot W)^4 = 0$, associated to YangMills solutions. Although Lagrangians cannot possibly be fundamental in a nonlocal theory, this is pretty interesting when one thinks about three copies of it. Recall that the $24$ dimensions (and $24 = 3 \times 8$) of the CFT for the $26$ dimensional bosonic string theory is associated with the Leech lattice and the Monster group and other moonshine maths! Posted by Kea at 09:20PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Ambitwistor Holography by:kneemo June 24, 2009

Ok, so the eight dimensional space you refer to seems to be the CR ambitwistor space A_E of complex null geodesics that intersect E=R^4, where A_E is homeomorphic to R^4 x CP^1 x CP^1. 2. Re: Ambitwistor Holography by:Kea June 24, 2009

Right, so I guess that with 3 copies there would be 6 lots of CP^1 giving 12 out of the 24 dimensions of the Leech lattice. Inside there I suppose there is some nice 6d (real) torus. 3. Re: Ambitwistor Holography by:kneemo June 25, 2009

As the 12-dimensional projective ambitwistor space is A=CP^3 x CP^3, it's possible to embed A in a 34-dimensional Freudenthal triple system (FTS) over J(4,C), e.g., F=J(4,C)+J(4,C)*+R+R, where the CP^3's are the spaces of projectors for J(4,C) and it's dual J(4,C)*. The automorphism group of the FTS would then correspond to the conformal group of A and one can proceed to classify orbits and attractors by reading off the ranks of the FTS.

The String Wars
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Gil Kalai has written a book, entitled "Gina Says" - Adventures in the Blogosphere's String War, based on his experiences as a poster named Gina. It is full of gems, including many admirable quotes, such as: "Gina's comments are blocked on my blog because she was posting a large number of comments there, while most of the time clearly not understanding what she was writing about", P. Woit, Backreaction 5:59, December 27, 2006 "Gina, you and quite a few others seem confused about the meaning of higher dimensions." Thomas Love, September 28th, 2006 at 2:16 pm This could be a bestseller! Posted by Kea at 08:45PM (+12:00)


1. Re: The String Wars by:LRiofrio June 25, 2009

How fun! I wonder what publisher will buy it. Not being a string theorist, it is pleasing not to be part of this war. 2. Re: The String Wars by:GilKalai July 03, 2009

Thanks for the post on my book. (Gina is certainly the hero of my book but I am not her.) 3. Re: The String Wars by:Kea Somewhere towards the end he admits that he is Gina. 4. Re: The String Wars by:Kea You're not Gina? Oh, so maybe it is a woman, after all. I really can't tell. 5. Re: The String Wars by:CarlBrannen July 01, 2009 July 03, 2009 June 25, 2009

I read it thoroughly and didn't see an admission. However, he apparently sent Peter Woit an email and he was outed on Woit's blog. 6. Re: The String Wars by:CarlBrannen June 25, 2009

Favorite quote: "We do not pay scientists to be just honest, we pay them to be gullible, as well. They have to be gullible in their beliefs regarding the foundation of the current theory they are working on ..." (p 42) And does he admit that he is Gina somewhere else? The book implies that he is only selecting and editing her comments. 7. Re: The String Wars by:Kea June 26, 2009

By the way, as my Facebook buddies may know, my sister's name happens to be Gina. 8. Re: The String Wars by:nige June 25, 2009

Hi Kea, seeing that nobody understands string theory well enough to use it to make a checkable prediction, I don't see how Gina's confusion will be a problem any more than the Bogdanov brothers research on the stringy Planck scale origin of the universe: 'In justifying the conferring of doctoral degrees to the Bogdanovs, Sternheimer told the [New York] Times, "These guys worked for 10 years without pay. They have the right to have their work recognized with a diploma, which is nothing much these days."[2]' - Hi Louise, as long as there is no physics in a physics book, lots of popular publishers should be interested which is why bookshops are full of speculative hype on branes, parallel worlds, and time machines, but not your book which makes predictions! Publishers are especially repelled if they send it to a string theroist for review, as


occurred to Dr Woit when he sent a book to Cambridge University Pess, which had earlier published Weinberg's stringy three volume QFT set, Johnson's D-Branes, etc.

M Theory Lesson 280
Friday, June 26, 2009
According to Oeding, the Lagrangian Grassmanian of an even dimensional symplectic space $V$ is the image of a map $f$ that takes a symmetric matrix and gives a vector of minors. There is a projection from the Grassmanian onto the variety of principal minors of all $n \times n$ matrices. This is interesting because minors are a natural way to describe pure states in quantum mechanics. Consider a three qubit state with $8$ amplitudes. Forgetting about $a_{000}$, which we can set to $1$ projectively speaking, and letting $a_{111}$ be related somehow to the determinant of a matrix, it turns out that the other six amplitudes should be expressed as the principal minors of the matrix which has full determinant given by the entanglement measure (Cayley's hyperdeterminant) Posted by Kea at 02:29AM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 280 by:PhilG June 26, 2009

By the spookiest of coincidences I am in the middle of writing something very similar on my hyperdeterminant blog, but I think I can go a little further... 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 280 by:Kea June 26, 2009

That's great, Phil! The more the merrier, I say. Actually, I spoke about this at PI recently, but I haven't been keeping up with the blogging. More to come ...

M Theory Lesson 281
Friday, June 26, 2009
Laurent Manivel, of the CNRS, has a paper that discusses how the hyperdeterminant arises as the restriction of a quartic form for the Weyl group $W(E_7)$. Here $E_7$ means the root system of that name. It turns out that we should be interested in a product of seven copies of $A_2$ with the automorphism group of the Fano plane. The latter group is the nice group $PSL(2, F_7)$. The hyperdeterminant is a quartic form for an eight dimensional space $A_{ijk}$ that appears in a $56$ dimensional representation of $E_7$ made of seven copies of the form $A_{ijk}$ for different $i$, $j$ and $k$. The entanglement of qudits really does have a lot of wonderful geometry associated to it. Posted by Kea at 08:05PM (+12:00)


1. Re: M Theory Lesson 281 by:PhilG June 28, 2009

This also corresponds to what Duff and Ferrara wrote about the E7 suzy black hole duality when string theory is reduced to 4 dimensions. There should also be more interest in the similar situation with E8 where the 2x2x2x2 hyperdeterminant (degree 24) should be obtained in a similar way from invariants of degree 8 and 12 on the 248 dimensional rep. Manivel shows how this reduces to 14 2x2x2x2 hypermatrices and 8 SL(2) matrices (248 = 14*16 + 8*3) but as far as I know nobody has done the algebra to show exactly how the hyperdeterminant would fall out in this case. It is interesting because you should get E8 when you reduce M-theory to 3 dimensions (or so I have read). In Witten's 3D theory the black hole entropy is related to the Jfunction which is great because the 2x2x2x2 hyperdeterminant appears in the Jinvariant. Question is, how does the monster get in? 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 281 by:Kea Ah, thanks! 3. Re: M Theory Lesson 281 by:PhilG June 28, 2009 June 29, 2009

The full 2x2x2x2 hyperdeterminant was worked out in this paper in 2006. They also looked at its Newton Polytope which is 11 dimensional :) But as I said, nobody has worked out the corresponding E8 invariant which would use a configuration of 14 2x2x2x2 hypermatrices based on the E8 code and a Chevalley algebra for the remaining 24 dimensions. It would be big but not beyond the possibility of explicit construction. If that is not bad enough, there may be a similar invariant which uses the Golay code. There would be 759 copies of 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2 hypermatrices configured like the weight 8 codes and 2576 singlets for the weight 12 codes. It could be related to the Griess algebra whose automorphism group is the monster, but its existance is pure speculation on my part. The 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2 hyperdeterminant is a polynomial of degree 60032 in 256 variables so imagine how many terms that would have. 4. Re: M Theory Lesson 281 by:Kea June 28, 2009

Hi Phil. I found a paper that discusses the degree 24 case, which was only fully constructed in 2007, as it has 2894276 terms!


A Preprint
Friday, June 26, 2009
I think I'll leave it to Carl Brannen to put our four page preprint on mixing matrices on his website. We eagerly await referee reports. Posted by Kea at 09:20PM (+12:00)

1. Re: A Preprint by:Kea Dear Dr. Sheppeard I am writing in reference to your manuscript ``Discrete Fourier transform and the particle mixing matrices'' (DF10726). Physical Review D covers current research in elementary particle physics, gravitation, and those aspects of astrophysics that are related to the physics of particles and fields. To be publishable here, a manuscript should present significant results in one or more of these fields, be of high quality and scientific interest, and make an important contribution to the literature. After reading your manuscript, I find that it does not satisfy these criteria. I regret to inform you that we therefore cannot accept it for publication. Sincerely... 2. Re: A Preprint by:CarlBrannen June 27, 2009 June 27, 2009

Okay, and here it is, "The discrete Fourier transform and the particle mixing matrices", Carl Brannen and Marni Sheppeard, submitted PRD. 3. Re: A Preprint by:Kea Carl, should we try another journal? 4. Re: A Preprint by:CarlBrannen Wish me luck on arXiv, I've got permission to upload the gravity paper. If someone has references that are appropriate (i.e. don't get me moderated back into amateur land), please post a comment over on my blog. The gravity essay was limited to 1500 words so I cut the bibliography very very short. 5. Re: A Preprint by:CarlBrannen June 28, 2009 June 27, 2009 June 27, 2009

I suggest Foundations of Physics or EPJ C as they are a set of "cooperating journals" that move papers around between them.


6. Re: A Preprint by:nige

June 28, 2009

Hi Carl, thanks for those links. Part 3 of the first is nice because it states the path integral with mathematical precision, unlike many vaguer treatments. Feynman in QED makes clear that the amplitude for each path, exp(iS) with path action S in units of h-bar, is a simple geometric factor. Euler's formula states exp(iS) = (cos S) + i(sin S). Thus, Feynman was able to draw geometric diagrams for various paths to show how to work out "path integrals" for the refraction of light by glass and other low energy physics applications, by adding up amplitudes without formal calculus... 7. Re: A Preprint by:CarlBrannen June 28, 2009

Nige, I think the basic problem is that PRD doesn't have any MUB oriented papers. We're thinking about going to PRA which publishes those sorts of papers (but not with regard to elementary particles). The problem is that it's between the two areas, elementary particles and quantum information theory. Re Feynman diagrams and MUBs, you might enjoy these two papers: Feynman's Integral is About Mutually Unbiased Bases, by George Svetlichny and Feynman's path integral and mutually unbiased bases, by J Tolar and G Chadzitaskos, J. Phys. A: Math. Theor. 42 245306, which last, might be a better journal to submit to. 8. Re: A Preprint by:CarlBrannen June 28, 2009

I also like J. Math Phys, which has content more compatible with what we've got, for example see Unbiased Bases (Hadamards) for six-level systems: Four ways from Fourier. 9. Re: A Preprint by:CarlBrannen June 27, 2009

Nige, It's got past the editors, that is, someone read it and decided the topic was suitable for PRD. So it's now been sent out for peer review. And if anyone wants to see it on arXiv who happens to have hep-ph endorsement capability, contact one of us, perhaps here I suppose. P.S. We'd already be world famous except we had the bad luck to release the paper on the same day that Michael Jackson died. :( 10. Re: A Preprint by:nige June 28, 2009

"... Feynman's ... first paper on the new method was rejected by Physical Review, the premier American physics journal, suggesting that true originality may have as difficult a time in physics as in any other human endeavor." I think that the referee probably just read the abstract and skimmed the paper, just as happened to Feynman. (Maybe the abstract should be a little more detailed, and emphasize the work on developing a theory for the Koide equation? Maybe you just need to submit elsewhere. It is definitely a quite abstruse paper to me - rather like reading Weyl's writings on group theory - but I would have thought that the Physical Review would appreciate that mathematical style. Maybe it would help to emphasize the physical results in the paper more? However, don't take my suggestions seriously,, because if I really knew how to overcome apathy, I'd be better at writing myself!)


11. Re: A Preprint by:CarlBrannen Marni, of course! 12. Re: A Preprint by:CarlBrannen

June 27, 2009

July 01, 2009

Uh, the arXiv version of that last reference is Feynman’s path integral and mutually unbiased bases, J Tolar and G Chadzitaskos, 0904.0886, April 2009. 13. Re: A Preprint by:nige Good luck! June 27, 2009

Mixing History
Monday, June 29, 2009
Carl just showed me these interesting papers, which should have been discussed earlier: (1) Neutrino Mixing with Delta(27) (2) A4 Symmetry and Neutrinos both by Ernest Ma. Posted by Kea at 02:57AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Mixing History by:CarlBrannen June 29, 2009

Also see his paper on Delta(81), which I think may be the best discrete subgroup choice. However, rather than a subgroup of SU(3) it is a subgroup of U(3). I wonder how parameterizations based on circulants would interact with these discrete groups, hint hint.

Magic Matrix
Monday, June 29, 2009
Philip Gibbs has now provided a webpage with his solution to the problem of showing that any $3 \times 3$ unitary matrix can be turned into a magic matrix by multiplication of its rows and columns by phase factors. Posted by Kea at 09:11PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Magic Matrix by:PhilG July 02, 2009


Thanks for the link!

M Theory Lesson 282
Monday, June 29, 2009
Recall that the vertices of associahedra are described by all rooted binary trees of a certain height, such that degeneracies in the level of the nodes is permitted. For example, for trees with three vertices (including a root) there must be four leaves, and we obtain the five vertices of a pentagon. The edges of the pentagon are labelled by trees with only two nodes, which are the contractions of the trees on the boundary vertices. And the face of the pentagon itself is labelled by the single vertex four leaved tree. The associahedron for two leaves is a point and the associahedron for three leaves is a single edge. For each real dimension, there is an associahedron. What about ternary trees? First observe that the real dimension must increase by two at each step, because ternary vertices increase the number of leaves by two at each branching. The first two ternary polytopes are described by the following trees. The second case has three points on a surface, with no marked edges, just like a Riemann sphere. The next case naturally lives in dimension four, so we only draw the seven leaved trees marking the $12$ points: Posted by Kea at 09:50PM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 282 by:Kea I did order from Amazon, and I only paid $61 for a nice hard bound copy. 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 282 by:PhilG OOps I replied to the wrong post, glad to hear you got such a good deal. Ordering stuff from the US to the UK can sometimes be a pain because the customs may randomly open it up and charge you VAT, duty and a big fee. I think books are fairly safe though. 3. Re: M Theory Lesson 282 by:PhilG July 02, 2009 July 02, 2009 July 02, 2009

It's funny to think that they started out looking at generalised hypergeometric functions. The hyperdeterminant was the inverse of the first term in special cases(or something like that) so they thought they had better understand it first. They ended up writing the book on just that. One day somebody should go back and finish understanding the rest of the terms in the functions. For the benefit of anyone else who wants to buy it, you could have ordered from and got the cheaper paperback version.


M Theory Lesson 283
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Whilst perusing the literature on Cayley's hyperdeterminant, I kept coming across a reference to the textbook by Gelfand, Kapranov and Zelevinsky. The library here does not have this book, but recently it occured to me that I might order it online. Imagine that! After only a week, a beautiful hard bound dark green copy arrived, well wrapped, from Ohio. The front cover has a diagram that looks something like this: This is an example of a secondary polytope. In the section Examples of secondary polytopes, on page 237, we find the associahedra. I can't wait to read more. Posted by Kea at 08:40PM (+12:00)

Friday, July 03, 2009
My yahoo page constantly bombards me with calls to escape the English weather and head to Spain. Is it cooler there? Because we are all dying of heat stroke here. Nonetheless, Tommaso, Filippo and I enjoyed a wander about Oxford yesterday afternoon, and dinner on Banbury Road. This morning, finally, the welcome rain arrived, but it is still quite warm. Posted by Kea at 08:52PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Summertime by:LRiofrio Wonderful that you and Tommaso are meeting. Paris is wonderful too. 2. Re: Summertime by:aquantumdiariessurvivor July 05, 2009 July 04, 2009

Yep Louise, it was a wonderful afternoon with Marni. I will meet you too some day, I am sure. Cheers, T. 3. Re: Summertime by:nige July 04, 2009

Glad you are making the most of the warm weather in Oxford! I'm on the East coast and the North Sea is always icy, when when there is some sunshine :-( Have you tried the country walks around Oxford yet? Especially the Cotswolds? I suppose it's boring compared to the glaciers of New Zealand! 4. Re: Summertime by:nige July 05, 2009


About Spain... If you google "madrid temperature" you get the daily forecast in Spain for today and the next 3 days. Today: 31°C Current: Clear Wind: NW at 2 mph Humidity: 19% Googling you google "Oxford temperature" gives for today (Sat 4 July): 25°C Current: Clear Wind: SW at 5 mph Humidity: 53% Therefore, you're way better off where you are regarding the temperature and the breeze, although you have much higher humidity than in Spain.

M Theory Lesson 284
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Recall that there are three two-vertex ternary trees. Since binary trees (vertices of associahedra) are described by fully chorded (ie. triangulated) polygons, we now expect to cut up polygons into squares, since the four sides correspond to the $4$-valent vertex of a ternary tree. Only polygons with an even number of sides appear. For the hexagon, the three ternary trees are described by three single chord diagrams. But these particular diagrams also have an interpretation in terms of binary trees! That is, they represent the three square faces of our favourite associahedron, which Loday matched to the crossings of a trefoil knot in three dimensional space. These binary trees each have five leaves, just like the ternary trees in the diagram above. The difference is that each ternary vertex has been resolved into two binary vertices using the rule: Posted by Kea at 12:33AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 285
Saturday, July 04, 2009
After several weeks of wondering where it was, I finally managed to track down a paper by Sergey Fomin and Nathan Reading, Root systems and generalized associahedra. Read chapter 3. On page 38 they consider Grassmannian spaces, in a way not unlike that currently popular among twistor (ex-string) theorists. Consider the example Gr$(2,4)$. For any complex $2 \times 4$ matrix, we can define $2 \times 2$ submatrices of the form $M_{kl} = (z_{1k}, z_{1l}; z_{2k}, z_{2l})$. Letting $P_{kl} = \textrm{det} M_{kl}$ for all allowed $k$ and $l$, we have the relation $P_{ik} P_{jl} = P_{ij} P_{kl} + P_{il} P_{jk}$


Fomin and Reading call this an exchange relation, because in the form $xy = ac + bd$ it describes a relation between different chorded square pieces of a polygon, just like in the associahedra diagrams. Each exchange relation describes an edge in an associahedron. There are as many variables as one needs to label the sides of a square, and the diagonals, namely $2n + 3$, where $n = 1$ in the case of the basic square. Aside: Of course, I tried googling exchange relation and BCFW, but there were, unfortunately, zero hits. Posted by Kea at 11:27PM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 285 by:Kea Sounds like fun, Louise! But I guess you will be off to Brazil soon. 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 285 by:LRiofrio July 09, 2009 July 09, 2009

I just received invitation to a Grassmanian conference September 14-18 in Poland, but I may need to be at another meeting that week. Grassmann was an interesting character, a polymath versed on both physics and maths.

At Your Leisure
Monday, July 06, 2009
In the next installment of the arxiv adventures, let us look at what happened to the paper by Carl that won an honourable mention in the Gravity Research Foundation competition this year. Here it is: C. A. Brannen The force of gravity in Schwarzschild and Gullstrand-Painlevé coordinates Physics > General Physics 0907.0660 That is, on the crackpot physics arxiv, rather than the gravity arxiv where it was submitted, and where poor Carl, after some difficulty in trying to upload the paper, was told that he might now upload a version at his leisure. That's right, folks. Now papers that are sanctioned by professionals are being put onto this blacklist arxiv, which everybody knows that nobody reads. Are you going to complain about it? Do something about it? No, you're not, are you. Posted by Kea at 07:48PM (+12:00)


1. Re: At Your Leisure by:LRiofrio As we know, archive minders have openly Stalinist beliefs. 2. Re: At Your Leisure by:Kea July 06, 2009 July 09, 2009

TD suggested to me that we find a well known author to submit a paper for us in their name. It's worth a shot. Any takers? 3. Re: At Your Leisure by:aquantumdiariessurvivor July 07, 2009

Well, you should advertise it more openly, and request private answers! Put up a post with these lines and I will link to it. xxx T.

At Your Leisure II
Monday, July 06, 2009
AF posted this a while back, but since hardly anybody seems to have considered it, let me post it once again: excerpts from the Declaration of Academic Freedom. Article 2: Who is a scientist A scientist is any person who does science. Any person who collaborates with a scientist in developing and propounding ideas and data in research or application is also a scientist. The holding of a formal qualification is not a prerequisite for a person to be a scientist. Article 4: Freedom of choice of research theme Many scientists working for higher research degrees or in other research programmes at academic institutions such as universities and colleges of advanced study, are prevented from working upon a research theme of their own choice by senior academic and/or administrative officials, not for lack of support facilities but instead because the academic hierarchy and/or other officials simply do not approve of the line of inquiry owing to its potential to upset mainstream dogma, favoured theories, or the funding of other projects that might be discredited by the proposed research. The authority of the orthodox majority is quite often evoked to scuttle a research project so that authority and budgets are not upset. This commonplace practice is a deliberate obstruction to free scientific thought, is unscientific in the extreme, and is criminal. It cannot be tolerated. A scientist working for any academic institution, authority or agency, is to be completely free as to choice of a research theme, limited only by the material support and intellectual skills able to be offered by the educational institution, agency or authority. If a scientist carries out research as a member of a collaborative group, the research directors and


team leaders shall be limited to advisory and consulting roles in relation to choice of a relevant research theme by a scientist in the group. Article 8: Freedom to publish scientific results A deplorable censorship of scientific papers has now become the standard practice of the editorial boards of major journals and electronic archives, and their bands of alleged expert referees. The referees are for the most part protected by anonymity so that an author cannot verify their alleged expertise. Papers are now routinely rejected if the author disagrees with or contradicts preferred theory and the mainstream orthodoxy. Many papers are now rejected automatically by virtue of the appearance in the author list of a particular scientist who has not found favour with the editors, the referees, or other expert censors, without any regard whatsoever for the contents of the paper. There is a blacklisting of dissenting scientists and this list is ommunicated between participating editorial boards. This all amounts to gross bias and a culpable suppression of free thinking, and are to be condemned by the international scientific community. All scientists shall have the right to present their scientific research results, in whole or in part, at relevant scientific conferences, and to publish the same in printed scientific journals, electronic archives, and any other media. No scientist shall have their papers or reports rejected when submitted for publication in scientific journals, electronic archives, or other media, simply because their work questions current majority opinion, conflicts with the views of an editorial board, undermines the bases of other current or planned research projects by other scientists, is in conflict with any political dogma or religious creed, or the personal opinion of another, and no scientist shall be blacklisted or otherwise censured and prevented from publication by any other person whomsoever. No scientist shall block, modify, or otherwise interfere with the publication of a scientist's work in the promise of any presents or other bribes whatsoever. Posted by Kea at 08:06PM (+12:00)

1. Re: At Your Leisure II by:Kea July 06, 2009

Yes, the parallels are indeed striking. But I think I can picture the chit chat at Strings 09, with people like Nima Arkani-Hamed talking enthusiastically about holography and twistors and emergent spacetimes, and this is a very positive development I think. 2. Re: At Your Leisure II by:MattiPitkanen July 06, 2009

This manifesto is also at my homepage. Perhaps colleagues have not read it since it is still impossible for me to publish anything;-). Speaking seriously: science nowadays is not doing research but doing career. Ethics has suffered the same fate in science as in global market economy. The developments leading to the crash down of the world economy and string conferences without a bit of information leaking out of them (brings in mind North Korea) are amazingly parallel. 3. Re: At Your Leisure II


by:nige "I don't see what the arxiv would gain by restricting readership."

July 06, 2009

Kea, the stringy mainstream who are by and large behind arXiv (e.g. Distler, discussed by Woit, and others discussed by Tony Smith) would certainly lose prestige if arXiv hosted a paper from some unknown patent examiner which overturned mainstream string theory. This "declaration" you quote from is an idealism, which can never be implemented in practice, so it avoids any contact with the reality of science and its deep problems. It's not just an elite which enforces dictatorship in science, it's a grass roots mainstream movement which always supports the reigning dogma of science using petty officialdom, authority of "established experts" on matters where those experts simply lack data (quantum gravity), etc. Most people will agree with this charter for the few seconds it takes to read it, but in a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of way! They will revert to the opposite straight afterwards for obvious reasons: Few people have the time to check claims made by big name "experts", so they have to take it on trust based on non-scientific criteria such as holding a PhD and having a lot of publications in "top" journals. Unless or until somebody can overcome this, declaration with its convenient lack of definition of "science", is worse than totally worthless because it gives the false impression that there is some way in principle to overcome groupthink, which there simply isn't. The mainstream defines "science" to include untested speculations from "top experts" but to exclude them from others, and even to exclude tested facts from others if they theoretical basis is radical! It's precisely like any double-standard idealism such as Christianity or communism: everybody objects to the nefarious dictatorship you need to impose communism on the world, but nobody objects to the principle of sharing out wealth so that you don't have a few megarich people with $billions and half the world in poverty. So people generally will agree to the ideal of communism, but will (justifiably) totally reject communism as a practical system because of all the practical problems of implementation that go with it (loss of liberty due to the need for state police to suppress dissent, need for dictatorship to control society, loss of motivation stemming from equal distribution of wealth, etc.). The communists simply teach themselves to be hypocrites and neglect the obvious practical problems with their idealism. Similarly, the Christians (like me) don't live according to the strict doctrine of Jesus' disciples, which is not merely a matter of attending church and confession. Doublethink and hypocrisy are rife in religion and politics. So why on earth should anybody be surprised that it also exists in science, where we all agree in principle that ideas should be judged on their merits, but in practise we don't have the time or resources to check papers and instead rely on the CV of the scientist to impress us? 4. Re: At Your Leisure II by:CarlBrannen July 07, 2009

I probably should blog this. I'm not dissapointed at all. This is a wonderful step forward. I have little doubt that as soon as google figures it out, if you do a search for

258 my paper will show up. It's in the permanent record. On the other hand, there are about 250 gravity essay papers that got "honorable mention" on arXiv and mine appears to be the only one that is in general physics, LOL. If I get pissed off enough about the unfairness, I'll send them an email but I think I'll wait at least to hear back from the referees, or perhaps when the paper begins picking up citations. If our theories were obvious stuff that any grad student knew was worthwhile research, we wouldn't have the field to ourselves. This is not a curse, it is a blessing. Garrett Lisi's paper got sent to gen-physics or something like that if I recall, and then pulled back out. It's no big deal. It's some grad student's estimate on whether or not the average researcher in gr-qc wants to read it and he's probably right. I have around a dozen other papers I plan to submit for publication and arXiv over the next year. Somewhere along the way, I expect to earn the right to submit, at least to gen-ph. You guys need to be writing and publishing your stuff. 5. Re: At Your Leisure II by:nige Kea, From the helpful arXiv page: ‘What are my responsibilities as an endorser? July 06, 2009

‘... We don’t expect you to read the paper in detail, or verify that the work is correct, but you should check that the paper is appropriate for the subject area. You should not endorse the author ... if the work is entirely disconnected with current work in the area. ‘We reserve the right to suspend a person's ability to endorse for any reason. If you endorse a person who makes an inappropriate submission, we may suspend your ability to make endorsements.’ (Emphasis added.) What they are saying is simply: ‘We don't want to host really innovative anti-groupthink papers, like the radical groundbreaking papers of the unknown Einstein or Feynman - if you see a paper of such a sort you should not endorse the author because any ideas radical enough to have a chance of being right will be entirely disconnected with current work in the area. Don't you dare endorse Einstein or Feynman characters or you will be banned from endorsing!’ But I absolutely love the funny statement nearer the top of the page: -


‘Why does arXiv require endorsement? ‘... our team has worked behind the scenes for a long time to ensure the quality of our content. ... The new endorsement system will verify that arXiv contributors belong the scientific community in a fair and sustainable way ... ‘... Although our system may be imperfect, people who fail to get endorsement are still free to post articles on their web site or to submit their publications to peer-reviewed journals.’ See how fair they are. arXiv will actually not try to ban you from posting on your own website or submitting to a peer-reviewed journal. How public spirited of them not to try to sabotage science in either of those two ways. Very liberal, and surprising. It's also very helpful of them to suggest these two course of action. (It reminds me of the great, helpful advice from Marie Antoinette: "qu'ils mangent de la brioche".) 6. Re: At Your Leisure II by:Kea Bizarrely, this post has a trackback. 7. Re: At Your Leisure II by:Kea July 06, 2009 July 07, 2009

Javier, the website seems to have changed over the years, but the original text was written by the editor of a Respectable Physics Journal. I don't see what the arxiv would gain by restricting readership. Pretty well anyone would have access via a university IP. 8. Re: At Your Leisure II by:PhilG July 07, 2009

Do we think it would be worthwhile starting an alternative archive with a completely open policy? I know that it wouldn't be read like the arXiv because it would have a high noise to signal ratio. But if it attracted even a small number of papers that were well enough cited, that would make it a success. I dont think there is any hope that the arXiv will change their policies. I also think that publishing in Journals is going to get even harder. Of course we can all publish our papers on our websites but people need to be able to find them. Websites can't be relied on for long term stability or verification of submission dates. That is what archives are needed for. 9. Re: At Your Leisure II by:Javier Have your tried the links on that website? Most of them don't work (at leas didn't when Itried). Others go to publicitary pages. That makes one wonder if that is a serious project or a publicitary strategy for wwho knows what. About arxiv, well, my real concern is whether it will remain open for reading it in the forthcoming future. I wound't get too surprised if only suscribed userrs (or readers from an allowed range of IP's, that is, a universisty) could read it. July 06, 2009


10. Re: At Your Leisure II by:Anonymous Check this out! 11. Re: At Your Leisure II by:Kea

July 08, 2009

July 06, 2009

No doubt you are right, Nigel. But given the events related in the last post, I felt the need to make some statement, knowing full well it is entirely futile.

An Idea
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Tommaso Dorigo had a bizarre idea ... an idea that I am not sure makes any sense, since I cannot imagine that there would be any takers ... but here it is. Tommaso suggests that I (alone, or along with Carl, if he is interested) find a highly respectable person to put their name on a paper, entirely written by me (us), as an experiment to see if the paper might be publishable. Not a bad idea. The implementation of this proposal would have to be confidential, so any potential takers must email me privately at the email address in the comments section. For this experiment, I will write a short paper on any subject that is discussed in this blog, and which I have spent some time thinking about. Posted by Kea at 08:20PM (+12:00)

1. Re: An Idea by:PhilG I think an experiment doing the opposite would also be revealing. Find a respected theorist with tenure at a well known institution who is willing to submit one of their own unpublished papers to a journal (with a high impact factor) using an unknown pseudonym while claiming to work at "Liquafaction Corporation" or something similar. If the paper is rejected, then submit the same thing to another journal using real name and institution to see what difference it makes. However, I am doubtful that you will find anyone suitable who is willing to take up either challenge for the simple reason that everyone in such a position thinks that someone without a good affiliation would not be capable of doing useful research in theoretical physics, therefore it is not unreasonable for journals to filter out amateur papers. Just to give one example, Chiara Nappi (Ed Witten's wife) was quoted in New Scientist as saying "Techniques have advanced so much that it's not conceivable these days to be able to do your work in a patent office in Berne" If established scientists thought this was not the case you would expect at least some of them to criticise the arXiv censorship policy, but they don't. 2. Re: An Idea by:Javier July 08, 2009 July 08, 2009

Chiara, and other people who says that should be cautious with that sentences.


Possily most potential readers of this blog know what inverse psicology mean. And to say that things is an invitation for everyone that is really inteligent to do preciselly what they say it is impossible. Basically what se says can be reinterpreted as "if you are average inteligent (for good physicists criteria, of course) you need to be in a tenure positionto do important things, go away the systme and prove I am wrong". On the other hand I think that still now there already examples in the math comunity. Grigory perelman did at least a large part of his demostrationof the geometrization cnjecture (that leads to the poincaré conjecture) working in his moth house. Also there are people int he math comunity that freely choosed to leave work in the universitiy and continue doing his work at home 8possible still reciving founds). Inparticular one of them (I don't remember the name) is mentioned in the Donald O'Shea book aout the topic doing preciselly that. 3. Re: An Idea by:Javier July 08, 2009

On the other hand the imposibility to publish is something new. int he "elegan universe" TV Show it is told that Leonard Susskind coudn't publish his first paper about string theory (the QCD one). Michel Green neither could do so. It wasn't until theoy could show that the theory was free of anomalies (and that they did the reinterpretation from QCD to fundamental strings) that they could publish. Also it is mentioned as Theodore Kaluz and Oscar Klein (not cnfuse with Feliz Klein) had problems to publish. One of them send their papers to Einstein and he didn't get conviced to recmend it's pulication for two years. Also it is important to note that it is not only people out of academy who have problems to pulish. People with actual tenures in not too famous universities have more problems to get published than others working in best known ones (even if the actual people signing the paper has a distinguised past with publications in high impact reviews). 4. Re: An Idea by:PhilG July 08, 2009

I'm going to start an alternative archive. I dont really know if people are likely to support it or what type of papers it will get but I think its worth a go as an experiment. I've registered but if anyone has better ideas for names or any other suggestions I will consider them. 5. Re: An Idea by:PhilG You have just given me an idea for the logo LOL. Alternative name suggestions welcome. 6. Re: An Idea by:PhilG July 09, 2009 July 08, 2009

A draft version of the nalternative archive website is available at The domain name may not have fully propogated yet and the e-mail definitely hasn't, but hopefully it will be fully functional tomorrow. Submissions are by e-mail but I'll do a web upload form if there is sufficient interest to justify the work.


Obviously there are no papers yet, and there are probably loads of typos. Comments welcome. 7. Re: An Idea by:Kea July 12, 2009

No, ptrslv. I feel no obligation to tell, in public, an anonymous person all the arxiv anecdotes that I may have. Personally, I have no interest in testing the limits of the arxiv, because I intend posting all my work elsewhere. 8. Re: An Idea by:Ptrslv72 July 12, 2009

Hi Kea, could you please explain in more detail what are your problems with the arXiv? Cheers Ptrslv72 (sent here by Dorigo) 9. Re: An Idea by:Kea marni at comlab dot ox dot ac dot uk 10. Re: An Idea by:Kea July 08, 2009 July 07, 2009

PhilG, there are a number of websites where one may freely upload papers now. Another archive sounds like a lot of work. As Carl says, google does such a good job of finding things from a few keywords that I'm not sure the arxiv is so important any more, except for the stability of paper urls, which I think is the only issue really. I think google needs to set up a general science arxiv of its own. Wordpress tried allowing document uploads a while back, but quickly gave up, probably from the unexpectedly high usage (now what were they thinking?). Google could allow a limited capacity with blogger urls, and that would work fairly well. 11. Re: An Idea by:Kea July 08, 2009

I used to work as a lead web developer for a certain investment bank that nearly succeeded in bringing down the world economy and is no more, so I know what I am doing. The self appointed academic elite should quake in their boots... Wow, cool! Then I'm sure you can do a great job. I'll put papers there, and a permenant link on my blog. But please don't call it viagra ... 12. Re: An Idea by:PhilG July 08, 2009

It's not a lot of work. I will start with a low tech version and add automation if and when necessary. I used to work as a lead web developer for a certain investment bank that nearly succeeded in bringing down the world economy and is no more, so I know what I am doing. The self appointed academic elite should quake in their boots :) I realise that people can upload work to their own websites and they will be indexed by Google, but there are several reasons why this is not a complete solution. For one thing, people will only find papers with terms they are searching for. It is useful to be able to look in a central place and browse all entries by category or date. Also websites can come and go and do not provide an immutable timestamp or url.


Carl is lucky that his site is indexed under the Google Scholar search, but that does not work for everyone. The general search engine includes other noise and does not list citations. I hope they will include viXra in Scholar if it takes off. An archive can also provide added value by including citations, reference links and blog trackbacks. Usage stats would also be of interest and it is a pity that the arXiv does not do that well. My personal favourite would be a feature that showed similar work that the authors neglected to cite, perhaps I could include that. If you know a repository that can do most of that, and where I can freely upload my work, let me know and I will use that instead. If there is no need for it then nobody but me will submit any papers and it will only survive as a repository for my own work with no great loss. I am in the process of upgrading my dedicated server to 160 GB which is probably more than is currently needed to hold the complete contents of the arXiv so I dont expect space to be a problem even if it does become very popular. 13. Re: An Idea by:Ptrslv72 July 12, 2009

So be it. As I mentioned, I was asking this on Tommaso's suggestion (read the thread in his blog). He is looking for a volunteer who would put his name on a paper of yours that has had problems on the arXiv, so I thought that it would be reasonable to explain what the problems were. Good luck finding somebody who will put his/her reputation at stake on such scant information (but I was not interested anyway so I should just shut up ;-) Cheers, Ptrslv72 14. Re: An Idea by:Javier I made publicity of the new site in my own blog, I hope that you will not get disappointed with my presentation 15. Re: An Idea by:Javier July 08, 2009 July 09, 2009

Other thing that I belive it is important to say is that the arxiv claim is right. People can publish in ther blogs. And, in fact, it seems as if people pubishing bblogs are very well known . A paradigmatic example is Peter Woitt. Be sure that he is much more famous that what his contributions to science dererves. A diferent case is Matti. Maybe he cna't publish in hep-th, but he can be sure that peopleknows him. Some time ago I added google analitycs as a tool to see the traffic to my website. And I could see that TGD or topological geometrodymacis are some of the words that more traffic brings to my blog (if someone is interested the top search chain is "Horava-Lipschitz"). Even good physicist- sure you know who they are;-) - with good publications in papers are specially famous because of their bblogs. I mean, some people I know personally (allthought unhappily I lost contact with them), working in string theory, have more papers in peer reviewed publications than them and are poorly known (outside the string comunity at least).


Personally I can't say too much. I have published a paper in math ecology, in colaboration with someone working in a university and there was no problem. I actually have not any idea developed engought to deserve publicationn so there is no case. A priori I am not terribly worried. I know people who, at least a prioiri would endorse me (afther beeing sure what I want to publish makes sense). And I think that I am cristal clear exposing the logic of my ideas so that I don't expect difficoults in that side. The hard part is to get up to date in nowadays physic and doingngood things, as allways has been anyway. Anyway, as I said people read blogs. If by whatever reason I can't publish in other place because of not beeing in a tenure I will publish there. If the idea is good and people don't care about it it would be their problem, not mine :P. In fact I think that I could get a tenure without too much effort if that would be a total priority for me. If I am out (well, at least partially) of the academy I perfectly understand that people are skeptic and I am not going to blame them for it, I perfectly understand their reasons. B.T.W. Kea, I thought you were in a university now, I would expect that you would have less problems to publish.

Is Everyone Dead Yet?
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
It appears that a new stage of The Wars has begun. Today I learned from our friend Mottle that string theory has officially taken over condensed matter physics and its views on quantum gravity, with the AdS/CMT correspondence. Here is one of the crucial papers under discussion. Unsurprisingly, this has generated comments elsewhere. Mottle says: If you don't know, string theory has won the string wars Given it's ability to completely swallow competing ideas, like a Taniwha, one can only conclude that Mottle is basically correct, but the accuracy of his statement would probably be improved by inventing a new term for string theory, to capture its latest metamorphosis into a background independent, holographic, information theoretic fermi liquid theory. Posted by Kea at 08:13PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Is Everyone Dead Yet? by:Kea July 08, 2009

Nigel, you are of course correct that physics cannot be based on random mathematical arguments, or rigorous theorems. Nonetheless, some of the simple and elegant mathematics that is being investigated will undoubetedly be the new language for physics. The particular choice of Woit et al for what these simple ideas will be seems to be incredibly wrong, because category theory is important .... 2. Re: Is Everyone Dead Yet? by:Kea July 08, 2009


Nigel, enough .... 3. Re: Is Everyone Dead Yet? by:CarlBrannen July 09, 2009

Amsusingly enough, arXiv is busted today, showing papers only as far back as October 2008. 4. Re: Is Everyone Dead Yet? by:nige July 08, 2009

"The particular choice of Woit et al for what these simple ideas will be seems to be incredibly wrong, because category theory is important ...." I'd like to see how category theory can deal with Feynman diagrams and the configuration space of the path integral. Feynman diagrams are limited to a worldsheet consisting of 1 spatial and 1 time dimension, so they don't clearly represent the three dimensional interactions in the configuration space of the path integral. I'd hope that whatever theory supersedes the existing QFT, will make QFT easier for everybody to understand, such as school kids, what the interactions are. This is part of the problem with the stringy maths and Woit's belief: if it were true then we would end up with a "final theory" that only a few elite mathematicians would be able to understand. David Halliday and Robert Resnick state in Physics: "If the [Newtonian] force laws had turned out to be very complicated, we would not be left with the feeling that we had gained much insight into the workings of nature." Sir Michael Atiyah also wrote on this topic in his Nature article, "Pulling the Strings": "The mathematical take-over of physics has its dangers, as it could tempt us into realms of thought which embody mathematical perfection but might be far removed, or even alien to, physical reality." 5. Re: Is Everyone Dead Yet? by:LRiofrio Every war needs its Baghdad Bob! 6. Re: Is Everyone Dead Yet? by:Kea July 09, 2009 July 09, 2009

The comfort of the silent mob is that they never see when they cross a dangerous line ... 7. Re: Is Everyone Dead Yet? by:nige July 08, 2009

Because AdS has a negative cosmological constant (not the positive one observed) which would cause cosmological attraction (not the repulsion and outward acceleration observed by Perlmutter et al. from 1998 onwards), AdS is junk cosmology. I love the Maldacena's holographic correspondence, where physics on a brane with n dimensions is related to physics on a bulk with n + 1 dimensions. It really is nice to know that 11 dimensional supergravity isn't inconsistent with 10 dimensional superstring, because of this correspondence. Similarly, it's nic that 5-d AdS is the bulk for a 4-d CFT, QCD or condensed matter theory. Wonderful. Just a shame that no physical system is exactly represented by this stuff. I notice on the comments to the Woit blog page you link to that someone is claiming that


because AdS/CFT is an exact correspondence, all applications of it are exact and not approximations. The failure of mathematics in modern physics is that it doesn't represent anything exactly. Even the most precise calculations ever made, like the magnetic moments of muons and the Lamb shift, are only known to 15 decimals after decades of work, due to the fact that the expression is a perturbative expansion with an infinite number of terms of ever increasing loop complexity. Even in quantum mechanics, there are no exact wave function solutions beyond hydrogen, and the exact wave function solutions to hydrogen ignore perturbative corrections for quantum field effects. So I'm depressed that Peter Woit wrote yesterday: "I firmly believe that at a fundamental level physics is based on deep mathematics ..." - I had believed that he was rational, but now it turns out he has a crazy unjustifiable belief system. If fundamental particles behave mathematical laws, you need an infinite number of terms in a perturbative expansion for every particle interaction to be solved! It's impossible that mathematics is behind nature. Nature would have to have an infinite number of computers solving the equations behind the scenes. If have a room full of air, all the world's computers would be unable to exactly simulate all the gas molecule motions and impacts in the room in real time! It's so obvious that nature is not mathematical; the maths is just an approximate description like the artist's painting of a landscape is just a description. But nobody will listen, so I agree, everyone is at least brane dead... 8. Re: Is Everyone Dead Yet? by:nige July 08, 2009

When I took a course in quantum mechanics, I was surprised by the fact that not only is nothing precisely predictable because of the uncertainty principle (i.e. because of interferences between different paths where the action of the paths is not much greater than h, as Feynman says), but (apart from the application of Schroedinger's equation to hydrogen), the work of the physicist is an art: finding an approximation for a many electron high Z atom for example. You reduce the effective value of Z to allow for the screening of the nuclear charge by the electrons between the nucleus and the electron shell you are trying to do approximate calculations on. There are other tricks too. It was obvious that mathematical physics is an art, like painting a landscape, in the sense it is not mathematically exact. There are lots of different ways of making the approximations you need to do calculations, just as different artists would all produce slightly different paintings of the same thing. It's not possible even in principle to exactly predict wavefunctions for a uranium atom's electrons. It's wonderful that string theory is finally becoming a practical art of use in physics. It's just to be hoped that at some stage, honesty will prevail and they will stop deceiving themselves that string theory is the only possible approach to quantum gravity. (Or that spin-2 gravitons and Planck scale unification are proved true because string theory incorporates them.) Sadly, they are egotists and need to believe absurdly that their art is nature, not just an approximation or guesswork model.


A New Archive
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Phil Gibbs is developing a new archive,, now ready to take your submissions! Please note the handy link on the left sidebar. Posted by Kea at 07:59PM (+12:00)

1. Re: A New Archive by:Anonymous Second paragraph of 'Why viXra' - typo careers. 2. Re: A New Archive by:PhilG July 09, 2009 July 09, 2009

They should be fixed now but I will check everything more carefully once I have finished putting the first paper up. 3. Re: A New Archive by:MattiPitkanen July 09, 2009

Looks a nice idea. My own primary interest would be archive storage for 7 books about TGD and 8 books about its applications to quantum biology and consciousness. Is there intention to include also biology and even consciousness theorizing?

I have used table of contents files for books, where one can click to appropriate chapter of book. This would require the loading both the toc file and chapters as pdf files. Possible? 4. Re: A New Archive by:TonySmith July 11, 2009

I revised my Adobe Acrobat settings for "create pdf from web page" from 8 levels down to 4 levels, and got a pdf file for all of the TGD web site that was a bit smaller (but still large): 11,994 pages and about 68 MB. The extra pages in the 8-level download may have been due to duplication of some pages. Tony Smith 5. Re: A New Archive by:TonySmith July 10, 2009

Matti and Phil, I tried to download the entire TGD web material from and to covert it all to one pdf file using Adobe Acrobat. Although my DSL connection broke down before the download was completed, I evidently did get a lot of the material into one pdf file,


which is about 83 MB in size with about 15,009 pages. I hope that is useful in giving you some idea about file size etc. As I start using the pdf file, I find it to be conveniently self-contained (no need for internet connection to see it all) and that the links seem to work fine. So far I have not noticed what material might be missing, so maybe I got most of the 7 TGD books and 8 Biology books, as well as some supplemental stuff like DNA as quantum computer. For comparison, if I recall correctly, the arXiv had size limits that precluded things that large, although they did permit some web books with a few hundred pages and a few MB in size. Another comparison might be to my web site, which in pdf form has about 8,876 pages and is about 170 MB. (I guess that Matti, being a decade younger than I, has more energy and writes more pages, with the larger file size on my site primarily being due to the fact that I tend to use more images and less compact LaTeX material.) Both Matti and I have books of more conventional length, Matti's being a paper book for sale on Amazon, around 800 pages, and mine being a free pdf web e-book, around 500 pages. It is also interesting that Matti and I have physics models with some ideas in common: we both have spacetime as 8-dim M4 x CP2 we both have AQFT based on infinite tensor products of Cl(8), using 8-periodicity of real Clifford algebras to construct a hyperfinite II1 von Neumann factor. The differences are more in details: I tend to concentrate on details of classical Lagrangian structure underlying the AQFT, which classical geometrical structure may not be (as Matti might say) fundamentally quantum, but even so allows calculation of force strengths, particle masses, etc that can be compared with experiment, while Matti concentrates on p-adic structures that seem to show how the path integral components of the AQFT fit together (my apologies for any errors in what I say here, because this is where Matti knows a lot more than I do). Also, we both work on quantum consciousness. Tony Smith PS - Kea, my apologies if this is off-topic, and feel free to delete it if it seems to be offtopic. 6. Re: A New Archive by:MattiPitkanen Dear Phil, July 11, 2009


yes, keeping titles as general as possible is the manner to avoid future problems. 7. Re: A New Archive by:PhilG July 16, 2009

PhysicsWorld have done an interesting short news article on the new archive. 8. Re: A New Archive by:Anonymous Thanks for New Archive! Yuri Danoyan My blog in russian 9. Re: A New Archive by:PhilG July 11, 2009 July 21, 2009

I'd like to keep the categories as broad as possible because if we start introducing specific ones at this stage there would be too much proliferation with too few entries in each category. I'm thinking of "Biology / Mind Science" as the category which would include anything about conciousness. That would cover conventional approaches to mind science such as neuroscience and psychology as well as newer physics based ideas. "Biology / Quantum Biology" is a possibility but Quantum Biology is quite a specialised area. Wikipedia has quantum biology as a subdiscipline of biophysics so perhaps "Biology / Biophysics" would be better. 10. Re: A New Archive by:PhilG July 11, 2009

Tony, thanks for looking into it. Perhaps 83MB would take too long for some people to download, but I wont set any size limits. I think the best would be either one file per book or possibly two files, one for TGD and one for the quantum biology. Some good news is that viXra now has three e-prints and only two of them are mine :) 11. Re: A New Archive by:MattiPitkanen Dear Phil and Tony, July 11, 2009

thanks a lot for Tony seeing the trouble. This gives already a good estimate about the average computer memory needed per book: something like 4 Mb.

Biology/ Theoretical Biology/ Quantitative biology/ Quantum biology...? It would be good to have sufficiently general title of the topic allowing later a division into subtopics. Concerning consciousness I would suggest "Quantum theories of consciousness" or maybe "Physics based theories of consciousness" which have become quite respectable topic during last years. I think that one book and one pdf file plus table of contents in pdf is the best option. Maximal flexibility would favor zipping toc and pdf files of chapters to single file. Page numbering would be separate for each chapter.


I will send the comments concerning the practical side to the email address at viXra site. Unfortunately I was unable to find Tony's email address. 12. Re: A New Archive by:Kea Carl and I have submitted the paper on mixing matrices. 13. Re: A New Archive by:Anonymous More typos in the fourth paragraph of the same page. 14. Re: A New Archive by:PhilG thanks, got typo, will update shortly 15. Re: A New Archive by:PhilG July 09, 2009 July 09, 2009 July 09, 2009 July 17, 2009

Matti, your work would be very suitable for and I would be keen to see it submitted. I am open to suggestions for new categories so long as they are generic enough. If the books dont fit into the existing science categories on viXra such as quantum physics or quantum gravity, we could add a "Quantitative Biology" category. Many people consider conciousness to be a valid subject for scientific study. Such work might fit a biology section, perhaps you would think of it more as Philiosophy of Physics? You know your work best so please make suggestions. I am keen to avoid having crosslisting like on because some people just crosslist everywhere and the concept becomes useless. Your books probably cover a wide range of subjects but I think it is best to choose one main category for each one. Can you get the table of contents and all chapters into one PDF for each book? What would be the file size in that case? I could add file compression to viXra to reduce the bandwidth if necessary. It does require some work to make it work properly though. An easier solution would be a zip file for each book with mutliple pdf files inside. I can easily accomodate that since everything is manual at this stage. In any case we should discuss the technicalities offline. You can use the e-mail address in the contact section on viXra. 16. Re: A New Archive by:Kea July 11, 2009

I like the idea of 'Quantum Biology' - at the same level as 'Mathematics', 'Physics', ...


Strings 09
Saturday, July 11, 2009
The Strings 09 slides are now online. Get your fix of Arkani-Hamed twistors here! The Grassmanians and Schubert maths starts on slide 42, which contains an example that has the answer 42! Posted by Kea at 04:47AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Strings 09 by:MattiPitkanen July 11, 2009

I looked at the slides. I admire non-specialists able to get out something from this kind of representations. I think that most of the content is in comprehensible form in the article of Nima et al. I understand that the dream is to replace AdS with Minkowski space in AdS/CFT correspondence. N=4 SUSY would be the conformal QFT. In the spirit of decades old tradition, these people start from mathematics instead of physics. Maybe the idea about the replacement M^4 as AdS^5 boundary with lightcone boundary as boundary of future lightcone of M^4 emerges sooner or later since light-cone boundary is very twistorial notion. This will undoubtly lead to a (re)discovery that superconformal symmetries generalize immensely at light-cone boundary having metric dimension 2. The discovery (without "re-") that 4-D Minkowski space as something completely unique will generate a flood of popular articles and books. I have however more or less given up the hope that the idea about replacement strings with light-like 3-surfaces in H=M^4xCP_2 (local variant of lightcone and also a twistorial notion) could be (re)discovered during this century. After this it should be easy to realize that also light-like 3-surfaces possess huge super-conformal symmetries, and some day someone will realize that Equivalence Principle is coded by the analog of coset construction for these conformal symmetries. 4-dimensionality of space-time finally understood!: this will be certainly one of the titles of popular articles.

At year 21xx we will have holography in our physical 4-D space-time regarded as a submanifold of M^4xCP_2 suitably generalized. There is no need for all this extra stuff which paralyzed the theoretical physics for a century (dynamical imbedding space, spontaneous compactification, Calabi-Yau manifolds, all kinds of brane constructions, and a hierarchy of increasingly baroque theories (superstrings, M-, F-, trilobite- , etc...). And also condensed matter physicists will be happy. The theory of high T_c superconductivity would not need 10-dimensional Reissner-Nordstrom blackholes in AdS_4xS^6 as an extra stuff to be explained away!

Well, just daydreaming....


Midsummer Fairies
Sunday, July 12, 2009
At the Summertown laundromat this morning we ran into a newcomer in town, namely the friendly string phenomenologist Stuart Raby, recognisable from a recent conference Tshirt. After sorting out, with some difficulty, which coins one should use in which washing machines, Raby expressed suitable horror at the idea that the Higgs might not exist. Anyway, after some discussion about the recovery of a weakly constrained MSSM from a heterotic string compactification, he admitted to having also considered mass matrices and mixing data using more interesting GUT models, in particular in this paper from 2005. In contrast with Connes' failed prediction of the Higgs mass, this paper still meets experimental constraints, with a prediction of around 120 GeV. The parameters and best fit fermion masses are given on page 12, and neutrino masses on page 13. The neutrino mass sum is much less than 1 eV, in agreement with Carl Brannen's estimate, but the neutrino mixing deviates from tribimaximal. Posted by Kea at 12:16AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Midsummer Fairies by:MattiPitkanen July 12, 2009

Completely out of topic! I found a generalization of twistor concept to 8-D context using number theoretic ideas. This notion allows to get rid of the condition that particles are massless since massive particle in M^4 can be regarded as massless particle in M^8.

The resulting octo-twistor space is 3*8=24-D (triality of three 8-D representations of SO(7,1) allows to fuse them to twistor like entity just as the duality of spinor and its conjugate in case of ordinary twistors). If one allows the overall phase for real spinor and conjugate one obtains 26-D situation. Reality of 8-spinors (apart from overall phase) would be analogous to Majorana condition and would make sense at partonic 2-surfaces (analogs of closed strings) as boundary conditions but not everywhere. One can also consider the analog of Majorana property for the induced gamma matrices or modified gamma matrices appearing in modified Dirac equation. 2. Re: Midsummer Fairies by:Kea July 12, 2009

Yes, the Higgs prediction is rather generic, but I don't think AF has mentioned it before, because fairy fields are less interesting than real observables. 3. Re: Midsummer Fairies by:nige July 12, 2009

Interesting predictions. There is some field that gives mass to particles in the gauge symmetries such as those of the SM, and since mass/energy is the charge of quantum gravity. In general relativity a gravitationa field has energy and is therefore a source of


gravitation itself. This causes quantum gravity to be looked at like as some kind of Yang-Mills field where the field quanta must carry charge itself, i.e. the mainstream sees general relativity as evidence that quantum gravity is non-Abelian. You would however expect from the fact that quantum gravity appears to involve only one sign of charge (mass-energy always falls downward in a gravity field) together with apparently just one type of field quanta, that quantum gravity is a simple Abelian U(1) gauge theory. U(1) x SU(2) x SU(3) has to be supplemented with a Higgs field to break the U(1) x SU(2) symmetry thus separating the electromagnetic and weak forces by giving the weak forces mass. Woit has made the point in his early blog post "The Holy Grail of Physics" that this electroweak symmetry breaking seems to go hand-in-hand with the way that the SU(2) field quanta which gain mass at low energy (limiting the range of the weak force to very small distances) also have the property of only partaking in left-handed interactions. The left-handedness of the weak force seems due to an intrinsic property of the weak field gauge bosons. The simplest way to put quantum gravity and mass into the Standard Model is to leave the short range nuclear force SU(2) x SU(3) symmetry alone, but to change electromagnetism from U(1) to SU(2) with massless weak gauge bosons. I.e., half the weak gauge bosons gain mass to give the left-handed weak force; the remainder mediate electromagnetism. So you have negatively charged radiation mediating negative electric fields around electrons, instead of a neutral photon with 4 polarizations. The equilibrium of radiation exchange means that (1) magnetic curls cancel preventing the usual problem of infinite self-inductance for the propagation of charged massless radiation, and (2) this necessary perfect equilibrium of exchange physically prevents the charged field from affecting electric charges, so that the YangMills equation for SU(2) electromagnetism automatically collapses effectively to Maxwell's equations, since the Yang-Mills term for the charged field to modify fermion charges will be zero, and the equation is otherwise identical to Maxwell's. Hence, in SU(2) x SU(3) you then have electromagnetism, weak force and strong force. Because there is only need for one sign of gravitational charge (mass/energy) and one graviton, a U(1) theory can be added for quantum gravity and mass, with the U(1) field boson mixing with the neutral SU(2) field boson in the SM way to produce both a graviton and massive weak Z_0. I'd expect the massive U(1) gravitational charge to be identical to that of the Z_0, 91 GeV (already observed in 1983 at CERN). 4. Re: Midsummer Fairies by:Anonymous July 12, 2009

It's a pretty generic propertry of SUSY models which employ radiative electroweak symmetry breaking (REWSB) to have a Higgs mass in the range 114-120 GeV. Nige, I think you must be thinking of models with Left-Right symmetry based on the gauge group SU(3)x SU(2)_L x SU(2)_R.


M Theory Lesson 286
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Recall that the tribimaximal mixing matrix may be expressed in the form $F_3 F_2$, that is, as a product of quantum Fourier operators. This expression is asymmetric in the choice of two directions out of three. What if we combine different $F_2$ operators? For example, the old bimaximal mixing matrix is obtained from the product of two $F_2$ matrices: The product of $F_3$ with the bimaximal matrix is not tribimaximal, but its form is similar, with the value of $2/3$ being replaced by a value $0.85477$. Posted by Kea at 09:35PM (+12:00)

Quote of the Month
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Courtesy of Abtruse Goose: Just a run of the Yang-Mills black hole. Posted by Kea at 10:52PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Quote of the Month by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 I guess you will like this! July 15, 2009

Fairy Interlude
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Higgs is the traveller and narrator in the adventures of Erewhon. He arrives in this mythical land, as often in such stories, by crossing a mountainous region, which in its description is, not coincidentally, very much like a beautiful region of New Zealand. One of Butler's main reasons for creating the character of Higgs was his interest in Darwin's Origin of the Species, first published in the same year that Butler moved to New Zealand. Higgs discovers that the Erewhonians have banished machines, on the basis that the eventual evolution of humans into superior machines seemed inevitable, following the profoundly convincing arguments of earlier Erewhonian philosophers. Far from being critical of Darwin's work, as some believed he was with this satire, Butler admired it greatly. His satire is directed more at a society that would shun the consequences of evolution, rather than embrace them, no matter how frightening they may appear. And the frightening idea was not that you are descended from a monkey, but rather that your demise is inevitable.


Posted by Kea at 12:40AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Fairy Interlude by:nige In his lecture "Godel and the End of Physics" Hawking said: "The real reason we are seeking a complete theory, is that we want to understand the universe, and feel we are not just the victims of dark and mysterious forces. ... "The standard model is clearly unsatisfactory in this respect. first of all, it is ugly and ad hoc. "The particles are grouped in an apparently arbitrary way, and the standard model depends on 24 numbers, whose values can not be deduced from first principles, but which have to be chosen to fit the observations. What understanding is there in that? ... "The second failing of the standard model, is that it does not include gravity." - Woit mentions in his book that (Woit's undergraduate tutor) Glashow refers to the Higgs mechanism "Weinberg's toilet", because it is both repugnant and necessary in the nongravity mainstream Standard Model, breaking electroweak symmetry at low energy. 2. Re: Fairy Interlude by:LRiofrio July 14, 2009 July 14, 2009

Your citing of literature is appreciated. Perhaps he foretold that the Higgs boson would be found nowhere!

Volume One is Out
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Issue number 1 of Volume 1 of Rejecta Mathematica is now available online! This excellent journal includes a short note by yours truly from quite some time ago, so apologies for the fact that it has now been superceded by our more recent, but of course unpublished, work. Anyway, this is the first official publication on mass matrices and the Fourier transform. Posted by Kea at 04:08AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Volume One is Out by:nige July 15, 2009

Congratulations! (Doubtless, Dr Lubos Motl will be flattered and delighted to see that you quoted him verbatim in the published "open letter to whom it may concern" preceeding the paper...)


Cats in London
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The next Categories, Logic and Physics one day meeting is in London on August 6. As you can see, there is a really interesting line up of talks. See you there! Posted by Kea at 07:56PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Cats in London by:kneemo July 17, 2009

Ah, I see Leron Borsten is giving a talk. No doubt he will have something interesting to say about entangled qubits and black holes. 2. Re: Cats in London by:nige July 16, 2009

If it is open to all, I will try to attend to learn about the latest developments in these areas. 3. Re: Cats in London by:Kea Nigel, just email Andreas et al, like it says. See you there! July 16, 2009

News from home
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Fortunately, it appears that nobody was injured in today's large earthquake, which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was some distance from population centres, but I suspect that almost everyone in the South Island felt this one. Posted by Kea at 04:14AM (+12:00)

1. Re: News from home by:nige July 16, 2009

I wouldn't have liked to have been mountain climbing there when that happened! 2. Re: News from home by:Kea Of course, wikipedia already has it on the the list ... faster than the news. 3. Re: News from home by:LRiofrio July 17, 2009 July 16, 2009

Perhaps we'll someday see earthquakes as rumblings of a tiny Black Hole beneath our feet. 4. Re: News from home



July 16, 2009

As someone who was near the epicentre said, they were 'shaken but not stirred.'

M Theory Lesson 287
Friday, July 17, 2009
The categorical diagram calculus for observables and basis structures involves algebra objects, meaning that there are trivalent vertices labelled by a multiplication $m$, since the strings represent the object in the category. There is a dual notion called comultiplication, which we will label by $c$. For the example of finite dimensional Hilbert spaces, we imagine that the strings represent qudits, for some dimension $d$. The parallel inputs stand for the tensor product of qudit spaces. Typical diagrams will therefore contain hexagons, as in Now Andrei Akhvlediani has been giving an excellent series of talks on PROs, PROPS and generalised spider theorems, so yesterday I found myself wondering about an alternative bialgebra morphism, which draws out the paths on the hexagon and looks like: The hexagon has become a little loop. The thing to notice is that all the $c$ labels have moved to the top and all the $m$ labels to the bottom. This process is a lot like what physicists call a normal product in quantum field theory, where all creation operators are put on the left of the annihilation operators. But annihilation acts first, so we should read real time upwards in the diagram, although that is somehow backwards from what is happening in the category. Soon we will look at the simple ordinal matrices that count the paths on a diagram, and thereby represent a bialgebra morphism. In this case we are considering a $3 \times 3$ matrix, indexed by inputs and outputs, just like the $3 \times 3$ matrices for entanglement. The product of two such matrices forms another path counting matrix of the same kind. These matrices are symmetric, since paths run two ways. Antisymmetry may be introduced by orienting the paths. Posted by Kea at 08:36PM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 287 by:Kea July 18, 2009

P.S. For those who care, the normal form in the Frobenius algebra case is a 'spider diagram', depending only on the number of inputs and the number of outputs. This case is more analogous with twistor diagrams than with Feynman diagrams. Both cases are described using closely related PROPs and distributive laws. 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 287 by:nige July 17, 2009

"But annihilation acts first, so we should read real time upwards in the diagram, although that is somehow backwards from what is happening in the category." So you can think of the category diagrams like Feynman diagrams for fundamental interactions. A morphism would then be a different diagram but having a similar path amplitude?


3. Re: M Theory Lesson 287 by:Kea

July 18, 2009

Nigel, secretly there is a LOT more going on here, so I wouldn't necessarily think directly about Feynman diagrams - and of course category theory will turn out to be better than the old fashioned diagrams - but I guess as an intuition it is helpful.

M Theory Lesson 288
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I suspect that there are still a few people out there who wonder why some bloggers occasionally ramble on about twistors, although it is mind boggling to think that the advances in twistor theory made by stringy people over the last few years have entirely escaped their attention. One of the important results about entanglement is this twistor geometry paper by Peter Levay. Recall the exchange relation from lesson 285: $P_{13}P_{24} = P_{12}P_{34} + P_{23}P_{14}$ for Plucker coordinates. In terms of twistor geometry, we can write these variables as $P_{\mu \nu} = Z_{\mu} W_{\nu} - Z_{\nu} W_{\mu}$ where I am not going to worry about whether the indices should be up or down. The twistor geometry is extremely helpful, because now we can write the (norm of the) hyperdeterminant for three qubit entanglement as $\frac{1}{2} | P^{\mu \nu} P_{\mu \nu} | = | (Z \cdot Z) (W \cdot W) - (Z \cdot W)^{2} |$ which could hardly be simpler. Moreover, the other three qubit measure is $\frac{1}{4} \tau_{A(BC)} = \| Z \|^{2} \| W \|^{2} - | \langle Z | W \rangle |^{2}$ The $W$ state condition corresponds to null twistors. So associahedra type polytopes really are beginning to look nice in twistor spaces. See also Levay's more recent papers on black hole entropy and finite geometries. Posted by Kea at 11:18PM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 288 by:PhilG July 20, 2009

I hadn't appreciated the connection between twistors and hyperdeterminants before. Now I may have to take them more seriously.


There are some nice new conenctions opening up in the work of Levay and others.

Fairy Update
Sunday, July 19, 2009
After Tommaso Dorigo's July 14 report on the W/top ellipse, our friend Lubos Mottle calculated that the MSSM was now 13 times more likely than the Standard Model. In a more recent post, Tommaso points out that the MSSM ellipse used in this computation unfortunately appears to lie in the excluded zone of $M_{H} < 114$ GeV. In other words, is there any reason to have much confidence in either scenario? Posted by Kea at 08:59PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Fairy Update by:Kea July 24, 2009

Nigel, I have no qualms about deleting comments roughly equivalent to the statement that you know better than everyone else. Grow up. 2. Re: Fairy Update by:Rhys *shakes head slowly at Nige* Sad 3. Re: Fairy Update by:Kea Nigel, go blabber on YOUR OWN BLOG. 4. Re: Fairy Update by:MattiPitkanen July 20, 2009 July 24, 2009 July 20, 2009

This is what also I was wondering and why neither Tommaso nor Lubos mentioned this. Personally I have mixed feelings concerning Higgs. Even with my own limited understanding it is clear that the deduction of Higgs mass value in standard model involves averaging over data giving rather different mass values. In TGD Universe Higgs like particle is possible although it does not have any obvious counterpart as classical field. p-Adic thermodynamics allows several mass values coming as half octaves. According to what data one uses 132 GeV or 93 GeV is the preferred mass value. Only the latter value is consistent with the ellipse exprssing probabilistic restrictions on top quark and W boson masses. On the other hand, according to my recent understanding about massivation in TGD framework, Higgs is not needed for massivation. So... 5. Re: Fairy Update by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 July 20, 2009

Tommaso did comment on the 114GeV threshold on the comments section...


6. Re: Fairy Update by:Kea

July 21, 2009

Nigel, your point of view is of course welcome here, but could you PLEASE PLEASE keep your posts short. You can always link to your OWN blog. 7. Re: Fairy Update by:Rhys July 22, 2009

Kea, I had a quick look at the archives of this blog, but couldn't work out where you explain how electroweak symmetry might be broken in such a way as to avoid a Higgs boson (either fundamental or composite). Could you point me to an appropriate post, or explain in a few words? 8. Re: Fairy Update by:Kea July 22, 2009

Rhys, symmetry is not foundational in our approach to the standard model. Symmetry is emergent, just as spacetime degrees of freedom are. No need for Higgs bosons.

Apollo 11
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
For the anniversary of Apollo 11, I am remembering the contribution of Parkes observatory in Australia, where I once briefly worked in this same control room (sufficiently long ago that it didn't look that different to this). Posted by Kea at 03:06AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Apollo 11 by:Kea Yeah, great movie! I even recognised the coffee mugs. 2. Re: Apollo 11 by:LRiofrio July 23, 2009 July 23, 2009

How cool that you worked at Parkes. "The Dish" played a critical role in relaying Apollo 11 signals. 3. Re: Apollo 11 by:CarlBrannen July 24, 2009

Kea, Nice arXiv paper on 2 to 5 dimensional complete sets of MUBs: "All Mutually Unbiased Bases in Dimensions Two to Five", came in today.


Gina Says II
Friday, July 24, 2009
Gil Kalai has now made available Part Two of Gina Says: Adventures in the Blogsphere String War. I must apologise to Gil for mistakenly thinking that he was Gina. Gina might really be a Gina, after all. Enjoy! Posted by Kea at 08:10PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Gina Says II by:Lumo July 25, 2009

Well, it's already been explained, but I wanted to mention that Gina was almost certainly a fictitious nickname of the same Israeli mathematical transvestite. ;-) 2. Re: Gina Says II by:Stuffy Higgs boson spotted The mass of the Higgs is surprisingly large... 3. Re: Gina Says II by:Gil July 24, 2009 July 25, 2009

Gina is, to a large extent, a virtual cyber character and she is also the hero of my book which is a combination of fiction and reality, popular science, and a longish interactive 2books-review. She was certainly limited by my bad English and tendency to argue but she is not me. (No apology needed, I regarded it as a compliment.) 4. Re: Gina Says II by:Kea July 24, 2009

Ah, indeed! Just as Kea is not Marni, although a remarkable number of people seem to think so. 5. Re: Gina Says II by:Anonymous Fairy dolls are not usually star shaped. July 25, 2009

Oxford Continued
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Having been here long enough now to know the good cheap eating places, the quietest college gardens, and to have met the world's worst hair cutter, I have been making the most of my annual pass to the spectacular Blenheim Palace, which is a short bus ride away. I tend to avoid the palace itself, which is usually jam packed with people, and instead explore the extensive parks. And I have discovered a difficult topological dilemma, not unlike the bridge problem.


Certain areas of the grounds are barred to the public, but the boundaries of these areas are unclear, since they are only marked out with intermittent Private signs. I diligently obey all the Private signs, out of a genuine respect for people's privacy. However, to my horror, yesterday I found myself coming upon a large Private sign from behind! Moreover, I was then forced to retrace my steps, since the alternative was to take another path right around the palace, many kilometers long. Now at no point did I ignore a Private sign going forward. They had simply neglected to place any signs at all at the start of the meagre path that I had followed into the forest (and this was not in the region covered by the large do not stray from paths sign). In other words, boundaries defined by points rather then lines turn islands in a river into buoys in the sea. Posted by Kea at 10:34PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Oxford Continued by:Kea July 27, 2009

Without a university job, the UK visa rules force me to leave the country as soon as my contract expires. Fortunately, the idea of returning to beautiful Aotearoa is not so bad. 2. Re: Oxford Continued by:LRiofrio July 27, 2009

The palace and grounds must have been thrilling. The history of the Churchill family is fascinating too. It is great that you have interests in addition to maths. I have seen multiple palaces in France. It will be sad if you leave the UK because of Home Office nonsense. The Michael Savage affair shows how capricious their decisions are. With the Home Secretary leaving in disgrace, that regime should be thoroughly discredited by now.

Biological Theory
Saturday, July 25, 2009
The comments at Physics World this month contain a link to the work of Nottale et al, on fractal spacetime with scale relativity. Quoting a recent paper: [Nottale] has suggested that the observation scale, i.e., the space and time resolution at which a system is observed or experimented, should also be considered as characterizing the state of reference systems. It is an experimental fact known since Greek philosophers that the scale of a system can be defined only in a relative


way: only scale ratios do have a physical meaning, never absolute scales. To be honest, the mathematics seems rather dull, but the thing to note is that this paper is published: Ref: Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 97 (2008) 79–114 Posted by Kea at 11:59PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Biological Theory by:PhilG July 29, 2009

One of the editors of that journal seems to share an interest in "Scale Relative Biology" with Nottale so I suppose he would be favourable. My number one tip for getting published in a journal is to find a convincing way to cite the editors' work. Number two is cite anyone likely to referee and number three is liberally cite other papers in the journal. Carl, well done for getting submission rights to gen-ph. Does that make you an endorser or are endorsers not really needed after all? I would be surprised if they let anyone publish in gen-ph but maybe I should try again. 2. Re: Biological Theory by:Kea Now I know where to submit papers! 3. Re: Biological Theory by:CarlBrannen July 31, 2009 July 26, 2009

Phil: No, I'm not an endorser. It might be that once you've got one successful paper on gen-ph, you're considered adequate for putting more. Or is the system that once you get an endorsement for, say, gr-qc and you have a post that doesn't get moderated away on that, then you can keep putting papers up on that subject. And become an endorser after 4 papers or whatever. 4. Re: Biological Theory by:CarlBrannen Bad girl! Hey, I can submit to arXiv/gen-ph now. Maybe the pressure from viXar is having an effect, or maybe anyone can load papers there any time (though they only get a paper per day, about). July 28, 2009

Multi Muon Fairies
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Back in the exciting days of the multi muon discovery, we discussed the incredibly simple mass triplet $(1,2,4)$, where $1 \simeq 15$ GeV. Now in Carl Brannen's Koide relation analysis of mass triplets, there is a natural scale given by


$( \sqrt{m_1} + \sqrt{m_2} + \sqrt{m_3} ) \sqrt{\textrm{GeV}}$ and for the multi muon triplet this evaluates to $292$ GeV, which happens to be in exact agreement with Tony Smith's old estimate for the mass of a pair of Higgs scalars. Posted by Kea at 01:41AM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 289
Monday, July 27, 2009
The rest mass of the electron appears in the formula for the Rydberg constant $R$: $m = \frac{2 h R}{c \alpha^{2}}$ Describing $m$ as the eigenvalue of a Koide matrix with angle parameter $\theta = \delta + 2 \pi /3$, we find that $\textrm{cos} \theta = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} (( \frac{2 \times 13.6056923}{7.29735254^{2} \times 313.85949})^{0.5} - 1)$ in terms of $R$ and $\alpha$, and in agreement with the value $\delta = 2/9$ for Brannen's natural scale $313.86$ MeV. Since both $R$ and $\alpha$ have been measured extremely accurately, the first relation shows that errors in the known electron mass are related to errors in Planck's constant. Conversely, an exact value for $\delta$, along with an accurate value of the natural scale, could be used to predict more accurate values of $\hbar$. Posted by Kea at 03:06AM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 289 by:Kea Now see this paper of Carl's for fairly accurate values of delta and the scale. 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 289 by:Rhys July 27, 2009 July 27, 2009

Carl's paper about hadron masses completely disregards SU(3) colour symmetry (check out equation 16 and the surrounding discussion, which seems to be foundational to the paper). I left a comment on his blog to the same effect. 3. Re: M Theory Lesson 289 by:CarlBrannen Oh, I should link to the new paper, "Emergent Spin". 4. Re: M Theory Lesson 289 by:CarlBrannen Marni, July 28, 2009 July 28, 2009


My new paper is out, and Lubos is already improving it. See his facebook page: He notes that tripled Pauli statistics involves only one of the two Pauli states being tripled. This is compatible with only the left handed fields carrying mass charge. It would make the right handed fields ride along for free (be malleable with regard to the mass interaction). This might give another explanation of the square root. Carl 5. Re: M Theory Lesson 289 by:Stuffy typo found on p. 20 "around 2/9 and give sthe mixing" July 29, 2009

M Theory Lesson 290
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Recall that the faces of an associahedron are labelled by a polygon with one chord. In real dimension $3$ we have hexagons, for which there are two chord types. The square faces of the associahedron are marked by a hexagon of the kind shown. Since Loday's trefoil has crossings on these squares, each knot crossing corresponds to a pair of vertices on the hexagon. In M theory, we sometimes label these vertices by $(X, -X)$, or perhaps $\pm \sigma_{X}$, and so on. Note that a trefoil describes the quandle (or rack) rules for the Pauli operators. Posted by Kea at 11:04PM (+12:00)

Women in Science
Sunday, August 02, 2009
This post is dedicated to Zuska and Female Science Professor, whose posts I often enjoy. I regularly hear it rumoured, amongst colleagues, that I am no good at taking advice*. Occasionally some helpful individual will take it upon himself to tell me this gently, as if breaking some difficult news to a small child. Perhaps they should ask my mother when I stopped taking advice, because it was before I can remember, and yes, believe it or not, I did actually notice. Gee, do you think maybe that has something to do with me being the only female physicist around here? Of course, in reality, one tries hard to be appreciative of any genuine attempt at assistance, rare as it is. At least, one tries for five minutes or so, before remembering that you really did earn their respect (something like, oh, 20 years ago) only they don't seem to have noticed yet. I'm feeling good today, because I have some new shoes to puke on. *This means advice, as opposed to helpful tips, which may of course be welcome. Posted by Kea at 01:22AM (+12:00)


The Imperial Force
Sunday, August 02, 2009
If you missed the recent London debate between the Dark Side proponent, Andrew Jaffe, and sensible theorist, Subir Sarkar, there is an Imperial podcast available. I also enjoyed the review on the Physics World blog: Sarkar was second to take the stage and he put forward a very different view. He immediately urged us - along with all working cosmologists - to abandon this “ridiculous” notion of a mysterious repulsive fluid that allegedly fills 75% of the universe. The waning power of the Dark Force was in evidence at the debate, with onlookers asked to vote on whether or not they thought DE existed. As Physics World reports: Despite this being just a bit of fun, it was still interesting to see Sarkar sweep to victory by such a significant margin. Posted by Kea at 05:06AM (+12:00)

1. Re: The Imperial Force by:Kea Andrew Jaffe has a new post. 2. Re: The Imperial Force by:Kea August 02, 2009 August 02, 2009

To begin with, watch and digest this. Then look at Riofrio's old graphs and blog posts ... carefully. To clarify: it is clear that the Dark Force might work OK as an effective description, and is certainly needed if one wishes to apply GR on cosmological scales. But any proponent of a truly quantum cosmology cannot be happy with the application of old physical ideas (and that includes the graviton exchange picture) to such astounding data. 3. Re: The Imperial Force by:RudeandInconsiderate August 02, 2009

Some of us egotists don't exactly disagree with the idea that 75% of the energy of the universe behaves as a repulsive fluid. Beware of bias, Marni. 4. Re: The Imperial Force by:Stuffy August 04, 2009

An open question... Kea (whoever she really is) Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe by Evalyn Gates 5. Re: The Imperial Force by:kneemo August 04, 2009

... but I disagree that labelling everything 'dark energy' is not harmful. The Dark Force does not explain anything.


Yes, I agree it does not explain anything. My point was that the problem seems to require a mathematical understanding that is beyond even the top theorists. If anything, M-theorists should be actively engaged in this debate as the physics far transcends the framework of GR. 6. Re: The Imperial Force by:kneemo August 03, 2009

Without a complete theory of quantum gravity, it's difficult to address the problem of observed accelerated expansion. If one assumes that M-theory and its low energy limit, supergravity, are good approximations to a final theory of quantum gravity, its possible to make some educated guesses, however. Back at ICGTMP 26, Ramzi Khuri discussed his simple model, where repulsive velocitydependent interactions of moving extremal Reissner-Nordstrom black holes result in an accelerating, expanding universe. Such results also hold generally, whenever the velocity-dependent Lagrangian takes the form L=1/2(mv^2)(1+f(r)v^2), (f(r) being a monotonically decreasing function of separation r), as in the case of supersymmetric strings and branes. Charged, extremal black holes arise naturally, in compactifications of D=11 supergravity down to D=4, and should have observable effects in our universe, if M-theory is accurate. Whether one refers to such effects as "dark energy" or "repulsive fluid", is quite harmless given our early theoretical understanding of the subject. 7. Re: The Imperial Force by:Kea August 02, 2009

Dear anonymous coward. Wow, you're a bright spark, aren't you? It's the job of a theoretical physicist to be biased ... by the DATA ... which now indicates that the repulsive fluid idea is wrong. That's right, wrong. Who cares what egotists, or non egotists, think. Only the data, and good ideas, count. 8. Re: The Imperial Force by:LRiofrio August 04, 2009

Bravo for this post! The anonymous cowards out there are getting desperate, along with the rest of the dark side. 9. Re: The Imperial Force by:Anonymous August 03, 2009

The experimental data do not disfavor dark energy. Ms. Sheppeard is basically just a crackpot who is against any mainstream idea. In her universe, dark energy, the Higgs mechanism, and supersymmetry are all just frauds imposed by the 'imperial' powers to suppress truth-seekers like her. Please, give me a break. 10. Re: The Imperial Force by:Anonymous August 02, 2009

Thanks for the link, but Jaffe's post is in favour of dark energy! What flawed data "indicates that dark energy is wrong"? If you object to both non-anonymous comments (which you claim egotistical) and anonymous comments (which you claim cowardly), you're just inventing reasons to object to anything. 11. Re: The Imperial Force by:Kea August 03, 2009


Hi kneemo. M theory black holes certainly provide us with valuable insights, but I disagree that labelling everything 'dark energy' is not harmful. The Dark Force does not explain anything. I prefer Louise's clear, predictive words from 2003/2004: ...but normal Gaussian distribution predicts that 68% of mass will lie in regions of overdensity. Such regions will have collapsed into singularities, appearing as great voids between sheets of galaxies. The missing 68% of the Universe ascribed to Dark Energy may be hidden within those voids.

Imperial CLAP
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Most of the abstracts are now up for this week's August 6 workshop on Categories, Logic and Physics. Posted by Kea at 11:45PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Imperial CLAP by:LRiofrio August 04, 2009

That sounds very interesting, like Category Theory meetings attended earlier. Unfortunately that day I must give a talk in a place of carnivals.

M Theory Lesson 291
Monday, August 03, 2009
Many thanks to Mottle for pointing out the new S matrix paper by Arkani-Hamed et al. Even more interesting, Mottle also points to this paper on Grassmanians. Having previously expressed some disgust at the idea of category theory in physics, he may not have noticed the intriguing references to operads. Posted by Kea at 11:10PM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 291 by:Kea August 05, 2009

Indeed, the growing connection between entanglement and twistor geometry is an exciting part of M Theory! 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 291 by:Kea Enjoy Rio, Louise! I liked the bit: We are still missing a real understanding of the physics behind our conjecture. A clue is perhaps provided by the nature of the space in which it is formulated. Instead of spacetime, for n particle scattering the dual is naturally formulated in an n dimensional August 04, 2009


space ... we are finding that our dual picture isn't associated with a space in which particles live at all. 3. Re: M Theory Lesson 291 by:LRiofrio August 04, 2009

The morning e-mail brought another invite to a "Grassmanian Conference" in Poland Sept 14-18. Paris is closer. 4. Re: M Theory Lesson 291 by:kneemo A delightful paper indeed. I especially enjoyed this bit: As stressed in [9], gravity amplitudes have a far richer structure than in Yang-Mills theory. They are governed by much larger “obvious” symmetries: instead of cyclic invariance, supergravity amplitudes have permutation symmetry, and instead of having the massless scattering amplitudes only defined at the origin of moduli space as for N = 4 SYM, the N = 8 SUGRA S Matrix is defined everywhere on moduli space and is nontrivially acted on by the E7(7) symmetry [9, 88, 89]. 5. Re: M Theory Lesson 291 by:kneemo I also found this part of interest: Indeed we can focus on the G(k 2, n 4) space, “punctured” by removing the zero locus defined by the vanishing of the minor factors; the contours defining the amplitudes are then associated with non-trivial homology classes in this space. It seems they are working with the Grassmannian G(k - 2, n - 4) with the Segre variety removed. This type of geometry also appears in studies of abstract entanglement of n qubits. August 05, 2009 August 04, 2009

The Farce
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
What counts as an explanation in physics? Consider an historical example. The energy distribution of beta decay is explained by Pauli's hypothesis, based on the principle of conservation of energy, of the existence of the neutrino. The key words in this example are hypothesis and principle. What counts as an hypothesis? Do we allow ideas that (a) permit more paper publications, and hence career advancement, because they are based on equations that we already know, or (b) consider hypotheses that follow from the principle? Now what counts as a principle? Do we (a) demand the data be fitted to a mathematical curve as quickly as possible, lack of explanations notwithstanding, or (b) consider carefully which established fundamental concepts are inviolable, and which are not? The energy distribution itself is neither an hypothesis, nor a principle, but that which must be explained. Lest we forget. Posted by Kea at 07:46PM (+12:00)


1. Re: The Farce by:Kea Louise, I hope you are enjoying Rio! 2. Re: The Farce by:bobCoecke August 04, 2009 August 04, 2009

Re: "permit more paper publications, and hence career advancement" One should be careful not to trow out the baby with the bath water. Dissemination and disseminability, and hence communication, are at the core of scientific progress. I can't see how a discussion of what counts as a useful hypothesis can be done without reference to the community one addresses, the language and paradigms they use, and the modes of communication and information gathering and access they have established. While obviously these things can be far from ideal and sometimes degenerate, referring to publishing papers merely as career advancement is a bit of an insult to those that put substantial effort in producing papers that provide compelling arguments in a language that makes sense to those one addresses. This may then, eventually, lead to paradigm shifts, language shifts, and maybe even the status of hypothesis and what counts as empirical data. 3. Re: The Farce by:LRiofrio August 04, 2009

Funny how hypotheses gain the force of law with some people. The "faint young Sun" hypothesis is not supported by geological evidence, yet some treat it as fact. Einstein was quite specific that a constant speed of light was a "stipulation, which I make at my own discretion.". He also worked on theories where changes! 4. Re: The Farce by:Kea August 05, 2009

Similarly, hbar should grow in cosmological time, and fundamental local observables, such as the fine structure constant, will remain constant. 5. Re: The Farce by:Anonymous August 05, 2009

Actually, Louise's 'theory' is no theory at all, but just a hypothesis. Even if the acceleration of the expansion rate were due to a variable speed of light, there is no explanation of why the speed of light should vary, nor why it should vary in just the way she claims. Such an explanation would be important because a non-constant speed of light means that the laws of electromagnetism are also non-constant. It also means that energy is not conserved. Also, a varying speed of light probably screws up primordial nucleosynthesis. A real theory would address these issues. 6. Re: The Farce by:Anonymous August 05, 2009

It is a requirement of any theory that it at least be consistent with known laws of physics. A variable speed of light simply is not compatible with the Principle of Conservation of Energy, among other things. 7. Re: The Farce by:Kea August 06, 2009


Anonymous, which part of the word COSMOLOGICAL did you miss? 8. Re: The Farce by:Anonymous August 06, 2009

It seems to me that you basically have nothing but hand-waving arguments to back-up your ideas. Isn't it very convenient to claim that Lorentz violation and energy conservation don't hold in your understanding? Appealing to quantum gravity would be great if you actually had such a worked out theory were you could make such definitive statements, which you do not. On the contrary, in the only true candidate theory for quantum gravity that we have, Lorentz invariance is fundamental as is energy conservation. I'm sure pointing this out will provoke accusations of being an evil string theorist. Louise, I do not see how E + U = 0 could possibly be true if the speed of light is nonconstant. It should go without saying that these are fundamental objections, not trivial ones. 9. Re: The Farce by:CarlBrannen August 06, 2009

Anonymous, regarding the speed of light, the less someone knows about a subject the more certain they become. Read Baez's comments. Regarding tests of conservation of energy, those tests have been performed over time scales negligible compared to the age of the universe. 10. Re: The Farce by:CarlBrannen August 07, 2009

PhilG, I wasn't saying that Baez's page was wrong, but instead the opposite; I was quoting it as a source. Einstein believed that a constant speed of light only applies in inertial coordinate systems and so do I. I don't believe that it is reasonable to define an inertial coordinate system for the universe as a whole. The problem is getting it to propagate forward in time without topological crap happening (over billions of years!). To me the question is: Is cosmology simpler with a fixed speed of light or with light varying according to some formula? I think that the universe is flat, always has been flat, and always will be. 11. Re: The Farce by:Anonymous August 07, 2009

Phil, You are correct that you could always cook up something in order to maintain conservation of energy. Essentially, you have to explain where the energy lost due to a changing speed of light goes. Whatever the mechanism for maintaining energy conservation, it is necessary to see what effect this would have. For example, suppose the energy lost due to a changing speed of light goes into gravitational potential energy. Would this not cause the expansion to slow, negating any apparent acceleration due to a slowing speed of light? Aside from energy conservation, what happens to electromagnetism? These laws must be changing too if the speed of light is slowing, and this would effect a number of things such as primordial nucleosynthesis. What about Lorentz invariance? 12. Re: The Farce



August 06, 2009

Kea, It doesn't matter how much you throw around words like 'cosmological'. This still does not give you license to change the laws of physics any way you want. If you claim that the speed of light is non-constant, then you are throwing away conservation of energy and Lorentz invariance, and so you can get anything you want. 13. Re: The Farce by:PhilG August 06, 2009

Actually Carl that was written by me as part of the Physics FAQ with some minor updates by Carlip. I wrote it a long time ago so it could be due an update. Which parts in particular did you think was relevant here? Is there any part you think could be wrong? 14. Re: The Farce by:Kea August 07, 2009

Phil, I also have the hope that GR (in twistor guise, via cohomology) will be recoverable from the quantum theory. In this context, the cosmically fixed c idea comes down to the mathematical convenience of classical fibre bundles etc. But of course, nature knows that this very old fashioned mathematics is probably past it's prime. 15. Re: The Farce by:PhilG August 07, 2009

Anonymous - now you are asking questions rather than just saying the theory is wrong for some reason. I would do the same. I dont really like VLS theories myself because they are hard to make sense of in the context of general relativity which I think is a good theory, but I think they are taking a more radical approach where GR may be wrong. It is not unusual for new theories to be radical, incomplete and seemingly contrary to well established physics. Bohr's model of the atom would be a good example. When people are prepared to develop ideas which are a genuine attempt to address unexplained observational anomalies and they submit their work to peer review, then they should be allowed to do so. If you want to debunk it start with a theory independent question like "what is your operational definition of the speed of light?" It makes no sense to say the speed of light changes unless you give a way of measuring it e.g. by defining how to measure time and distance using physical properties of materials. The answer will tell you something about what physics they are assuming to be correct and fixed. If you follow a line of questions starting from there you may catch them out, or maybe they will catch you out. Good luck. 16. Re: The Farce by:Kea August 04, 2009

I suppose people are free to transfer comments about radically new cosmologies, or other new physics, to publications in completely different fields, if they really want to. Anyway, Louise's theory is published. 17. Re: The Farce by:Kea August 05, 2009

You missed the word Principle, which I can assure you that Louise has. And it is not a requirement of a theory that it solve all outstanding problems at once. 18. Re: The Farce by:CarlBrannen August 05, 2009


Anonymous: The most obvious explanation for a changing speed of light is that we know that gravity changes the speed of light. By Mach's principle the amount of matter that influences us increases with cosmological time. Hence the gravitational potential changes and so light would change. "Conservation of energy" follows from the symmetry of time, i.e. every moment of time is identical to every other (and use Noether's theorem). However, cosmologically, time is not symmetric. There's a big bang at one end. Since then the universe apparently keeps growing. Hence no conservation of energy. P.S. My new paper on spin path integrals over MUBs, is submitted to FoP. 19. Re: The Farce by:Anonymous August 06, 2009

Carl, Gravity bends light, but does not change its speed. As for your statement that conservation of energy doesn't hold because time is asymmetric, do you believe this is really a rigorous argument? If so, why do you suppose conservation of energy works in every experiment that can possibly be performed? 20. Re: The Farce by:Kea August 06, 2009

BTW, I recommend Feynman's enjoyable 1964 lecture, on symmetry and conservation laws, he beautifully recalls the original understanding of the conservation of energy through the experimentation of Joule. He also discusses non conservation laws, including (1) changes of scale, which were first described in a discussion of gravity's affect on bones, by Galileo in Two New Sciences (2) Mach's principle. 21. Re: The Farce by:Kea Incorrect. (1) Almost everyone I know who works in quantum gravity understands that (a) Lorentz invariance is an emergent feature of a more fundamental quantum theory (b) as Carl already tried to explain to you, only with ordinary local reversible time does one automatically get energy conservation and (c) that quantum gravity must involve alternative concepts of time. (2) Read Louise's work more carefully, and you will see that she has carefully considered laws about energy. 22. Re: The Farce by:Anonymous August 07, 2009 August 06, 2009

Carl, the theory that pigs can fly has not been tested on cosmological time scales either, but this does not make it any more likely. As for the constancy of the speed of light, this must be maintained even in a gravitational field, which is to say that Lorentz invariance is maintained locally. Also, keep in mind that the speed of light follows from Maxwell's equations. If you say that the speed of light is changing with time, you are in effect saying that Maxwell's equations are also changing with time. In addition, you have to claim that conservation of energy doesn't hold either. Thus, in order for this idea to work, you essentially have to assume that all of the laws of physics that we know are wrong. Most physicists find


this a little hard to swallow. 23. Re: The Farce by:LRiofrio August 06, 2009

Conservation of energy is maintained as E + U = 0. This result applies for all particles, from the most massive to particles with no mass at all. Trivial objections prevent some people from seeing what is simple. Copacabana Beach is just fantastic! 24. Re: The Farce by:Anonymous August 07, 2009

Louise, It's hardly necessary to write more since what you have written is complete nonsense. 25. Re: The Farce by:PhilG August 07, 2009

A changing speed of light does not necessarily mean that energy is not conserved. Provided it changes in a way that can be described by a time independent Langrangian formulation then energy will be conserved. If you put in a changing light speed by hand then energy would probably not be conserved, but only because such a theory is incomplete. Incomplete is not the same thing as wrong. I'm not saying that VLS theories can easily be made good, but if you are going to claim they cannot work you need a clear no-go theorem with properly stated assumptions. Just saying that energy is not conserved does not get you far because, (a) it does not follow and (b) it does not matter unless the change predicted is ruled out by observation. 26. Re: The Farce by:LRiofrio U = - GMm/R U = - (tc^3)m/(ct) U = - mc^2 E+U=0 I'm having too much fun by the beach to write more. 27. Re: The Farce by:Kea August 07, 2009 August 07, 2009

The way I see it, until anonymous fully refutes the observational results of Louise's cosmology, which I very much doubt he/she can, it doesn't matter how many years he/she keeps screaming at us that we're all morons, we are probably not going to take too much notice of him/her. Anonymous seems to have forgotten the historical lesson that Newton's laws break down when relative velocities are high, due to the fixed value of the speed of light, locally in cosmic time. Similarly, one cannot seriously expect Maxwell's equations to apply universally for all future observed phenomena, although they are still completely valid in the local cosmic domain to which they apply. Perhaps anonymous is confusing cosmic time with local atomic clocks, on the standard assumption that these are the same things. 28. Re: The Farce



August 08, 2009

Kea, it is really difficult to respond to your statements which, as stated before, amount to little more than hand-waving. As for Louise's "cosmology", I am certain that it would give incorrect results for the primordial abundances of hydrogen, helium, and lithium. In addition, I imagine that it would conflict with the electromagnetic spectrum from distant stars. Of course, since you and she are willing to violate any law of physics which disagrees with your belief, I'm sure you will dismiss this as just another thing that doesn't hold on cosmological time. 29. Re: The Farce by:CarlBrannen August 10, 2009

Anonymous, before you go on and on about how well the current model computes the elements created in the big bang at least do a literature search. For example, see Resonant enhancement of nuclear reactions as a possible solution to the cosmological lithium problem. The problem with cosmology is similar to the problem with the standard model. In cosmology, there are a lot of adjustable parameters and relatively few data points. Conflicts are now arising as more data gets added. In the standard model, there are a lot of data points but the number of adjustable parameters is immense. It will be some time before contradictions show up in them, but it doesn't matter because the theory is at its heart incompatible with gravity. As far as "electromagnetic spectrum from distant stars", Louise's idea doesn't distinguish between frequencies so there are no distinguishing differences from any other big bang model.

M Theory Lesson 292
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
In the March 09 paper, The S-matrix in Twistor Space, we find Hodges diagrams related to the BCFW recursion rules. Ignoring edge and vertex information, the butterfly identity looks like and the Poincare dual of the right hand graph gives which brings the rule down to the familiar exchange relation: On the other hand, a Poincare dual of the left hand graph does not immediately return the other graph, up to a square diagonal, but we see that the resulting graph is closely related as in the usual cyclic operad correspondence between polygons and trees. Posted by Kea at 08:42PM (+12:00)

Happy CLAP
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Tomorrow I will be off to CLAP at Imperial. The latest* news is that Andreas Doering of Imperial will soon be taking up a lectureship in the group here at Oxford. Too bad for Perimeter, where he was thinking of taking up a position. *Blog release permission was obtained. Posted by Kea at 02:54AM (+12:00)


1. Re: Happy CLAP by:Kea August 07, 2009

Hi Nigel. The talks will be put online on the CLAP site. Er, with the exception of the first part of Rudolph's talk, because I was too stupid to figure out how to use the video camera properly. 2. Re: Happy CLAP by:nige August 06, 2009

There are serious railway strike problems for the route between Colchester and London so I'm not going today, but hope you have a good workshop. Maybe some of the talks will end up online somewhere?

Fun at Fermilab
Friday, August 07, 2009
Tommaso Dorigo, Matti Pitkanen and others discuss possible Fermilab evidence for non standard physics. The mass triplets involved, including the multi muon results $h_i$, are: $(W, Z'_{1}, Z'_{2}) = (1, 3, 9)$ $(h_1, h_2, h_3) = (1, 2, 4)$ where the scales selected differ roughly by a factor of $5$. This looks far more elegant than the unobserved proposed fairy field of unknown mass. In Matti's approach, these are known as $p$-adic base triplets for $p=3$ and $p=2$, which are also the primes involved in the quantum information approach to particle mixing matrices. Posted by Kea at 10:36PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Fun at Fermilab by:Kea August 09, 2009

Rhys, I really don't know. I suspect that if we could clearly explain this (and maybe Carl can) then we would have made some nice progress. 2. Re: Fun at Fermilab by:Rhys Why would they be grouped with the W? August 09, 2009


A Sunny Day
Saturday, August 08, 2009
As one of my housemates put it, there is an unusual yellow fiery ball in the sky today. I shall make the most of it, and enjoy the tourist cultural experience of jousting knights at Blenheim palace. Yesterday I learned a little more local history, which goes back to ancient times. Richard I was born in Oxford, and Rosamund, the mistress of his father Henry II, was known in the area of Blenheim palace. Posted by Kea at 10:52PM (+12:00)

1. Re: A Sunny Day by:chimpanzee Did you finally get your own camera? 2. Re: A Sunny Day by:LRiofrio August 09, 2009 August 19, 2009

Great that you are enjoying England and it's heroic past. It's abeautiful day in Rio too.

Changing Light Speed
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Thanks to Carl Brannen for pointing out a new paper by Sanejouand, Empirical evidences in favor of a varying speed of light. The paper summarises results from lunar laser ranging, the Pioneer anomaly, supernovae redshifts and the known fixed constants, namely fine structure and Rydberg. He finds that the varying speed of light hypothesis is (a) consistent with all these results and (b) explains the results that the Dark Force cannot. Assuming fine structure, Rydberg and electron charge to be truly constant, one must have constants $\epsilon \hbar c$ and $\frac{m_e c^{2}}{\hbar}$. There are then two natural alternatives to consider under the varying $c$ hypothesis. First, if the electron mass is constant in cosmic time, we find that


$\frac{c^{2}}{\hbar}$ must be constant, forcing $\hbar$ to vary, but not as in the usual description of Louise Riofrio's cosmology. Because $\hbar c$ cannot then be constant, fine structure depends on a variation in $\epsilon$. Secondly however, if we assume that $\hbar c$ is constant, it follows that the electron mass $m_e$ must go as $\hbar^{3}$. That is, electron mass starts out at zero and grows larger with Riofrio's cosmological law $M = t$. This is also reminiscent of Penrose's thermodynamic cosmology. Note that the latter alternative would not prevent, in principle, the computation of local mass relations; only the computation of absolute scales. Such a cosmology, at least initially, therefore relies on precisely one parameter, which is a measure of our epoch. Posted by Kea at 09:43PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Changing Light Speed by:CarlBrannen August 13, 2009

Wow that got a little out of hand. Re the theory that the earth is expanding; the easiest explanation for the reduction in surface units is folding and subsistence. It makes it very difficult to estimate what size stuff was long ago. 2. Re: Changing Light Speed by:Rhys August 10, 2009

Can I ask what you mean when you say "cosmic time"? I'm guessing it's something non-standard... And a minor comment: let's all remember that only dimensionless quantities are physically meaningful. Discussion about these sorts of issues often seems confused due to a failure to acknowledge this point. 3. Re: Changing Light Speed by:LRiofrio August 10, 2009

The argument that "change in fundamental constants is impossible by definition" is an old and tired one. "Earth's position in the centre of the universe is fixed by definition! Arguing that it changes is nonsense!" 4. Re: Changing Light Speed by:Kea All right, Rhys, but I don't feel it is necessary to point these things out. 5. Re: Changing Light Speed by:MattiPitkanen I looked at the article of Sanjouand. To me it seems ok. Before one can speak about change of c seriously, one must specify precisely what the measurement of speed of light means. In GRT framework speed of light is by definition a constant in local Minkowski coordinates. It seems very difficult to make sense about varying speed of light since c is purely locally defined notion. August 11, 2009 August 10, 2009


a) In TGD framework space-time as abstract manifold is replaced by 4-D surface in H=M^4xCP_2 (forgetting hierarchy of Planck constants) and this brings in something new: the sub-manifold geometry allowing to look space-time surfaces from Hperspective. CP_2 length scale as universal unit of length is one element. p-Adic length scale hypothesis actually brings in an entire hierarchy of fixed meter sticks defined by p-adic length scales. The presence of imbedding space M^4xCP_2 brings in light-like geodesics of M^4 for which c is maximal and by definition could be taken c=1. b) In TGD framework the operational definition for the speed of light at given space-time sheet is in terms of time taken for light to propagate from point A to B at space-time surface. In TGD framework this can occur via several routes because of many-sheeted structure and each sheet gives its own value for c. Even if space-time surface is only warped (no curvature), this time is longer than along light-like geodesic of M^4(xCP_2) and the speed of light measured in this manner is reduced from its maximal value.

What TGD then predicts? a) TGD inspired cosmology predicts that c measured in this manner *increases* in cosmological scales, just the opposite for what Riofrio claims. The reason is that strong gravitation makes space-surface strongly curved and it takes more time to travel from A to B during early cosmology.

b) The paradox however disappears that *local systems* like solar system do not not normally participate in cosmic expansion as predicted by TGD. This is known also experimentally. [The expansion would however occur in average sense via phase transitions increasing Planck constant and occurring in relatively short time scales: this provides new support for expanding Earth hypothesis needed to explain the fact that continents fit nicely together to form single super continent covering entire Earth if the radius of Earth is by a factor 1/2 smaller than its recent radius].

c) If one measures the speed of light in local system and uses its cosmic value taken constant by definition (fixing particular coordinate time) then one indeed finds that the speed of light is decreasing locally and the decrease should be expressible in terms of Hubble constant. d) TGD based explanation of Pioneer anomaly is based on completely analogous reasoning. 6. Re: Changing Light Speed by:Kea Matti, I see that you mentioned the expanding earth again here. Off topic remark: the best evidence against a continual cosmological growth of Earth is the paleomagnetic data. The abstract starts: New estimates of the palaeoradius of the Earth for the past 400 Myr from palaeomagnetic data limit possible expansion to less than 0.8% ... Now 400 Myr is roughly 3% of the current cosmic age, and reducing to radius could drop this to about 1%, but the data does seem to rule out a naive expansion. I realise that you are actually in favour of discrete jumps, which are not ruled out this way, but this August 11, 2009


scenario is less predictive. I think, given the even younger age of the ocean floors, that one must accept the evidence for subduction, possibly along with an earlier phase transition or two. But this is starting to look ugly. The alternative, with regard to continual mass growth, is to conclude that the density also increases cosmologically. Even a small increase in density could allow <0.8% radius shift over 400 Myr, in line with observation. I prefer this idea, which has the advantage of predicting precisely that growth should be measurable by future paleomagnetic data. 7. Re: Changing Light Speed by:Kea August 13, 2009

OK, I've cleaned up the mess. In all the years this blog has been running, that is the first time I have had to delete so many posts. 8. Re: Changing Light Speed by:CarlBrannen August 10, 2009

Kea, want a shock? Look at equation (21) in Two knees and the Evasion of GreisenZatsepin-Kuz'min Cutoff in Cosmic Ray Spectrum -- Are Neutrinos the Tachyons? Guang-Jiong Ni, Zhi-Qiang Shi, hep-ph/0605058. For those who don't recognize it, compare with (11) in Sheppeard and Brannen. And by the way, how come I couldn't find our paper on Vixra? 9. Re: Changing Light Speed by:PhilG It's on vixra at vixra:0907.0011 By the way there is now an RSS feed at 10. Re: Changing Light Speed by:Kea August 10, 2009 August 10, 2009

Rhys, you cannot be serious. The speed of light is dimensionful. It is something we can measure. I fail to see how it cannot be physically meaningful. We have all heard the pathetic arguments against variation of dimensionful parameters. It is somewhat analogous to saying that planetary orbits can only be circles. The simplest, and most natural way, of explaining things just does not keep constants constant. 11. Re: Changing Light Speed by:Rhys "The speed of light is dimensionful. It is something we can measure." I don't know of any way of measuring a dimensionful quantity which doesn't boil down to comparing it with another quantity of the same dimensions. In other words, it seems to me that we only measure dimensionless ratios. If you can demonstrate that that is wrong, I'm willing to listen. And I'd still like to know what you mean by "cosmic time"! I'm guessing it's the 't' appearing in various equations, and if so it seems important... 12. Re: Changing Light Speed by:Rhys August 11, 2009 August 10, 2009


"The argument that "change in fundamental constants is impossible by definition" is an old and tired one." Seems strange to bring it up then... 13. Re: Changing Light Speed by:MattiPitkanen August 12, 2009

There are also connections with biology. The fast expansion by a factor of two explains the sudden appearance of highly developed life forms as water from undergound seas bursted to the surface of Earth (similar water reservoirs seem to exist also in Mars whose radius is by the way just one half of that for Earth). Already Darwin regarded Cambrian explosion as a main argument against his theory of evolution.

Also the the oxidation of atmosphere caused by the emergence of seas interacting with solar light implying splitting of water to oxygen and hydrogen can be understood as well as the development of very large life forms due to the gradual weakening of surface gravity (and emergence of oxygen rich atmosphere). The idea that electron mass has increased linearly with time is to my opinion unrealistic. 14. Re: Changing Light Speed by:Zephir August 12, 2009

Before some time I wrote about experimental evidence of variable light speed. There are many, in fact. 15. Re: Changing Light Speed by:Kea August 12, 2009

Zephir, Louise published papers on an elegant varying speed of light cosmology before blogging was even invented - something you could easily have checked yourself.

viXra Rules
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Poor Carl. All through the arxiv saga, he wanted to give the arxiv moderators the benefit of the doubt. He never complained when the gravity paper was moved to General Physics. But now, Carl has tried to post another paper on General Physics. It is most assuredly a completely innocent paper about certain aspects of quantum information theory, and contains no offensive material of any kind. Nonetheless, the paper was removed from General Physics, and Carl received an email, which starts: From: Don Beyer [www-admin] Subject: arXiv:0908.1209 Removed To: Date: Monday, August 10, 2009, 10:19 AM Your submission has been removed upon a notice from our moderators, who determined it inappropriate for arXiv. Posted by Kea at 02:50AM (+12:00)


1. Re: viXra Rules by:Stuffy That's depressing! Kea, and Carl :-( 2. Re: viXra Rules by:PhilG August 12, 2009 August 12, 2009

I admire Carl's persistence in trying to get arXiv to play fair. How can they say that a paper like Carl's is inappropriate without giving any justification? I don't see how it fits any of the "potential reasons for removal" that they mention on the moderation page. They say you can appeal of course, but that is difficult when they don't reveal why they remove in the first place. On the subject of viXra, it has just celebrated its first month by flying past the 100th paper mark. The administrators (that's me and my spaniel) will be away for a week enjoying the clear air of the Vosgian mountains, so don't worry about the lack of new papers during that time. 3. Re: viXra Rules by:Stuffy Glad you're not depressed Carl. Guess I can hold off on rejoining the Sesame Street fan club. :-) 4. Re: viXra Rules by:Rhys August 12, 2009 August 12, 2009

Carl, the first two sections of the paper in question just look like you're making things more complicated and less elegant than the usual (and correct) approach. Also, you haven't replied to my comment at: 5. Re: viXra Rules by:CarlBrannen August 12, 2009

Rhys, Re first two sections being more complicated. Well the first section is just an introduction and I can't get away without it. The second section introduces pure density matrix formalism which is much simpler and easier to use than the usual spinor formalism. Uh, sorry for ignoring your comment. I read the first sentence, "I think I was being a bit silly", and didn't read the rest. I'll type something up over there. 6. Re: viXra Rules by:Kea August 12, 2009

Thanks for the link, Carl. Foundations of Physics? Are the editors there considered crackpots? 7. Re: viXra Rules by:CarlBrannen August 12, 2009

Uh, the paper, exactly as rejected, is Spin Path Integrals and Generations. It was 0908.1209 but now they've reused the number, erased my paper like an unwanted figure in a 1930s photo of Stalin.


But I'm not depressed. The paper has advanced at Foundations of Physics from "Editor assigned" to "Under review". And I'm busily working on the next paper. 8. Re: viXra Rules by:LRiofrio August 14, 2009

As we have found from his webpage, at least one arxiv moderator is an outright Stalinist! 9. Re: viXra Rules by:nige "arXiv moderators will suggest the removal of a submission that violates arXiv policies in some way. Potential reasons for removal are: "Inappropriate format. ... "Inappropriate topic. While arXiv serves a variety of scientific communities, not all subjects are currently covered. Submissions that do not fit well into our current classification scheme may be removed and, where possible, redirected to a more appropriate repository. "Duplicated content. ... "Submission of copyrighted material. ... "Excessive submission rate. ..." "Inappropriate topic" seems to be the censorship criterion here, despite the fact that it doesn't contain any "offensive" material: "While arXiv serves a variety of scientific communities, not all subjects are currently covered. Submissions that do not fit well into our current classification scheme may be removed ..." This "fit well" clause would have enabled arXiv to delete the works of Copernicus's solar system, Darwin's evolution, and others who put doing science before trying to "fit in well" with the work of their contemporaries. Carl, Stalin had many people air-brushed out of existence, but at least he had some excuses for being angry and trying to eliminate all knowledge of his enemies. E.g., Trotsky was originally (before air brushing) with Lenin and Stalin in a famous photo, but that changed after he exposed Stalin's corruption by writing The Revolution Betrayed. August 12, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Dear obnoxious individual (this applies to more than one person) Guess what? This is my blog. When you told me how wonderful you were, and how I had better behave myself, I heard you. The first time. If you are as wonderful as you say you are, why do you need my ear or sympathy? After all, there is nothing I can do for you.


Surely your time would be better spent writing papers for, say, viXra, which is open to everyone. Then everyone can see how wonderful you are. All the best Dumb buxom blonde Posted by Kea at 11:07PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Disclaimer by:LRiofrio August 14, 2009

Soon after humanity invented bridges, they also created trolls to lurk beneath them. Soon after the interent was created, so were trolls. 2. Re: Disclaimer by:MattiPitkanen Kea, I have guess about whom you are speaking. I have had no problems with blog visitors but this fellow really tests my patience. 3. Re: Disclaimer by:Kea August 13, 2009 August 13, 2009

Hi Matti. If someone outside physics wants to assume they have some important results to tell physicists ... fine, OK. I meet such people every day. Of course 99.9999999% of them have results (if any) that are a trivial subset of real theories, such as yours. If they can't see that, that's still OK. After all, not everyone is lucky enough to get an education. But on this blog we focus on scientific discussion. If people want to make brief off topic remarks about trips to the beach or whatever, that's quite nice, because I like to hear what people are up to. However, posting multiple links to personal sites (containing mostly garbage) and then complaining loudly and anonymously that (someone you don't even know) won't have a conversation with you is just plain rude.

Go Goose
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Abtruse Goose uses the associahedron! Posted by Kea at 02:09AM (+12:00)

Saturn Equinox
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thanks to Bad Astronomy for pointing to Cassini's wonderful new revelations of Saturn. In particular, check out these images of the F ring. Posted by Kea at 12:04AM (+12:00)


1. Re: Saturn Equinox by:LRiofrio August 16, 2009

The Cassini photos are spectacular! They show that there are things out there (Black Holes?) that humans can't or won't understand.

Conference Video
Friday, August 14, 2009
At YACWNW (yet another conference with no women) there is an interesting talk by Wootters. Posted by Kea at 07:50PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Conference Video by:CarlBrannen August 16, 2009

This reminds me. My next paper on path integrals is going to do the weak quantum numbers. These suffer from superselection rules that do not apply to the generations. (That is, the mixing matrices mix generations only, for example.) The claimed explanation is that weak hypercharge and weak isospin arise from topological considerations that can't be linearly superposed. But the generations can be linearly superposed because they're simply proportional to a constant plus a constant times w^g where g is generation and w^3 = 1.


Fermi on GRB 090510
Sunday, August 16, 2009
We are (amusingly) told, once again, that string theory has been proven correct. Translation: observable naive Lorentz violation via frequency dependent photon speeds has been beautifully ruled out by GRB 090510. But the new report, from the GMB and LAT collaborations, details other interesting features of the short gamma ray burst, such as: We find no lags below 1 MeV (in agreement with the thus far known short GRB lags in that energy range), and above 30 MeV; however, we find that the bulk of the photons above 30 MeV arrive 258±34 ms later than those below 1 MeV. which is in agreement with previous GRB results indicating some energy dependent time delay. The conservative explanation would be that the unknown details of the emission processes accounts for the apparent delay, but such event dependent delays could be ruled out once sufficiently many GRB spectra are obtained to test the correlation between spectra, redshift and delay times. Posted by Kea at 12:48AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:Lumo August 16, 2009

No, you were not, Kea. At least not in the text I objected to. This paragraph: "which is in agreement with previous GRB results indicating some energy dependent time delay. The conservative explanation would be that the unknown details of the emission processes accounts for the apparent delay, but such event dependent delays could be ruled out once sufficiently many GRB spectra are obtained to test the correlation between spectra, redshift and delay times." is never written in the paper. It is your paragraph and it is just wrong because it says that the question whether the delay is created during the bursts, or on the journey, is open. It is not open: it's the very point of the new paper that it's not open and that the delay on the journey has to be 100-times smaller than expected from order-one Planck-scale Lorentz violations. The event-dependent delay can't ever be ruled out, as you incorrectly claim, because it has been shown that all the multi-minute delays in such events are event-dependent, i.e. created during the very explosion. This is the very point of the paper and you seem to misunderstand it even now. The statement that the delay was not created on the journey, and therefore had to be created during the burst, is not a "conservative explanation" but a proposition proved by this paper. 2. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:LRiofrio August 16, 2009

As with "dark energy," acolytes of The String will seize upon any result to prove it exists. At the IAU meeting I told one man that supernova redshifts are the only evidence of


cosmic acceleration. He was sure there were several tests, but couldn't think of what they were. Blame it on the media? 3. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:Anonymous August 16, 2009

If his memory was a little better he probably would have regurgitated some nonsense about (1) WMAP data and (2) structure formation theory, neither of which have anything to do with an observation of 'acceleration', as any child could see. Remote Kea 4. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:Lumo August 16, 2009

It is not in agreement with any delays. All previously conceivable hypotheses involving delay have been ruled out by the new Fermi result. The May 2009 burst was shorter and the photon(s) had higher energies, which allowed to measure the coefficient of the Lorentz violation with much better accuracy, and it's zero, 100 times more accurate zero than needed to prove that the Lorentz invariance holds at the Planck scale. All delays in MAGIC and other previous experiments appear because of the very creation of the burst. For example, the lower-energy rays are created earlier and the higher-energy rays are created later, much like in an accelerator - because the burst is a kind of a natural accelerator. But the hypothesis that the delay arises on the journey would predict about 100 times bigger delay than the upper bound of the delay recently seen by Fermi. Lorentz violation of all kinds is dead because if it doesn't appear by order-1 terms anywhere up to the Planck scale, it can't appear anywhere. 5. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:CarlBrannen August 16, 2009

The basic problem with Lubos's logic is not in how GRB 090510 places limits on the speed of light, but instead in concluding that this eliminates all possible Lorentz violating theories. No, it eliminates Lorentz violating theories that conclude that the speed of light depends on its energy. By careful measurements of the speed of sound you can't say anything useful about the speed of light. Similarly, careful measurements of the speed of light say nothing about the speed of gravity. 6. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:Lumo August 16, 2009

Dear Carl, every theory that violates Lorentz symmetry implies that the speed of light is not universal. A simple historical way to see it is that special relativity, including Lorentz symmetry, was derived just from two postulates - the equivalence of all inertial frames and the constancy of the speed of light (which is what we discuss here). In more modern language, a constant, energy-independent speed of light in a Lorentzviolating theory would require an infinite amount of fine-tuning. It will surely never happen generically. One would need fine-tuning even to erase the first-order corrections


(with the n=1 power law that is now excluded). But in more specific theories, it is not just about vague arguments about fine-tuning. One can actually calculate the first-order corrections and they're nonzero and of order one. To summarize, there's no loophole in my logic. 7. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:Kea August 16, 2009

... a constant, energy independent speed of light in a Lorentz violating theory would require an infinite amount of fine tuning. It will surely never happen generically. Generically? Surely you don't expect any decent theory of quantum gravity to be merely generic. What you really mean is that in string theory there is no Lorentz violation of any kind. But some of your (nowadays not so stringy) colleagues would say that Lorentz invariance is a feature of an emergent classical world. At the classical level, all photons travel at a speed c, locally. All the photons we look at here are travelling at speed c. But we didn't observe all those GRB photons on their way here. And like in any simple 2 slit experiment, maybe they took many different paths. Maybe the path weighting for the higher energy ones gives a greater probability that these photons are slowed down more by gravity. As you point out, the GRB events so far observed have different event characteristics. It would not be a prediction of string theory that there is a correlation between spectral delays and, say, redshift. This is therefore an opportunity for string theory to be proved incorrect. 8. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:Anonymous August 16, 2009

Lubos, I was quoting the paper about the delay. I never mentioned (a) any stupid Lorentz violating theories or (b) any particular dependence of the delay on 'the path' taken (at least in the classical sense). Please try to improve your reading skills. Remote Kea 9. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:CarlBrannen August 16, 2009

Kea: An interesting paper by Julian Schwinger. This, along with a previous paper by Weyl on unitary transformations, is the stuff on which Svetlichny built the interpretation of path integrals as products of MUBs. 10. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:Geniuswhoistoomodesttole August 16, 2009

"... the lower-energy rays are created earlier and the higher-energy rays are created later, much like in an accelerator - because the burst is a kind of a natural accelerator." Lubos Nobody has ever invented an accelerator for gamma rays. You can't accelerate them like charged particles! Gamma rays created by collisions in accelerators will be emitted when collisions occur. Since high energy charged particles travel faster than low energy charged particles, the higher energy ones will collide first, emitting higher energy gamma


rays on the average. This is the opposite of the time sequence reported, where soft gamma rays are detected first and hard gamma rays are detected later. A more successful explanation would be filtering by the mass of the exploding star as the fusion burns inward. Say the explosion starts with fusion occurring in the outer layers of the star witch are the least dense, light elements, which have the largest cross sections for fusion reactions. Because that's near the outside of the star, gamma rays escape with little shielding, so you can measure a lot of soft gamma rays which decrease the mean energy you detect. The deeper layers of the star with denser, heavier elements, then start to undergo fusion due to the heat generated by the fusion of the outer layers, but the gamma rays then emitted from deep layers have to penetrate through the matter produced by fusion of the outer layers before we can observe them. So those gamma rays suffer energy-dependent shielding. Softer gamma rays are absorbed easily, but the harder gamma rays are more prnetrating. Hence, as fusion burns in toward the core of the star, the mean energy of the gamma rays escaping increases because fewer soft gamma rays escape from the star, and the spectrum is predominantly the high energy, more penetrating gamma rays! 11. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:CarlBrannen August 16, 2009

"In more modern language, a constant, energy-independent speed of light in a Lorentzviolating theory would require an infinite amount of fine-tuning." Any theory that requires a preferred reference frame will automatically have Lorentz violations built into its foundations, but that does not logically imply that any specific particle of the theory, for example photons, must propagate with Lorentz violations. 12. Re: Fermi on GRB 090510 by:Kea August 17, 2009

Ah, yes. I have that one somewhere ... Schwinger and Weyl are underappreciated by modern physicists.

Deligne at Cambridge
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Although a recent Cambridge lecture by Deligne introduces the cohomology of algebraic varieties as gently as possible, by the end of the hour he is amusingly talking about, as he puts it, motivic reasons for things. The lecture carefully describes the differences between three types of cohomology: 1. Betti: topological, eg. the windings of a path around a circle 2. de Rham: about differential forms (associated to the variables in the polynomial that define the space) 3. $p$-adic cohomology: this is really nice when considering base number fields that are not necessarily $\mathbb{C}$. For the de Rham cohomology functor, one ends up with vector spaces over some number field $k$. For $p$-adic cohomology, one instead has modules over the ring $\mathbb{Z}_{p}$ of $p$-adic integers.


This is just what happens in quantum mechanics when we stop worrying about Hilbert spaces. The mutually unbiased bases in dimension $d$, for $d$ a prime power, are given by the structure of the finite field on $d$ elements. The qubit component of quantum mechanics, for example, uses all dimensions $d = 2^{n}$, where $n$ is the number of qubits. A qubit set of observables therefore only needs these finite fields. If we throw in an appropriate categorical limit, we end up with the $2$-adic integers. Let us say that qubits are not about vector spaces then, because they are more naturally about modules over the $2$-adic integers. Posted by Kea at 02:40AM (+12:00)

Quote of the Week
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Thanks to Dynamics of Cats for an article about physics publishing, by Rick Trebino. My favourite line: Assure the senior editor that, if anyone even considered asking about this, you would immediately and emphatically confirm under oath, on a stack of Newton’s Principia Mathematicas, and under penalty of torture and death that, in this matter, the journal was most definitely not biased in your favor in any way, shape, or form in the current geological epoch or any other and in this universe or any other, whether real or imagined. Posted by Kea at 11:20PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Quote of the Week by:Kea August 20, 2009

I don't see how this is similar to the case of Strings vs Loops. These are both failed attempts to understand quantum gravity. The case of this post is about a technical comment on an ERROR in another paper. 2. Re: Quote of the Week by:Anonymous August 20, 2009

A new non-mainstream field of science probably needs a new journal to publish papers on the subject between one set of covers. However, if the subject is too new, nobody is going to be switched on to the new subject enough to submit to, or buy, the journal. If you think about it, when a journal publishes a paper it is giving its backing to the paper to some extent. This can anger some people who see something published that they regard as a waste of print. E.g., Woit gave an example of Cambridge University Press being boycotted by certain (particularly) bigoted string theorists after accepting Carlo Rovelli's non-string theory Quantum gravity loopy book for publication years ago. I can imagine an editor at Cambridge University Press defensively responding with the kind of thing you quoted from Rick Trebino, arguing that they're not endorsing ideas just by publishing them, they're not biased in favour of the enemy, blah, blah.


Thursday, August 20, 2009
The English Research Council has three year postdoctoral fellowships for early career scientists and engineers. Their precise criteria for assessment are: • Quality, originality and potential impact of the research proposed • Qualities of the individual as an independent researcher • Intellectual ability of the candidate • Awareness of the broader context surrounding the proposed research • Timeliness of the Fellowship and how it will aid the Fellow’s career development • The candidate’s ability to plan and manage resources • Ability to communicate to a generalist audience Some time ago I sent off an initial abstract to the research office and I have been told, on more than one occasion since, that they really liked the abstract. So I went to the meetings where they explained the application proceedure. I drafted the required documents and discussed them in detail with a departmental research officer. A second departmental research officer also looked over them and suggested helpful modifications. I completed the drafts and uploaded the documents to the online system, all according to the detailed specifications. Only one thing was missing: the host department letter of support. Previously Bob had told me not to apply, because the EPSRC fellowships were prestigious. That is, not for people like me. Bob is the only person in the department with any hope of understanding my proposal (modulo the particle physics). The internal deadline is now past and I doubt I will find another university (anyone?) to host me before the final deadline next week. After all this, I get the distinct impression that the government is, on good advice, desperately trying to diversify activities in scientific research. But the system is doomed to fail. For instance, I would like to know how the independent researcher criterion can possibly be met. It turns out that the crucial support letter cannot be obtained without a PI endorsement. Anyway, I wish all the applicants here the best of luck. I'll be thinking of you while I lie by the pool drinking pina coladas this southern summer. Go Goose. Posted by Kea at 08:20PM (+12:00)

1. Re: EPSRC by:Kea Proposal outline now available at here. See sidebar link. August 26, 2009


Blog Highlights
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Check out these wonderful posts from this week: The Supernova Condensate talks about relativistic chemistry and the discovery of amino acids in comets. Carl Brannen discusses the proton spin puzzle. Dynamics of Cats links to the latest null results from LIGO. Finally, thanks to Motivic Stuff for mentioning a cool conference in October. Posted by Kea at 09:41PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Blog Highlights by:LRiofrio August 21, 2009

The non-result from LIGO is worth a blog post, could they spin the Higgs this way? Lorentz Center in May hosted a 3-day meeting on whether fundamental constants can change. 2. Re: Blog Highlights by:Kea August 21, 2009

The Lorentz Center sounds like a nice place. Yes, perhaps I should write more about LIGO ... 3. Re: Blog Highlights by:InvaderXan Oh wow. Thank you for the links. I'm glad you liked my posts! :) August 23, 2009

Gravity Goose
Friday, August 21, 2009
Recall that, at GRG18, the LIGO collaboration reported null results for GRB 070201, which was coincident with the spiral arms of the Andromeda galaxy. That is, if this burst was located in Andromeda, it could not have been generated by a compact binary under the usual theoretical assumptions, most notably the assumption that gravitons (if they exist, which I suspect not) travel at speed $c$. Nature reports on LIGO's latest null results with the heading: Gravity waves 'around the corner'. You gotta love those quotation marks. The new paper, for those fortunate enough (including me, at present) to have access, is here. Part of the abstract reads:


Our result constrains the energy density of the stochastic gravitational wave background normalized by the critical energy density of the Universe, in the frequency band around $100$ Hz, to be < $6.9 \times 10^{-6}$ at $95$% confidence. The data rule out models of early Universe evolution with relatively large equation of state parameter, as well as cosmic (super)string models with relatively small string tension that are favoured in some string theory models. Posted by Kea at 08:23PM (+12:00)

Friday, August 21, 2009
The endangered kea. Thanks, Sara Rodgers. Posted by Kea at 11:52PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Endangered by:nige August 24, 2009

"Kea are highly adaptive and are considered by scientists to be one of the most intelligent bird species in the world." It's a shame they can't use their adaptability and intelligence to overcome their problems. I can understand the Dodo becoming extinct (because it couldn't fly away from hungry predators), but not an intelligent parrot.

Ultra Deep
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Thanks to Gizmodo for the link to the zoomable Hubble Ultra Deep Field image. Galaxies in this remarkable image existed possibly as long ago as 400 million years after the Big Bang. Check out the 3D version. Posted by Kea at 02:42AM (+12:00)


1. Re: Ultra Deep by:nige August 24, 2009

Nice pic! It's always good to remember the immense amounts of receding masses surrounding us in all directions.

Big Jupiters
Monday, August 24, 2009
More really cool websites: the extrasolar planet encyclopaedia has an interactive tool for both extrasolar planet and star data. For example, I created this plot of star metallicity against planet period: Posted by Kea at 09:25PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Big Jupiters by:nige August 24, 2009

On the graph, I can't understand why the ratio of mass of iron to hydrogen can take negative values. What does that mean? (Has someone discovered that the iron in some planets is antimatter?) 2. Re: Big Jupiters by:nige August 25, 2009

Thanks! I think the simple ratio label [Fe/H] on the axis is just a little misleading if it is logarithmic. But that's the software. 3. Re: Big Jupiters by:Kea August 25, 2009

Nigel, view the link on metallicity. Most star measures are defined in terms of the sun - in this case by taking the difference of 2 logarithms.

The Latest Battle
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I'm not much of a sport's fan, but I guess AF should have a link to this Fermi inspired fight: Lubos vs the Loopies Posted by Kea at 12:36AM (+12:00)

1. Re: The Latest Battle


by:Kea P.S. So maybe they're all wrong? 2. Re: The Latest Battle by:Kea

August 25, 2009

August 26, 2009

Hi kneemo. In some sense, I suppose so, but if we are talking specifically about the Fermi results then it is reasonable to say very concretely that LQG dispersion will be proved wrong. And in lecture 2A Nima-Arkani Hamed, in his usual exaggerated style, bets his life that Fermi et al will find no kind of Lorentz violation - so it would be a real shame if he was proven wrong - but c'est la vie. 3. Re: The Latest Battle by:nige August 25, 2009

If they're all wrong, they'll be very bitter and angry with the person who tells them so. 4. Re: The Latest Battle by:Kea People, not person. 5. Re: The Latest Battle by:MattiPitkanen August 25, 2009 August 25, 2009

Maybe I have been completely misunderstood what theory building is about. I have understood it as a genuine attempt to understand, as an intellectual game in which different ideas compete. Also fun. A lot of good luck is needed to get the correct idea. The proposal of putting to jail the people who are not so lucky looks to me strange. I have said critical words about string theory but I would not like to see either stringies or loopies in jail. 6. Re: The Latest Battle by:kneemo August 26, 2009

It's probably better to say both give two inequivalent glimpses at some more fundamental theory. 7. Re: The Latest Battle by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 August 25, 2009

I wonder how the intergalactic gas would change the refraction index. If a GRB light crossed several galaxy planes, wouldn't one expect some delay? 8. Re: The Latest Battle by:nige "... I would not like to see either stringies or loopies in jail." You are a kinder person than me. August 25, 2009


Computing Masses
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
In the Scholars International series yesterday there were three sessions ( A, B, C) by Arkani-Hamed, nominally on Research Skills, but actually a grand overview (for beginning graduate students) of his current picture of physical reality. For example, lecture B discusses the impossibility of precision local observables in quantum gravity, such as rest mass, using the following argument. Quantum mechanics gives us the limit of the uncertainty principle, which is to say that an infinite precision measurement of position requires an infinite amount of energy. On top of this, gravity tells us that the infinite apparatus required to measure a mass would confront the limits of Planck scale physics. With finite resources, infinite precision is clearly impossible. What is wrong with this argument? Firstly, no one seriously denies that, in practice, finite resources are all we really have. This does not mean that there exists no theory capable of computing the rest masses to high precision, but this theory must circumvent the argument above. Observe that it was first demonstrated that quantum gravity could not be a local spacetime theory, and then we discussed experiments taking place in a classical spacetime. So logically, the argument cannot hold as it stands, once we have abandonned the local point of view, no matter how compelling it sounds. The computation of rest masses is an important aspect of quantum gravity. It is true that the description of such observables should not impose a unique and universal spacetime. So in quantum gravity, when we measure the rest mass of a particle, we carry with us several strict experimental conditions that limit our capacity to draw resources from the apparently objective spacetime. An example: Observer spacetime construction: our status as an observer living roughly $13.5$ billion years after the big bang, a cosmic epoch by which the varying $c$ cosmology sets a mass scale that limits our ability to probe vastly different scales (note that this does not imply that humans have a special status, only that they must be considered as observers with limitations). One enjoyable feature of these excellent (albeit stringy) lectures was the stress on the interconnectedness of the outstanding problems, over all physical scales. Arkani-Hamed says, for instance, that a leap in our understanding of quantum mechanics, or any theory that supercedes it, must involve cosmology and other domains of physics. I wholeheartedly agree. Posted by Kea at 01:44AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Computing Masses by:nige August 26, 2009

"Arkani-Hamed says, for instance, that a leap in our understanding of quantum mechanics, or any theory that supercedes it, must involve cosmology and other domains


of physics. I wholeheartedly agree." You're thinking maybe of Louise's theory here, rather than the use of the anthropic principle to select a vacuum from the multiverse landscape with a small lambda? I hope you (and others too) will be able to write a paper about Louise's theory, because one of the advantages string theorists in the mainstream have is that they write papers about each other's ideas (which turns up new developments, is stimulating for all concerned, and leads eventually to clearer discussion of theories and to more variety in their presentation, than sometimes happens when each person just pursues a totally separate, lonely path in the wilderness). (In some ways it's easier to write papers about the ideas of other people, because you don't have to worry about having charges of egotism directed personally against you if you are "over-enthusiastic" about your own ideas.) 2. Re: Computing Masses by:Lumo Dear Kea, I morally agree with you. Of course, "infinite precision" in anything is impossible in practice, with finite resources, because you can't even pay for the people who would write those infinite numbers of digits once they're measured. ;-) But that doesn't mean that it's a deep idea that rest masses have some important uncertainty. Quite on the contrary, I think that the very exact rest masses - for example, the positions of the poles and/or branch cuts from the low-lying black hole microstates are an immensely interesting question that really addresses the people's (in)ability to extract true insights about quantum gravity, and it's just very bad for Nima to invent this propaganda - and it's nothing else than propaganda - whose goal is to suppress the research of the things that really matter, and replace them by pseudo-research whose main conclusion has been pre-determined, namely "everything is vague". It's not true that everything is vague. In principle, one can calculate the exact (complex, because unstable) rest masses of black hole microstates from Matrix theory etc. It's a difficult but well-defined problem. It's equally clear that in principle, one can measure the experimental quantities that encode the theoretical microstate figures - and in principle, one can do so with an arbitrarily increasing precision. Of course, those things are unlikely to happen in practice, but that doesn't mean that this limitation is due to some principles of quantum gravity. It's a purely technological difficulty. The first "inherent uncertainties" in QG predictions start with de Sitter horizon thermal noise and be sure that they're extremely tiny for questions such as rest masses of microstates in QG. Best wishes Lubos 3. Re: Computing Masses by:Lumo Dear Kea, I think that the spectrum of the rest masses is the "true secret" that waits in quantum gravity - because otherwise quantum gravity is only connecting one low-energy limit with another low-energy limit (associated with high-mass i.e. low-curvature black holes) and the non-trivial information of QG only shows in the middle, near the Planck scale. August 27, 2009 August 26, 2009


Also, I am convinced that there exists a background whose black hole spectrum has poles corresponding to the Riemann zeta function - because its distribution follows random matrices, the same kind of distribution I expect for black hole masses eigenvalues of random matrices. It's still not clear to me where the zeta function can be seen in this way, but this is the kind of the questions that should be looked at by many more people, and there will be many solvable backgrounds waiting for us. There are all kinds of general things where Nima makes full sense and says generally important things, so I am kind of surprised by this postmodernist attitude of him on the well-definedness of masses. It's probably some extension of his years of anthropic "reasoning" where the main statement is that everything is fuzzy and uncertain, and the main task for the physicist is to get used to it. Well, I don't see physics in this way. As long as there's no real evidence that something is uncalculable, I won't be getting used to it. Best wishes Lubos 4. Re: Computing Masses by:LRiofrio Thanx for the linx! They sound like very interesting talks. 5. Re: Computing Masses by:Kea August 26, 2009 August 26, 2009

In principle, one can calculate the exact (complex, because unstable) rest masses of black hole microstates from Matrix theory etc. Thank you, Lubos. I am glad we are in agreement about this point. As you say, there has been progress on constructing observables for mass, and I just wish this was better appreciated. 6. Re: Computing Masses by:Kea August 27, 2009

Lubos, we seem to agree about these issues. What we mostly disagree on is (a) that the Planck scale is fixed for all observers (after all, in a non local theory where a scale has yet to be fixed, what does it mean to talk about The Planck scale?) (b) that the emergent Lorentz invariance must obey the dictum of a single Planck scale (c) that all the 'current physics' in traditional string theory, such as SUSY partners, is correct. I see no reason to buy (c). In categorical quantum information theory, we can easily talk about SUSY without invoking SUSY partners. You might say that the effective Lagrangian has to have these things, but it is not at all essential that this effective Lagrangian describe the real world. So long as the non local theory recovers all standard model observables, it is a viable description of the world. 7. Re: Computing Masses by:markathomas August 27, 2009

Some of it is currently calculable, through deep mathematical structure. It requires the precision of a 26d Lorentz structure. Lorentz symmetry is exact all the way through the semiclassical scale to Planck. It has to be that way because the quantum has to remain unitary too. Also, some semiclassical black hole entropies and 'degrees of freedom' can


be precisely calculated using pure number. Check out OEIS, A161771 See also, A162916, A164040, A160514 and A160515 It maybe that A162916 weakens the 'anthropic principle' significantly.

The Fermi Debate
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The Fermi debate appears to have convinced some people that any kind of variation in $c$ has been ruled out, or will soon be ruled out as more GRBs are observed. But consider the Riofrio cosmology. If one must insist (sigh) on a classical picture of photons whizzing through an objective vacuum from GRB 090510 to us, then the Riofrio cosmology would say that all photons shift their speed in unison, as the cosmic epoch changes. They would all be measured locally at a speed $c$. This quantum cosmology is consistent with all known data. The Loopie picture, on the other hand, defends its new position on the fence by pointing out that DSR breaks Lorentz symmetry through deformation, a supposedly subtle kind of symmetry (actually, it's pretty simple and there is no physical motivation for it). The linked paper begins with the line: What is the fate of Lorentz symmetry at Planck scale? There is a problem with this statement. Traditional string theorists make similar statements. The Riofrio cosmology does not impose a fixed scale on the non local theory of quantum gravity, which contains all possible values of $c$, $\hbar$ and $M_{\textrm{pl}}$. It is capable of recovering local Lorentz invariance precisely because it considers a fixed Planck scale an approximation. Posted by Kea at 08:19PM (+12:00)

1. Re: The Fermi Debate by:Anonymous August 28, 2009

Kea, It doesn't matter if cosmic time is 'essentially' the same for all observers. For Lorentz invariance to hold in this scenario, it has to be exactly the same for all observers. Thus, this idea either breaks Lorentz invariance by 1) assuming absolute time for all observers or 2) resulting in the speed of light being different for observers in different frames. 2. Re: The Fermi Debate by:Anonymous August 28, 2009

Dear Kea, When you refer to ''cosmic time', in which frame of reference is this measured? If you are assuming this is the same for everyone, then you in effect stating that time is absolute, which we know to be false. Suppose that in the reference frame that 'cosmic time' is measured, the speed of light changed as you claim. However, in a different frame of reference, the speed of light would not change by the same amount since he measures a different amount of time. Thus, the two observers would disagree on the


speed of light and Lorentz invariance is broken. 3. Re: The Fermi Debate by:MattiPitkanen August 28, 2009

A comment about absolute time and Lorentz invariance. In General Relativity Lorentz invariance and the idea about absolute time are in conflict. In TGD framework space-times are 4-surfaces in M^4xS (S=CP_2) and Lorentz group acts as isometries of the imbedding space. In zero energy ontology intersections of future and past light-cones -causal diamonds (CDs)- are basic objects: space-times are 4-surfaces in CDxCP_2. The light-cone proper time is a natural Lorentz invariant time variable and in a well-defined sense absolute. This time serves as cosmic time in TGD inspired cosmology but requires that the consideration is restricted inside single subcosmology. This approach also allows to define what the measurement of c means as I have explained a couple of times. Many-sheeted space-time allows variation of light-velocity in this sense without breaking of Lorentz invariance. In cosmic scales the light-velocity measured in this manner increases slowly (the time taken to travel along curved spacetime surface decreases since it becomes less curved as it flattens so that c approaches its maximal value).

This prediction is opposite to the hypothesis of Louise Riofrio. As also Kea has noticed, Riofrio's theory leads to difficulties with fine structure constant alpha=e e^2/4*pi*hbar*c constant and Rydberg constant involving electron mass unless one makes additional assumptions (hbar, c, G and possible also electron mass vary as functions of cosmic time). Solar system space-time sheet is predicted to not participate in expansion except possibly by rapid phase transitions and this is known to be true. This implies apparent reduction of c since the standard to which one compares increases slowly: the prediction for the rate of reduction is correct. In TGD framework the situation can therefore be said to be settled. 4. Re: The Fermi Debate by:Kea August 28, 2009

Anonymous, Lorentz invariance is broken in this quantum cosmology, in the sense that we talk about different values for c. It's a quantum cosmology, which implies that GR breaks down on large scales. In order to refute this hypothesis one has two options: 1. travel to a different cosmic epoch, make measurements and communicate them (you will probably agree that this is impossible) 2. falsify some of Louise's (and others') predictions and demonstrate that the cosmological constant is a better explanation of the data Although some visitors here don't seem to value GR, personally I have a great respect for it and believe that it must be recovered rigorously from the full quantum theory. But one cannot seriously expect it to apply to cosmology forever ... human progress is slow, but not that slow. 5. Re: The Fermi Debate by:Kea Hi Louise. I trust in the good sense of astronomers and honest physicists. August 30, 2009


6. Re: The Fermi Debate by:Kea

August 28, 2009

Anonymous, I do not assume that cosmic time is the same for all observers, although it is essentially the same for all human observers since we haven't really left Earth yet the Pioneer anomaly being a very interesting case in point. Your second implicit assumption - that this is the only kind of time - is also not assumed. Human observers on Earth occupy a fixed cosmic epoch, which does not conflict with the fact they must always observe photons locally to be travelling at c (as in the c for this epoch). 7. Re: The Fermi Debate by:LRiofrio August 30, 2009

Again your tireless support is most appreciated! As we know, changing constants has become a subject of study with international astronomers. Some of them are still focused on changes in alpha, but the world is slowly seeing the light.

Extra LIGO
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Recommended reading for today: from LIGO. Posted by Kea at 10:32PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Extra LIGO by:nige August 28, 2009

Figure 1 in the LOGO paper you link shows that they're looking for gravitational waves at frequencies from 30 Hz (where the frequency axis begins) to 4 kHz. The implosion process which involves the most massive accelerations (and hence the greatest radiating power for gravitational waves) in supernova explosions takes t = 0.2 second, so the main frequency is going to be on the order f = 1/t = 5 Hz. Also, I don't see the point in making using refined formulae to predict the precise shape of the gravitational waves, when so far they can't detect anything at all! All you need is the estimate the amount of energy and the frequency, just as when forecasting an earthquake. Don't worry about trying to predict the exact shape of the waveform, just worry whether your instrument is going to pick up enough energy at the right frequency to give a reading or not. From GR: P = [G*(ma)^2]/(2*Pi*c^3) watts of gravitational wave power from mass m having acceleration a. [Most textbooks give a formula for two orbiting masses radiating gravitational waves, but they are accelerating in their orbit with acceleration a = (v^2)/r, so can be simplified easily to the formula above.] For a Type II supernova, the critical mass is 1.38 solar masses hence m = 2.7*10^30 kg. The initial radius of the largest white dwarf (before collapse and supernova) is 0.02 solar radii = 1.4*10^7 m. The white dwarf collapses down to 30 km radius at speeds reaching


0.23c or 7*10^7 m/s which takes 0.2 second, when it rebounds and the ~10^44 J supernova explosion phase then occurs. The mean acceleration over the 0.2 seconds of implosion is a = v/t = (7*10^7)/0.2 = 3.5*10^8 ms^-2. Inserting this acceleration and mass into the equation, the mean gravitational wave radiating power is 3.7*10^41 W, multiplying by the 0.2 second duration gives E = 7.4*10^40 J for the energy in gravitational waves. This is merely 0.074% of the ~10^44 J of explosive energy in the Type II supernova! It's a tiny amount of energy and the detector must be tined to the right frequency to have any chance. The mean frequency is obviously on the order of 1/t = 5 Hz. If we assume isotropic emission of this 7.4*10^40 J GW energy over area 4*Pi*R^2, then a even a relatively nearby supernova on the other side of the galaxy (100,000 light-years or 9.5*10^20 m away) will only give us 0.0065 J/m^2 of grvitational wave energy. Acting over a pulse period of 0.2 second. E = F*x = (ma)*(0.5at^2) = (1/2)*m*(at)^2 So a 1000 kg cube of water with sides 1 m long will receive 0.0065 J and will pick up an acceleration of 0.018 ms^-2. You would think that they could detect this kind of acceleration, if they searched at the right frequency!

Twistor Buzz
Friday, August 28, 2009
Lectures 4A and 4B are compulsory viewing. In the most deliciously outrageous display of presumption I have ever witnessed, Arkani-Hamed introduces twistor QFT to a group of beginning graduate students who have never even taken a course in old fashioned QFT. Moreover, he carefully explains to them why Feynman diagrams are redundant and quantum gravity has a better way of doing things. Wow. If I tried that, I'd be lynched. Posted by Kea at 07:50PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Twistor Buzz by:Kea August 29, 2009

Hi, kneemo. Yes, it cannot be long until good post-stringy theorists realise the potential of multicategories. Meanwhile, I may have lined up a decent waitressing job in NZ for the summer, although they want to meet me first. 2. Re: Twistor Buzz by:Anonymous whoa, the comment i was replying to disappeared ! 3. Re: Twistor Buzz by:kneemo August 29, 2009 August 30, 2009

Excellent talks. It's nice to see Nima enthusiastically discussing and extending material from Witten's Dec. 2003 twistor string paper. There are some deep mathematical


structures at work here and multicategorical techniques seem highly applicable. 4. Re: Twistor Buzz by:Anonymous congrats kea :) 5. Re: Twistor Buzz by:Anonymous August 30, 2009 August 30, 2009

ugh, sorry. i feel really stupid :( sarcasm is something i've always struggled with. i see now that the notion of you waiting on tables is silly. theres no way an emancipated woman such as yourself would willingly reinforce sexual stereotypes like that.

Quote of the Week
Friday, August 28, 2009
Scientists have discovered a planet that shouldn't exist. The finding, they say, could alter our understanding of orbital dynamics, a field considered pretty well settled since the time of astronomer Johannes Kepler 400 years ago. So says an article about the discovery of the hot Jupiter Wasp-18b, by C. Hellier et al. Thanks, Lobo7922. Posted by Kea at 09:46PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Quote of the Week by:Kea Physics World. 2. Re: Quote of the Week by:MattiPitkanen August 28, 2009 August 29, 2009

This would be in TGD framework something analogous to what happened when it was realized that electrons in atoms should spiral to the atomic nucleus. See a brief comment at my blog. 3. Re: Quote of the Week by:PhilG August 29, 2009

If rotation rate of star and planet are synchronised with orbit period then there will be no tidal energy loss. It is common for satellite or planet to synchronise its rotation rate with orbit rate (e.g. our moon) If star is originally rotating faster than planet's orbit time, then all will sync up when it comes close enough. But that would be an obvious possibility. Did they rule it out?


4. Re: Quote of the Week


August 29, 2009

Phil, if you read the Nature paper you will see that they know the rotation rate of the star quite accurately from spectral data. 5. Re: Quote of the Week by:Kea The Nature article. 6. Re: Quote of the Week by:Kea August 28, 2009 August 29, 2009

A very good analogy indeed, Matti. Sigh. Over many years now I have seen physicists go from disparaging category theory to loving it, from disparaging non local theories to loving them, from disparaging the idea of quantum cosmology to loving it. Now I suppose we will have to watch them come to love the consequences of quantum cosmology for stellar system dynamics ... all the while forgetting about the people who told them so all along. 7. Re: Quote of the Week by:PhilG August 30, 2009

I don't have access to the Nature article but that would explain how they rule it out, thanks.

Mighty Jupiter
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Today's random plot from the Interactive Extrasolar Planets Catalog. Posted by Kea at 10:39PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Mighty Jupiter by:Kea Note that Nottale has a pile of papers on extrasolar quantization laws. 2. Re: Mighty Jupiter by:Kea August 31, 2009 August 31, 2009

Yes, one can see the mass/radius correlation with the same data set. Evidence indicates that life is widespread in the cosmos. 3. Re: Mighty Jupiter by:Anonymous "Evidence indicates that life is widespread in the cosmos." I thought they were only finding such massive planets that the surface gravity would prohibit life? The problem is always that - regardless of whether the life is carbon or silicon based - it needs to begin with liquid droplets. Think of a single cell like an egg. The first step is a liquid droplet with a membrane, and the complex molecules like RNA and DNA precursors then evolve inside it. It's believed that life started near underwater volcanic vents on earth, where the right temperature and chemicals were present (Darwin's own idea of a "warm little puddle" is not so good because the right chemicals August 31, 2009


wouldn't be likely to be found there). If the planet is too massive, the waves and tides will be too big and water currents are likely to dilute and wash away chemicals from volcanic vents before any life evolves. It's clear from the nature of even the simplest single celled life that it's hard to chemically replicate the steps involved in the lab, and this suggests that unless there are a lot of earth like planets, it's unlikely that there is any life at all in the universe. 4. Re: Mighty Jupiter by:Kea ... but these usually refer to orbital quantizations and not stellar radii. 5. Re: Mighty Jupiter by:MattiPitkanen August 31, 2009 August 31, 2009

Quantization of stellar radii probably corresponds to quantization of stellar masses. This is relevant for the probability of life in Universe.

The radii of Borh orbits depend on the mass of star but not on the mass of planet (Equivalence Principle coded into hbar proportional to GMm). This means that for star with given mass the radii of Bohr orbits are same and there should be lots of Earth like planets in the Universe. 6. Re: Mighty Jupiter by:MattiPitkanen September 01, 2009

To anonymous: I did not mean massive planets. There are reasons to expect that also planets at higher Bohr orbits are there and if the mass of star is same so that radii or Bohr orbits are universal, there are reasons to expect that Earth like planets are abundant. Note that the graph only says that the radii and presumably masses of stars tend to have preferred values. The masses of Jupiter like planets do not correlate with the radius of star. Their existence could correlate. This could be tested by including all planet masses and seeing what one obtains.

Planets Galore
Monday, August 31, 2009
This is a lot of fun, so I downloaded the extrasolar data and found several systems with four or more known planets in them. Here are the plots of planet period vs $n$, as in $n = 1,2,3,4$. Posted by Kea at 09:02PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Planets Galore by:nige August 31, 2009

Regarding 55 CNC (Cancri), it's perhaps interesting that the Titius-Bode law for the solar system has been applied to the distances of planetary orbits in System 55 CNC") on your post:


Arcadio Poveda and Patricia Lara, The Exo-Planetary System of 55 Cancri and the Titius-Bode Law, Revista Mexicana de Astronomia y Astrofisica, v44, pp243-246 (2008) Although Ivan Kotliarov strongly objects to reviving that law for 55 CNC. I wonder if the other examples support the hypothesis or not? 2. Re: Planets Galore by:Kea August 31, 2009

Actually, these planets (b,c,e,f) for 55 Cnc line up quite well with n=1,2,3,9. 3. Re: Planets Galore by:nige September 02, 2009

Thanks also for the reference to your page, the comparison of polyhedral solids is interesting, although it looks headed for Platonic mathematical beauty rather than mechanistic physics that increasing understanding of the dynamic causal processes behind the planetary orbital radii. Presumably in the early solar system there must have been swirling gas and dust clouds around the star which condensed into the planets, a process supposedly set off by the arrival of the debris shock front from a relatively nearby supernova 4,540 million years ago, which delivered heavy elements like iron. It would be nice if there was a theory of the how dust containing different elements at different radii created the planets of different compositions which are now found at those radii. I suppose that secondary fractionation is also important, with the heat from the sun boiling light elements off the nearby small planets (with low gravity) over millions of years, while bigger planets with stronger surface gravity that are further from the sun and less severely heated will lose less light elements. So the mainly soild planets near the sun may initially have had a lot of light elements, which soon evaporated with molecular escape velocity due to the heat, leaving only the heavier rocks as a residue. I wonder if it is possible to model all the processes in a computer simulation? 4. Re: Planets Galore by:Kea Thanks for the link, Nigel. I couldn't remember who had looked at this. 5. Re: Planets Galore by:nige Hi Tony, Thank you very much for the reference to the paper by Vladan Pankovic and Aleksandar-Meda Radakovic on the relationship between Kepler's 3rd law and the Titius-Bode law. I like the analogy between the Bohr atom and the planetary orbit radii. 6. Re: Planets Galore by:TonySmith September 01, 2009 September 02, 2009 August 31, 2009

Nige, thanks for the reference to the 55 Cancri paper about the Titius-Bode Law, which is roughly equivalent to the extension of Kepler's Polyhedral approach that I like (see my web page at and the more detailed paper to which it links). Obviously, I am happy to see that the first Exo-Planetary system to be studied (55 Cancri) has similar structure. As to the objections by Ivan Kotliarov, I note that the substance of his technical


objections seem to be directed at the detailed form of the Titius-Bode formula, which is NOT a valid objection to Kepler's nested polyhedron approach or my extension of it. Further, there is a more recent paper at arXiv 0903.1732 by Pankovic and Radakovic that provides further physical basis for such results. Tony Smith

T Duality
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Now that String Theory has officially won the String Wars* (by changing its thinking radically enough to finally look like it is on the right track) it is worth making a simple point about T duality. In modern physics, almost everything is measured in terms of energy. Distance is an inverse energy, temperature is an energy, and so on. For a basic black hole, the mass of a black hole goes like the inverse of a Hawking temperature. In other words, mass is somehow like an inverse energy, which is the distance scale of the black hole radius. But mass is just an energy. So even without considering any kind of string theory at all, we should expect T duality to play an important role in gravity. In a non local theory, however, it does no good to talk about a priori distance scales. At the fundamental level, black hole properties arise from considerations of, say, their information content. It is expected that a classical spacetime, with its notion of horizon scale, should only arise as a thermodynamic collection of such quantum states. So where is the T duality? It can only be in the mass quantum numbers. Distances are derived from the masses, but they are not inherently properties of the quantum states. This suggests that a rigorous T duality for Yang-Mills theory is closely related to the issue of a mass gap, because the limit of the Planck scale is replaced by a minimal, or dually maximal, mass. *AF will still occasionally refer to string theorists as idiots, and the correct theory as M theory. Posted by Kea at 12:11AM (+12:00)

1. Re: T Duality by:Rhys September 02, 2009

"T duality" has a very specific meaning, and as far as I can tell your post has nothing to do with it. I think it's counter-productive to abuse terminology in this way. 2. Re: T Duality by:Kea September 02, 2009

But what if the standard terminology has no relation whatsoever to the real world? Then


surely it is counterproductive to insist on the standard definition (and I don't actually agree that there is a completely specific meaning) long after its expiry date. As they say ... adapt or die.

New Worlds
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
The image below is taken from a paper by Ingrosso et al on the hunt for extrasolar planets in Andromeda. Yeah, no kidding. Here is the planet in the catalog, with a mass of $6.34 M_{J}$. Posted by Kea at 08:34PM (+12:00)

M Theory Lesson 293
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Last time we considered chord flips on a square. Recall that a chorded square labels a point at the source or target of an associator edge. A basic three leaf tree is what labels the associator edge. In other words, an associator edge is like two four point diagrams connected by a single three point diagram. This is backwards (or rather, Poincare dual) to the situation of interest in twistor QFT, which is where a four point vertex may factorize into pairs of three point vertices. As it happens, there is such a thing as a dual square, where points become edges and edges points. In this context, roughly speaking, the square would be called a Hodges diagram. The vertices on a Hodges diagram stand for twistor variables in a massless field theory. Poincare duality is a simple enough idea, so massless particle physics really does see associahedra. That's category theory, folks. You can keep saying that category theory has nothing to do with physics. But Nature does not agree with you. Posted by Kea at 02:17AM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 293 by:Kea September 07, 2009

Rhys, I mean Poincare duality in the 1D space defined by the graph. So a square is just a square. 2. Re: M Theory Lesson 293 by:Anonymous September 05, 2009

It's good that it deals with simple diagrams that correspond to vertices in physics. Do you have any example of category theory can be used to help make a checkable prediction, or does that require a lot more research and development?


3. Re: M Theory Lesson 293 by:MattiPitkanen

September 05, 2009

Just a random thought which popped in my mind during morning walk yesterday. Baez et al are playing with very formal looking formal structures by replacing vectors of Hilbert space with Hilbert spaces and obtain results which make them happy. This looks to a physicist who has learned his Feynman diagrams more or less a waste of time. Just a pearl game. I however realized that this might make sense in quantum measurement theory with finite measurement resolution described in terms of inclusions of hyperfinite factors of type II_1. The included algebra represents measurement resolution and this means that the infinite-D sub-Hilbert spaces obtained by the action of this algebra replace the rays. Sub-factor takes the role of complex numbers in generalized QM so that you get noncommutative quantum mechanics. For instance, quantum entanglement for two systems of this kind would not be between rays but between infinite-D subspaces corresponding to subfactors. One could build a generalization of QM by replacing rays with sub-spaces and I think that quantum group concept does more or less this: the states in representations of quantum groups could be seen as infinite-dimensional Hilbert spaces.

What seems unavoidable is infinite dimension of Hilbert spaces replacing rays of Hilbert space - very natural in realistic physical theories in which the physics below length scale cutoff involves infinite number of degrees of freedom. 4. Re: M Theory Lesson 293 by:MattiPitkanen I found the This Week's Finds explaining the idea of 2-vector space. The 2-vector space defined as category of vector spaces (one forms n-tuples of vector spaces as analog for points of vector space) with tensor product and direct sum defining algebraic operations does not look interesting although it occurs in representation theory of groups. The (to me rather) fuzzy notion of fractal quantum-dimensional factor space of HFF obtained by dividing HFF by included HFF might however give rise to much more interesting 2-structure. Fractal 2-operator algebras and 2-state spaces would be obtained. This category would have direct physical interpretation as what one obtains by forming all possible many particle states with single parton corresponding to a given inclusion of HFF characterizing the particular measurement resolution. In zero energy ontology situation comes even more interesting. What would make the structure interesting is that the tensor product would not be trivial anymore since the action of sub-factors involved should be effectively complex multiplication just as in ordinary quantum theory since it does not change change the physical state in the measurement resolution considered. If I have not totally misunderstood the basic notions, this would force irreducible September 06, 2009


entanglement describing the interaction and expressible in terms of Connes tensor product. The category in question would describe a hierarchy of interacting systems with Connes tensor product coding for the interactions. The M-matrices as generalizations of S-matrices - defined in terms of Connes tensor product and characterized by measurement resolutions- would also relate naturally to a 2-structure with respect to tensor product. Connes tensor products of M-matrices would characterize the multiple Connes tensor products of zero energy state spaces. 5. Re: M Theory Lesson 293 by:Kea September 05, 2009

Anonymous, the categorical version of the standard model, which I refer to in this post, is unfortunately not something that many people work on - you can probably count Matti, Carl and me, but I can't think of anyone else. Now this version of the SM does not agree with all the predictions of the SM. For instance, if we could understand the higher dimensional operad polytope 'tilings' a little better, then in principle we could compute amplitudes for multijet processes at the LHC that would conflict with SM predictions. Outside SM type scattering amplitudes, there are plenty of predictions asociated to this new physics. Now one could always argue that these things are not connected to category theory, since the case is far less clear than for scattering amplitudes, but all a physicist can do is try to make quantitive predictions within a consistent framework. Whether or not it is possible to convince others that a given framework is consistent is not a question of mathematics (category theory or otherwise) but a question of physical principle. 6. Re: M Theory Lesson 293 by:Kea September 05, 2009

Hi Matti. Of course I agree that the random categorification game is not the way to think about new mathematics for physics. However, I agree with your insights here. One can think of the study of the hierarchy of n-Hilbert spaces (which is n-categorical) as a way to probe the mystical category of Motives - by which I mean the as yet undefined one, the one of which Grothendieck dreamed. But the constructive arithmetic is missing - and who cares about Hilbert spaces, per se. This is a point that I believe you appreciate, and it is why I am interested in categories with prime objects, and constructive p-adic MUB structures and so on. 7. Re: M Theory Lesson 293 by:Kea September 06, 2009

Yes, Matti, I think that is basically right, although I have my own confused way of thinking about it, and I suspect that Connes' tensor product should become something much richer, in categorical terms. 8. Re: M Theory Lesson 293 by:Rhys Do you actually mean Poincare duality? If so, in which space? September 06, 2009


Saturday, September 05, 2009
An experienced traveller quickly gets used to the idiosyncracies of a new place. When a newly arrived Canadian researcher told me of her shock at being unable to open a bank account at a local bank which actually owed her money, I simply laughed (but then I did assure her that I knew it wasn't funny). When a few English colleagues failed to obtain cash from the ATMs in Waterloo, Canada, I merely shrugged my shoulders. When it took six months to obtain a health insurance number, I never gave it a thought. But the train ticketing system is just plain hilarious. Many years ago, on my first visit to India, after several weeks of moving around by train I remember the great feeling of accomplishment when I finally understood how to find myself an appropriate seat. I have often been told that they inherited bureaucracy from the English, as indeed my country also did, but only now do I understand how true that is. Anyway, I booked and paid for a return trip to London online, and requested the tickets be sent to my home address (the alternative is to go to the station and stand in the line to use the only unbroken automatic ticket collection machine). The tickets arrived today. So how many ticket stubs am I issued for a simple return trip to London, which is only a few stops away? Eight. That's right, eight. Nine if you count for the extra one containing my address. That's because each trip has a minimum of two tickets: one ticket and one seat reservation. Then there is a ticket stub for the record of payment, a bit like a receipt but one also gets one of those. The remaining three tickets are indecipherable records of further details about both the booking and the payment. But the tickets arrived promptly and the friendly postman handed them to me personally, bringing back distant memories from my childhood, when the same postman would come by our house every day. Posted by Kea at 10:55PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Amused by:chimpanzee September 06, 2009

I just got back from Southwest China for solar eclipse (went to Northwest China last year for solar eclipse), & I can report my experiences. ATM withdrawal of cash (using VISA or Mastercard) is straightforward. However, make sure you remember your PIN #!! I didn't, so I had to get on Internet (many China hotels are web equipped, which is how progressive China seems to be getting), use Skype (international) phone on my laptop to call my CC/Credit Card company in USA. However, I had a strange experience this time: I couldn't get cash from a major Chinese bank, using my CC in a personal transaction (with a teller). Train travel in China requires buying ticket 2 weeks before departure date, can't do reservation before that. They can sell out fast, especially the soft (or hard) sleepers, the luxury way of travelling. Otherwise, you have to sit & sleep in sitting position (difficult for me) in > 12 hr trips. Foreign travelers: you need an agent, to reserve/buy tickets for you. In China, they WILL figure out a way to accomadate you. I had train conductors "clear


the way" for my excess luggage (200 lbs of eclipse equipment in 3 cases). Last year, they hauled my stuff in the passenger section (!) at the LAST MINUTE. Some Geophysics students from Peking helped me haul it back to my sleeper section (3 cabs away, while hopscotching over people sprawled all over sleeping in the aisles!! Arms, heads, legs all over). This year, a small bus (Chengdu to Emei Shan) did the same for my 4 equipment cases. Anywhere else, this would have been un-allowable. I remember being in London Gatway (International connections, not Heathrow) going to Zambia via Zimbabwe (for 2001 solar eclipse). I clearly had an excess carryon, & British Airways employee gave me a stare/stiff-lip & told me "no way". I had to buy a check-in suitcase (on the spot), & check it in. So, I have experience with British bureacracy. The same trip, 1 of my cases was held back by BSS (British Secret Service), which held me back on my trip to Northwest Zambia (near Angola). It was held hostage, just like what happened to Louise Riofrio in London a few yrs back. "Curse of Bureacracy" 2. Re: Amused by:Anonymous September 06, 2009

It's designed to save money. People lose their tickets on the train, are arrested and imprisoned, then use their credit card statement to prove that they bought a ticket, are released and compensated. Instead of pay for prison expenses and conpensation for absent minded and careless people, they issue many tickets for each journey. It's a consequence of the proverb: don't put all your eggs in one basket. 3. Re: Amused by:Kea Lol, anonymous! Yes, that makes perfect sense to me. September 06, 2009

Varying Mass
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Recently we considered time varying mass in the Riofrio cosmology. This is not a new idea. In the viXra article, Against the Tide: A Critical Review by Scientists of How Physics and Astronomy Get Done (188 pages), there is an article by Halton Arp which includes a discussion of the quasar NGC 7603: Number 92 in my Atlas of Peculiar galaxies has a large companion on the end of a luminous arm. In 1971, a spectrum revealed that this companion had a 8000 km/sec higher redshift than the central, active Seyfert galaxy. This amount of excess redshift cannot be accomodated in the conventional picture where redshifts mean velocities in an expanding universe. They could not be at such different distances and be physically interacting. When Fred Hoyle heard about this he came up from the Cal Tech campus to my Carnegie office and asked to see the original picture. In 1972 he gave the prestigious Russell Lecture at the Seattle meeting of the American Astronomical Society and outlined a theory whereby younger galaxies radiated intrinsically redshifted photons. His theory of growing particle masses was a more general solution to the conventional field equations but was physically a Machian (not Einsteinian theory). At the end of the lecture he said the NGC 7603 observation created a crisis in physics and we needed to cross over the


bridge to a radically more general physics. In 2002, an astro-ph paper, by M. Lopez-Corredoira and Carlos M. Gutierrez, described two even higher redshift objects sitting exactly on the filament connecting the two galaxies of the NGC 7603 system. Posted by Kea at 04:39AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Varying Mass by:LRiofrio September 07, 2009

Thanks for the link! We are different from the Arp 'tired light' cosmology. 2. Re: Varying Mass by:MattiPitkanen September 06, 2009

I remember that there are also "God's fingers" containing galaxies along the line of sight with quantized redshifts corresponding to distance of order 10^8 light years, the size scale of large void. This correlation is very difficult to understand unless one and the same object at different times is in question. I have discussed possible model for this. Suppose that the photons coming from a distant object are confined to a circular orbit along boundaries of a large void (say circular magnetic flux tube acting as a wave guide) so that the received photons rotate N=1,2,3,... around the cylinder before they are detected. One would obtain snapshots about galaxy with a time interval of about 10^8 years. Redshift is determined by the value of g_aa at the time of emission so that one should obtain the redshift also in this case. 3. Re: Varying Mass by:nige On the earlier post linked, you wrote: "That is, electron mass starts out at zero and grows larger with Riofrio's cosmological law M = t." Louise's equation MG = tc^3 is similar to the result I obtain in Fig. 4 here: for two electrons each of mass M, the quantum gravity force is found to be F = 8ma[MG/(rc^2)]^2 compared to Newton's F = G(M/r)^2, where m is mass of observable universe and according to Smolin (2006 book), a = Hc; equating F and rearranging gives 8mG = tc^3. Louise extensively investigated the consequences of having t ~ c^(-1/3), but it is also possible that m varies in direct proportion to time. This would mean that masses were smaller at early times after the big bang, reducing early clumping and explaining the flatness at the time of the emission of the CBR, instead of requiring inflation to explain the early flatness. Louise found successes from t ~ c^(-1/3). There really needs to be a detailed comparison done to see the advantages of each possibility. On the discrepancies in redshift: gravitational redshifts can be important for black holes, which can visibly glow if material is being sucked in and glowing due to high energy particle collisions as it converges (outside the event horion). Hence you could have two glowing objects physically orbiting each other, one of which has a greater redshift due to the gravitational redshift. Halton Arp's stance against the big bang is too picky. Hubble's Doppler-based recession law is overwhelmingly successful. Tired light cosmologies fail completely and miserably; September 06, 2009


they're just a dogma. Nuclear fusion synthesis of light elements (confirmed by abundances of hydrogen, deuterium, helium, lithium, etc.), CBR spectrum, and redshift are the key empirical parts of the big bang. Dark matter, dark energy, and inflation are resultants from trying to fit observations to standard general relativity with fixed constants c, G. 4. Re: Varying Mass by:Kea September 06, 2009

Nigel, nobody here cares about the old steady state model or any tired light theories. This post is about the interesting quasar observation.

Mass Gap Revisited
Monday, September 07, 2009
In a theory with cosmologically varying masses, to some approximation there is no mass gap in the sense that a neutrino mass tends to zero in the early universe, at least from the point of view of a distant observer. However, the standard model is only about local observations. And so as a matter of principle, given that we do not occupy the early universe, there must be a mass gap, given by the mass of the lightest neutrino, namely $0.00039$ eV. In lecture 4B (you did watch it, right?) Arkani-Hamed discusses locality in terms of factorization for the coefficients of singularities that arise when internal lines in an old fashioned Feynman diagram go on-shell. This dictates how a proper four particle vertex with helicity labels should decompose into two three particle vertices. There are only two kinds of three particle vertex: (--+) and (-++). It can be shown that factorization only allows two possible spin values, for a vertex with all legs having the same spin $s$. That is, either $s = 0$ or $s = 2$. Sound familiar? Spin $1$ Yang-Mills theory is OK if we mix spin values on the inputs. In that case, factorization says that the amplitudes must come from Lie group type structures. So the presence of Lie groups is derived from locality. They are not fundamental. Posted by Kea at 03:02AM (+12:00)

1. Re: Mass Gap Revisited by:MattiPitkanen September 07, 2009

Various symmetries can be seen also as being forced by mathematical existence of infinite-D Kahler geometry of world of classical worlds. Assuming that the possibly unique maximally rich infinite-D Kahler geometry has number theoretical interpretation, one ends up with standard model symmetries. See my blog posting. 2. Re: Mass Gap Revisited



September 10, 2009

Yes, by keeping things on-shell, we're forced into projective spaces, which conveniently have classical Lie group symmetries.

viXra Reading
Monday, September 07, 2009
Some interesting recent papers from the viXra preprint archive: On Information Geometry, by Chris Goddard Solar System Dynamics, by A. L. Kholodenko Study of Supernovae Dimming, by T. B. Andrews Keplerian Polyhedral Models, by Tony Smith Posted by Kea at 09:27PM (+12:00)

1. Re: viXra Reading by:ChrisGoddard hi Daniel, The papers that you link to are indeed most interesting. In particular, as you say, there seem to be some fairly deep observations in, though I have not yet given it a detailed examination. Intriguing that it is also related to some work due to Nigel Hitchin. Best wishes, Chris 2. Re: viXra Reading by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 Hi Chris! I did not expect you to answer here! I kept checking an answer to the email, but I did not find anything. So, since I was a little child, I always loved fractals, because they are beautiful, but later, being and adult, I felt a huge let down for the lack of its use in fundamental physics. So, last year I found the papers and the books I sent you. And then, after I read a bit about it in the standard books modern about exotic smoothness, "4-manifolds & kirby calculus", as well as "Wild World of 4 manifolds", I found that fractals (exotic smoothness) might be, who knows necessary ingredient to understand our universe, because they are the infinetely the more the most numerous and dense set among all possible 4-manifolds. You discuss with lenght the subject of statitics, but since quantum mechanics is a statitical theory, the eigenlevels associated with the different exotic structures found in may be useful for you. Unfortunantely, I cannot follow the citations you say because even with (stolen) September 10, 2009 September 10, 2009


university proxies or magazines passwords, there are rarely online subscriptions that provide access prior to the 90's. So, I cannot get old articles before the 80's, and my expenses are too high for me to have the luxury of buy them. 3. Re: viXra Reading by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 September 09, 2009

That paper, from Chris Goddard, is particular interesting and overlaps with my interestests. But it seems a very standard paper, even in termos of format, like most of from Carlos Catro, except that this guy was never troubled by moderators. I really wonder what led him to post on vixra. That makes me happy because people are starting to take vixra very seriously. But something made me really unconfortable in that paper, which is that his work has a great relation with Asselmeyer-Maluga, Brans, Krol and others, but he doesn't cite them at all! What the hell??? 4. Re: viXra Reading by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 Hi chriss, Isidro is trying to fit QM (Schrodinger equation) with GR using Ricci flow, I think you must see my posts here, and the blog host too: 5. Re: viXra Reading by:ChrisGoddard hi Daniel, Thanks for your kind comments with respect to my paper. If I may respond to your immediate queries: (i) I posted to vixra due to the extremely speculative nature of some of the work, which I viewed meant that it was not ready to post on an established preprint server such as the arxiv; and (ii) The list of citations is certainly by no means complete. My style in listing citations is to mention the ones that I used directly in my research. I am actually completely unaware of the work of the people you mention, even though their work is doubtless relevant, in addition to many others. (iii) In particular I mention Banks and Zaks as the originators of the idea of a scale-free physics back in the early 80s. It was actually recently brought to my attention that this is perhaps not entirely true. I think there may have been earlier work around the middle of last century on the matter. September 09, 2009 September 10, 2009


Quote of the Summer
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
... so in philosophy, when we make use of false principles, we depart the farther from the knowledge of truth and wisdom exactly in proportion to the care with which we cultivate them, and apply ourselves to the deduction of diverse consequences from them, thinking that we are philosophizing well, while we are only departing the farther from the truth; from which it must be inferred that they who have learned the least of all that has been hitherto distinguished by the name of philosophy are the most fitted for the apprehension of truth. Rene Descartes Posted by Kea at 08:26PM (+12:00)

1. Re: Quote of the Summer by:Kea September 10, 2009

Chimp, I have dual citizenship by birthright. But I only hold a Kiwi passport. 2. Re: Quote of the Summer by:chimpanzee "Every absurdity has a champion to defend it." -- Oliver Goldsmith The above summarizes the battle of Idealogies in every domain. BTW, you have a dual citizenship (Australia & New Zealand), so you are bi-national? 3. Re: Quote of the Summer by:Kea September 08, 2009 September 08, 2009

Quotes on AF are not intended to inspire naive political comment about wars which my country never even fought in. 4. Re: Quote of the Summer by:Barry So even Descartes says that philosophy is ... er, ... taurine ordure. September 09, 2009

Perpetual Summer
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
With the changing seasons will come a return to the south. I may have lined up a waitressing job for the busy southern summer. Meanwhile, check out this new academic jobs site: provide the usual data, and apply for hundreds of jobs at once! Posted by Kea at 08:05PM (+12:00)


1. Re: Perpetual Summer by:Kea September 12, 2009

Chimpanzee, please try harder to understand that I DON'T WANT to work on someone else's projects. I want to work on MY projects. 2. Re: Perpetual Summer by:Kea kneemo, that's a maths postdoc. 3. Re: Perpetual Summer by:Kea September 16, 2009 September 12, 2009

Javier, I assure you that I do not consider my life a joke ... although there are many people who clearly do. I have two choices: (1) look for a low paid job, or (2) starve to death. 4. Re: Perpetual Summer by:kneemo Here's a two-year postdoc position you might be interested in: Postdoctoral Position in Category Theory Deadline is September 30, 2009 5. Re: Perpetual Summer by:chimpanzee September 11, 2009 September 12, 2009

Surely you must have friends (Industry & Academia), that can help you get a position. Networking is a well known tactic, in getting a job. That academic jobs site, come on. An employer gets sent hundreds (or more) applicants, the chance of getting hired is like winning the lottery: near-zero. My former high school classmate (PhD in Computer Science & Business) is now CEO of Sovello, German company that mfgs solar cells. He is from Switzerland, likes the mountains (skiing & mountain biking), & is into Classical Music. This matches nicely with your mountaineering/skiing, Opera interest. You said you were "working on applications" a while back. So, if you can figure out how Category Theory can be applied to PV (photovoltaic) silicon fabrication, he just may pick you up. Your last gig @Oxford (Computing Lab) makes it all the more relevant. Alternative Energy is HOT, especially in Germany (all sorts of financial incentives to get into PV). The oncoming EV (electric vehicle) revolution is demanding an electrical grid infrastructure. No doubt, PV will be a part of it. I.e., there's money in this which will be pumped into R&D "If you build a better mouse-trap, PEOPLE WILL BEAT A PATH TO YOUR DOOR" If you can make Category Theory work for PV (or Alternative Energy in general), this might open up bigger possibilities in the future. Fulfill your dream of building a Category Theory Inst, say on a premium NZ location (top of a hill, with commanding view of mountains & lake). 6. Re: Perpetual Summer by:Kea September 11, 2009

AF doesn't have the problem with trolls and idiots that well known feminist science blogs


have, but I just love this handy link! LOL. 7. Re: Perpetual Summer by:Javier September 16, 2009

Betwen working in a postdoc position and working as a waitres there are many places betwen. I gues that you could try to work teaching physics/maths in some universitary academy. You can win the same money working a few hours there that in a full time work as wiatress (possibly you could win lot more money working a lot less hours). And it will leave you a very reasonable amount of time to study whatever you want. Well, if you are really considering a work as waitres and you are not simply joking lubos in some way, of course ;-). 8. Re: Perpetual Summer by:nige September 12, 2009

"Candidates in category theory with an interest and ability to work in higher dimensional category theory and homotopy theory (and localization of categories) or in applications of category theory to geometry will be given preference." Do they mean "higher dimensions" as in physical spaces of string theory, or can the "dimensions" just be totally abstract? I.e., are recruiting category theorists to try to categorize the stringy landscape?

M Theory Lesson 294
Friday, September 11, 2009
Recall that the associahedra polytopes are labeled by chorded polygons. For example, the vertices and edges of the pentagon (the associahedron in the plane) are given as a five sided polygon with either one or two chords. In category theory, the edges of the associahedron may be directed. This can be achieved by choosing a root edge on the index polygon, which is the same as selecting a root for the dual tree. A natural source (target) for the full polytope is then given by the fully left (right) branching tree. But for many purposes, where the cyclic symmetry is relevant, we need not select a root edge. Posted by Kea at 12:22AM (+12:00)

A Wedding
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Today is Let's Embarrass Jamie Vicary Day! On this stunning summer's day, the young Jamie gets married to the lovely Laura! Congratulations to them both. Posted by Kea at 11:55PM (+12:00)

1. Re: A Wedding

by:chimpanzeeaLubosianfromt My Sweet & Tender Beast ( )

September 13, 2009

And, the pictures/videos can be found at.. Did you finally get a camera, so your Oxford adventure is at least documented? And, did you get a new dress for this wedding (how typically female, btw)? Did you ever get to London for some opera? 2. Re: A Wedding by:Kea September 13, 2009

Chimp, I don't need photos to remember Oxford ... but I did find a reasonably nice dress to wear.

End/Start of Summer
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The last weeks in Oxford are looking eventful, with the new term now approaching. Who knows? Perhaps I will make the opera in London before I leave. Meanwhile, plans are being made for the beautiful southern summer in the mountains. Posted by Kea at 08:36PM (+12:00)

1. Re: End/Start of Summer by:Kea September 15, 2009

It's a shame that I'll miss giving a string theory seminar this term. I was looking forward to that. 2. Re: End/Start of Summer by:LRiofrio September 16, 2009

I do wish that you could stay working in maths or physics. British regulators have ruined their own country. If you are ever in the US and want a place tos stay... 3. Re: End/Start of Summer by:nige September 16, 2009

"It's a shame that I'll miss giving a string theory seminar this term. I was looking forward to that." I always thought you'd go into string theory.




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