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

There in Time 33
Excuses 34
Sir Edmund Hillary 34
M Theory Lesson 144 34
Threefold Way 34
Final Touch 35
M Theory Lesson 145 35
M Theory Lesson 146 35
My, How Time Flies 36
How Time Flies II 37
M Theory Lesson 147 37
Monthly Misquote 38
M Theory Lesson 148 38
M Theory Lesson 149 38
Associativity 39
Brave New World 39
M Theory Lesson 150 40
Pretty Preons 41
Categorical Aside 41
Swagger Again 42
Summer Holiday 42
M Theory Lesson 151 42
M Theory Lesson 152 43
M Theory Lesson 153 44

M Theory Lesson 154 45
Mutual Unbias 45
Mutual Unbias II 46
M Theory Lesson 155 46
M Theory Lesson 156 47
M Theory Lesson 157 47
Ternary Geometry 48
Mutual Unbias III 49
M Theory Lesson 158 49
Ternary Geometry II 50
Eleven 50
Mutual Unbias IV 51
Mutual Unbias V 51
Mutual Unbias VI 51
M Theory Lesson 159 52
M Theory Lesson 160 52
Housekeeping 53
Against Symmetry 53
M Theory Revision 53
M Theory Lesson 161 54
Against Symmetry II 54
M Theory Lesson 162 55
M Theory Lesson 163 55
Damned Numbers 55

Day At Work 56
History Meme 56
M Theory Lesson 164 57
Time Machine 58
Quote of the Week 59
Autumn Days 59
M Theory Lesson 165 59
M Theory Lesson 166 59
Resolving Power 60
M Theory Lesson 167 60
M Theory Lesson 168 61
The Dark Side 61
M Theory Lesson 169 62
M Theory Lesson 170 62
M Theory Lesson 171 63
Riemann Rainbow 63
The Dirac Code 63
The Dirac Code II 64
The Dirac Code III 64
The Dirac Code IV 65
Quote of Last Century 66
GRB 080319B 66
M Theory Lesson 172 66
M Theory Lesson 173 67

Extra, Extra 67
M Theory Lesson 174 68
Riemann Rainbow II 68
Cartoon Fairy 69
M Theory Lesson 175 69
Greetings 70
M Theory Lesson 176 70
M Theory Lesson 177 70
Knot Monkey 71
Achilles and the Tortoise 71
The Dark Side III 72
Purple 72
Extra, Extra II 72
Ternary Geometry III 73
Return of the Jedi 73
Light Nostalgia 73
M Theory Lesson 178 74
Job Hunting 75
M Theory Lesson 179 75
M Theory Lesson 180 76
M Theory Lesson 181 76
M Theory Lesson 182 77
M Theory Lesson 183 77
M Theory Lesson 184 78

't Hooft Talk 78
Differential, Dude 78
M Theory Lesson 185 79
M Theory Lesson 186 80
Today's Mottle Quote 81
M Theory Lesson 187 81
M Theory Lesson 188 81
Around About 82
M Theory Lesson 189 82
Oh Mini Me 82
Cool Cats 82
M Theory Lesson 190 82
M Theory Lesson 191 83
Oh Mini Me II 83
Hidey Holes 84
M Theory Lesson 192 84
Mass Update 85
Neutrino08 85
Neutrino08 - Smirnov 85
Neutrino08 Day 1a 86
Neutrino08 Day 1b 87
Neutrino08 Day 1c 87
Neutrino08 Day 2a 88
Neutrino08 Day 2b 89

Neutrino08 Day 2c 89
Neutrino08 Day 2d 90
Neutrino08 MiniBooNE 91
Neutrino08 Day 3a 92
Neutrino08 Day 3b 92
Neutrino08 Day 3c 93
Neutrino08 Day 3d 94
Neutrino08 continued 94
Neutrino08 Day 5a 95
Neutrino08 Day 5b 95
Neutrino08 Day 5c 96
Neutrino08 Day 5d 96
Neutrino08 Day 5e 97
Neutrino08 Day 5f 97
Neutrino08 Day 5g 98
Neutrino08 - GSI 98
Interlude 99
Neutrino08 Day 6a 99
Neutrino08 Day 6b 100
Neutrino08 Day 6c 100
Neutrino08 - Sarkar 101
M Theory Lesson 193 101
F Theory 101
POW Riemann 102

POW Riemann II 103
M Theory Lesson 194 103
Neutrinos Again 104
Neutrinos Again II 104
Neutrinos Again III 105
M Theory Lesson 195 106
M Theory Lesson 196 106
M Theory Lesson 197 107
Neutrinos Again IV 107
Neutrinos Again V 107
Lieven's Trinities 108
M Theory Lesson 198 108
Idempotent Nilpotent 109
Idempotent Nilpotent II 109
M Theory Lesson 199 109
M Theory Lesson 200 110
Foggy Friday 110
M Theory Lesson 201 110
The Institute 111
Phoenix 112
Neutrinos Again VI 112
M Theory Lesson 202 112
M Theory Lesson 203 113
Carbon Beauty 113

Riemann Hypothesis 114
Carbon Beauty II 114
Riemann Again 115
Carbon Beauty III 115
Alia Sabur 116
Winter Weekend 116
Carbon Beauty IV 117
Mermin Magic 117
FQXi Proposal 117
M Theory Lesson 204 118
M Theory Lesson 205 118
M Theory Lesson 206 119
Varying Alpha 119
Lieven's Trinities II 120
M Theory Lesson 207 120
M Theory Lesson 208 121
Ninja Prof 122
M Theory Lesson 209 122
FQXi II 122
The Naked Emperor 123
M Theory Lesson 210 123
M Theory Lesson 211 124
M Theory Lesson 212 124
Moving Up 125

Moving Up II 125
LHC Rap 125
Origin of Species 125
Moving Up III 126
Origin of Species II 126
Moving Up IV 126
M Theory Lesson 213 127
FQXi III 128
Quote of the Month 128
More Moonshine 128
Cool Cats 129
Cool Cats II 129
M Theory Lesson 214 130
M Theory Lesson 215 130
M Theory Lesson 216 131
M Theory Lesson 217 131
Another Kea 132
Neutrinos Again VII 133
Neutrinos Again VIII 133
M Theory Lesson 218 134
Fardwit of the Week 134
Strings 2008 134
From Gamma 135
M Theory Lesson 219 135

Mass Gap Revisited 136
M Theory Lesson 220 136
Problem of Time I 137
M Theory Lesson 221 137
Banks on Holography 138
Problem of Time II 139
Time at the LHC 139
M Theory Lesson 222 140
Operads in 2d 140
Working 141
M Theory Lesson 223 141
Holiday 142
M Theory Lesson 224 142
M Theory Lesson 225 142
M Theory Lesson 226 143
The Dark Side IV 144
M Theory Lesson 227 144
M Theory Lesson 228 145
M Theory Lesson 229 145
M Theory Lesson 230 145
M Theory Lesson 231 146
Machian Gravity 146
Dialogue of the Week 147
Congratulations 147

CKM Rules 147
CKM Rules II 148
An Evening Out 148
Beautiful Sol 148
CKM Rules III 149
M Theory Lesson 232 149
M Theory Lesson 233 150
M Theory Lesson 234 151
Quick Update 151
Quick Update II 151
CKM Rules IV 151
The MUB Tower 152
Hilarious 152
Quick Update III 153
M Theory Lesson 235 153
Go Tumbling Down 153
Faster Than Light 153
Talk of the Week 154
M Theory Lesson 236 154
Moving North I 155
Picoseconds I 155
Renormalisation 156
Picoseconds II 156
Talk of the Week II 156

A Day at Work 157
Moving North II 157
Quote of the Month 157
M Theory Lesson 237 157
Moving North III 158
M Theory Lesson 238 158
M Theory Lesson 239 158
Moving North IV 159
Spring is Here 159
M Theory Lesson 240 160
M Theory Lesson 241 160
M Theory Lesson 242 161
Time Essayed 162
M Theory Lesson 243 162
M Theory Lesson 244 163
Darkness Rising 163
Gravity Probe Update 164
M Theory Lesson 245 164
M Theory Lesson 246 164
Moving North V 165
Standing Still 165
Still Standing Still 165
Happy New Year 165
M Theory Lesson 247 166

Oh, Pythagoras 166
M Theory Lesson 248 166
Riemann Products 167
Riemann Products II 167
Riemann Products III 168
M Theory Lesson 249 168
M Theory Lesson 250 168
M Theory Lesson 251 169
M Theory Lesson 252 169
M Theory Lesson 253 170
Keaaawww 170
CKM Rules V 171
M Theory Lesson 254 171
Still Down South 172
M Theory Lesson 255 172
M Theory Lesson 256 172
Quote of the Week 172
Still Down South II 173
Matrix Power I 173
M Theory Lesson 257 173
M Theory Lesson 258 174
Still Down South III 174
Abtruse Goose 174
M Theory Lesson 259 175

M Theory Lesson 260 175
Quote of the Month 176
Pioneering C Change 176
CKM Recipe 176
CKM Recipe II 177
M Theory Lesson 261 177
M Theory Lesson 262 177
M Theory Lesson 263 178
Still Down South IV 178
Still Down South V 178
Good, Bad and Ugly 179
M Theory Lesson 264 179
Operadification 180
Operadification II 180
Still Down South VI 181
Operadification III 181
S-matrix Reloaded 182
From Oxford 182
Seminar Heaven 182
Mersenne MUBs 183
Keeping Up 183
Oxford Life 183
Seminar Heaven II 184
Oxford Life II 184

M Theory Lesson 265 184
Oxford Life III 185
Seminar Heaven III 185
M Theory Lesson 266 185
Oxford Life IV 186
The Even Prime 186
M Theory Lesson 267 187
A Stringy Universe 187
M Theory Lesson 268 188
A Stringy Universe II 188
Conference Heaven 189
M Theory Lesson 269 189
Interlude 189
Oxford Life X 189
QPL 09 190
A Debate 190
Cosmology 101 190
QPL 09 II 191
Oxford Life XI 192
A Stringy Yarn 192
M Theory Lesson 270 192
Stringy Appeal 193
Oxford Life XII 193
M Theory Lesson 271 194

Breakfast Ideas 194
M Theory Lesson 272 195
Quote of the Week 196
Problem with the Matrix 196
M Theory Lesson 273 198
Visa Update 200
M Theory Lesson 274 200
Quick Update 202
Congratulations Tommaso 205
M Theory Lesson 275 205
M Theory Lesson 276 206
GRB 090423 208
Taxicabs 209
Twistor Seminar 211
Twistor Seminar II 215
M Theory Lesson 277 215
Happy Journey 216
Force of Gravity 216
M Theory Lesson 278 218
Angels and Demons 219
More Seminars 219
Everett Today 220
M Theory Lesson 279 222
Fairy Update 222

Perimeter 223
Quantum Cosmology 224
CQC at PI 225
October 227
Rejecta Mathematica 231
CQC Monday 232
Back in Oxford 233
Cool Cats 233
A Pi Groupoid 234
A Question 234
Twistor Time 238
A New Home 239
Jordan M Theory 240
Quote of the Week 241
Emerging Holography 242
Ambitwistor Holography 244
The String Wars 245
M Theory Lesson 280 247
M Theory Lesson 281 247
A Preprint 248
Mixing History 251
Magic Matrix 251
M Theory Lesson 282 252
M Theory Lesson 283 253

Summertime 253
M Theory Lesson 284 254
M Theory Lesson 285 254
At Your Leisure 255
At Your Leisure II 256
An Idea 261
Is Everyone Dead Yet? 265
A New Archive 267
Strings 09 271
Midsummer Fairies 272
M Theory Lesson 286 274
Quote of the Month 275
Fairy Interlude 275
Volume One is Out 276
Cats in London 277
News from home 277
M Theory Lesson 287 278
M Theory Lesson 288 279
Fairy Update 280
Apollo 11 281
Gina Says II 282
Oxford Continued 282
Biological Theory 283
Multi Muon Fairies 284

M Theory Lesson 289 285
M Theory Lesson 290 286
Women in Science 286
The Imperial Force 287
Imperial CLAP 289
M Theory Lesson 291 289
The Farce 290
M Theory Lesson 292 296
Happy CLAP 296
Fun at Fermilab 297
A Sunny Day 297
Changing Light Speed 298
viXra Rules 302
Disclaimer 304
Go Goose 305
Saturn Equinox 305
Conference Video 306
Fermi on GRB 090510 306
Deligne at Cambridge 310
Quote of the Week 311
Blog Highlights 312
Gravity Goose 313
Endangered 314

Ultra Deep 314
Big Jupiters 315
The Latest Battle 315
Computing Masses 316
The Fermi Debate 320
Extra LIGO 322
Twistor Buzz 323
Quote of the Week 324
Mighty Jupiter 325
Planets Galore 326
T Duality 328
New Worlds 329
M Theory Lesson 293 329
Amused 331
Varying Mass 333
Mass Gap Revisited 335
viXra Reading 336
Quote of the Summer 337
Perpetual Summer 338
M Theory Lesson 294 340
A Wedding 340
End/Start of Summer 341

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 chocol-
ate. Seriously folks, what are you doing
throwing chocolate into the garbage can in
a National Park? The kea is now officially
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 asso-
ciahedra 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 pa-
per 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 Her-
mitian operators associated to matrix models. With CFT/AdS in the air now, it is not sur-
prising 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) ap-
pears 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 ex-
ample 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 express-
ing 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


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

$\frac{\zeta (0.5 - s)}{\zeta (0.5 + s)} \frac{\zeta (s)}{\zeta (1-s)}$

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, in-
cluding 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 be-
lieve 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 an-
other 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 Lec-
ture 17 see James Dolan explain how degroupoidification is related to logos theory! If a
30 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 recur-
sion 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 float-
ing 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 men-
tion 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 ex-
ample 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 Grav-
ity, 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 com-
pute 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 ori-
ented polygons and we already know that $n$-gons are associated with $n-3$ dimen-
sional 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 homo-
logy. 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 exponenti-
ation 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 think-
ing 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


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: per-
haps we haven't met alien dust because it isn't Time. In the evolution of emergent cos-
mic time, as viewed by Earthlike observers, the cosmos must reach a threshhold of com-
plexity 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 sur-
vive, 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 work-
ing 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 exten-
sion of the Riemann sphere of lesson 62 to a hexagon on the real axis. The second im-
age 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 asso-
ciahedron. 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 ap-
propriate 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 di-
mensional 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 op-
posed to a set of four oranges? Still, a composite number of oranges can be arranged in-
to 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 geo-
metrically one dimensional, somehow like space filling curves.

Maybe these sets are equipped with further structure. For instance, they might be the fi-
nite 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 (includ-
ing 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 arbitrari-
ness 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 provid-
ing 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 altern-
ative 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 con-
text 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 under-
stand 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, noth-
ing else than the principle of quantum theory over again... We seem to arrive at the ri-
diculous 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 ob-
serve 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 tri-
angle by allowing 2-arrows, or even higher dimensional structure.

Under this equivalence, the usual Heisenberg rule $[X,P] = i \hbar$ is a kind of equival-
ence 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 spe-
cified 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 cyc-
lohedron 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 Deva-
doss'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 in-
to 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 yester-
day, because three edges are labelled by single chord hexagons (the squares of the as-
sociahedron 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 associ-
ated 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 respect-
ively 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 associ-
ated 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 dis-
tributive, 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}

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}

in $(AB)C$ by non-associativity of addition. Commutativity of addition would restore asso-

ciativity 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 drown-
ing 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 respect-
fully, but in dismay. For instance, much funding for such sites clearly comes from advert-
ising 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 pic-
tures of women wearing underwear that doesn't fit properly. I went into one of those pop-
ular 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) di-
mensional 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 circu-
lants, this time associated with $E(7)$, namely the matrix


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 addi-
tion 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 import-
ant 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 dis-
cusses 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 cat-
egory) 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 non-
sensical 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 in-
finitesimal $\omega^{-1} = \varepsilon$. Perhaps we got $\zeta$ and $\Gamma$ mixed

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 altern-
ate 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 Is-
land 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 fold-
ing 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 Eisen-
stein series, $E_{8}$, corresponds to the theta series for $E8 \oplus E8$. The investiga-
tion of trialities for mass generation always seems to come back to this very fundamental
Posted by Kea at 10:32AM (+13:00)

M Theory Lesson 152

Saturday, February 02, 2008
In a 2002 paper, in referring to another pa-
per which never appeared, Batanin men-
tions a topological 2-operad containing the
sequence of permutohedra, which are la-
belled by extended 1-ordinal trees as
shown. The sequence begins with the inter-
val, 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 re-
placed 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 (la-
belled by a single level 4 leaved tree) un-
der 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, where-
as 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 ex-
ample 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 2-
ordinal 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 gen-
eration 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 di-
vided into three pentagons. This triple is associated
to the three level quantum number, called mass. Re-
call 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 ree-
valuate 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 dimen-
sions 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 funda-
mental 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 mod-
ular 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 $\mathbb{R}^{3}$. Embed-
ding 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 $\math-
bb{R}^{3}$ turned up in the description of the moduli for the 6-valent ribbon vertex of Mu-
lase et al.

Aside: The critical line of the Riemann zeta function, which is self dual under the function-
al 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 pa-
pers which study canonical bases for Hilbert spaces of dimension $p^{n}$ using, in partic-
ular, 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 heart-
land of Category Theory. This makes it not unlikely that Durt et al are thinking very ab-
stractly when they mention in passing their interest in foundational axioms for quantum
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 associ-
ated to MUBs in dimension $d$.

An example of a finite projective plane with 3 points on a line is the Fano plane, the non-
zero 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 direc-

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 tri-
angle clearly fills this role: for any 2 points there is only one line running through them,
46 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 per-
fectly 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 para-
meter $s$ 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 hap-
pening, so here is a diagram of a tensorator,
which weakens a basic commutative square
for maps involving tensor products. Ob-
serve that both sides of the square repres-
ent $f \otimes g$. These squares appear in
the definition of a monoidal 2-category,
where $\phi$ is essentially unique for any
given $f: A \rightarrow A'$ and $g: B \rightar-
row B'$. 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 ex-
cellent 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 fea-
ture of the axioms. For 2 dimensional
marked surfaces, swap points for face ele-
ments 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 project-

ive duality look like? Even without fixing
upon axioms, it is clear that the ordered
nature of dimension cannot so easily ac-
commodate a ternary transformation
between points and lines and surface ele-
ments. 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 high-
er 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 transform-
ations? 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 di-
mension. 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 charac-
teristics 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
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 groupoid-
ified creation and annhilation operators.
First take the span shown on the left. Ap-
plying the zero homology functor will turn
the arrow +1 into the (groupoidified) cre-
ation 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 con-
necting it to the finite set with $n + 1$ elements. Thus the functor +1 acts simply as a cat-
egorified 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
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 cap-
tured 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 trans-
form, an example of which are the neutral and charged lepton mass matrices. Under trial-
ity, 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 lar-
ger than the 5 or 7 that we are used to, but also interesting. One can make a planar geo-
metry 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 connec-
tion with more well known combinatorial problems. For example, the $3 \times 3$ circu-
lant 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 $(d-1)$ di-
mensional planes in the quantum state space (or rather, a density operator space) of di-
mension $d^2 - 1$, 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 beau-
tiful 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 func-
tion given by the moonshine correspondence, with the elliptic modular function j(z) cor-
responding 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

$j = q^{-1} +744 + 196884 q + 21493760 q^{2} + \cdots$

is roughly associated to the 1-ordinal indexing of an operad, since the coefficients are di-
mensions of the Monster modules $V_{i}$, which form an operad algebra. When inter-
preted as a lattice theta function, this indexing corresponds to the lengths of lattice vec-

This correspondence between distance from the origin and dimension crops up in many
unexpected quarters. For instance, in the method of geometric quantisation, the repres-
entations of $SU(2)$ are given by discretely spaced spheres in the dual of the Lie al-
gebra for the group, basically $\mathbb{R}^{3}$. In fact, root lattices are just like this, liv-
ing 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
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. Mean-
while, Pioneer One writes about the ineffectiveness of peer review, and there is a won-
derful mathematics carnival at JD2718, where AF is honoured to be included in the cat-
egory 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 rota-
tions 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, la-
belled 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 1-
circulant and a 2-circulant label three vertices each. We could teach this in kindergarten.
Posted by Kea at 07:44PM (+13:00) 53
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 per-
mutohedron via the Loday maps. That is,
the permutohedron ( and the associahed-
ron) 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 in-
dependently lurking in the dark corners of a Sydney library in the early '90s, trying to fig-
ure out how quantum groups might allow us to throw out classical spaces in our construc-
tion of operators. I gave some seminars on applications of quantum groups to high tem-
perature 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 im-
posed 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 re-
quired 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 remark-
able 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 dia-
gram. 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 circum-
navigation. Now, I've never actually received a telegram before. It reminded me of my fa-
vourite childhood Agatha Christie stories, of adventurous women wandering in the Afric-
an 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 har-
rassed, 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. Be-
sides, I don't actually know enough people to pester. So then, seven weird and/or ran-
dom things about an historical figure...

The idea of a favourite never really makes sense to me. How does one compare the mer-
its 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 com-
manded 5 ships
2. thinking that the sunken ship was Greek, Xerxes remarked: my men fought like wo-
men 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 situ-
ation 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 hus-
band) 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 eigenval-
ues 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 cir-
culant matrix


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 $\lambda = \pm 1$ con-
sidered a double eigenvalue. As a factor of the characteristic polynomial, these 2 roots

$x^{2} - x(\lambda + \frac{1}{\lambda}) + 1$

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 no-
tice 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 char-
acteristic shockingly hand-wavy manner. To quote:
[this lends] additional support to the proposal that the Beilinson conjectures on the val-
ues of L-functions of motives can be interpreted as dealing with the cosmological con-
stant 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 operat-
ors. In other words, the zeta function is defined not on numbers, but as a pseudodifferen-
tial operator. The Hypothesis says that the zeta field is given by a sum of such Klein-Gor-
don 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 geo-
metry type squares were rotated by 45 degrees from the squares used to specify the usu-
al 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. Per-
haps 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 oppos-
ite. 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 Batan-
in's picture of the three dimensional per-
mutoassociahedron, so here it is! Observe
how it resolves each vertex of a permuto-
hedron (labelled by an ordering of four let-
ters) 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-commutat-
ive 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 art-
icle 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 mod-
ular 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 algebra-
ically 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 per-
mits 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 dia-
gram of Hamilton's quaternions, the whirli-
gigs. Recall that this plane over the three
element finite field $\mathbb{F}_3$ arises
in the $d = 3^{n}$ MUB problem, associ-
ated 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

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 associ-
ahedra to the permutoassociahedra), the
spherical polytopes acquire more and more
vertices and faces. That is, they begin to
better approximate a sphere. In all dimen-
sions, both the cube and the permutohed-
ron tile $\mathbb{R}^{N}$. The translation
lattice for the 3 dimensional permutohed-
ron 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 ref-
erence 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 twis-
tor algebra", in reference to 4 complex variables arising from a combination of his qua-
ternions ($1$, $I$, $J$, $K$) and multivariate vectors ($i$, $u$, $v$, $w$). This results in
64 possible products of 8 units, which may be generated, for example, by the combina-

$iK$, $uI$, $vI$, $wI$, $1J$

namely 5 in number, as the Dirac gamma matrices. Rowlands then writes the Dirac equa-
tion 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 en-
ergy. 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 spe-
cial relativity. It is OK to put $c = 1$ here, because we work in the one time approxima-

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 ana-
logous 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
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 cohomo-
logy? After all, our particle states are to be represented by knotty diagrams with interpret-
ations 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 op-

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 repro-
duce 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, ac-
counting 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 compon-
ent 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

It would be interesting to combine this octo-

nionic 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 astro-
nomy 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 un-
derstand. 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 idem-
potent. 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 cross-
ing 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, second-
rank 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 num-
ber "2". This comment looks extremely vague but there are many reasons to see this
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 bound-
ary 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 as-
sociates a parity cube to all possible
smoothings of the three crossings. So once
again we start with the Stasheff associ-
ahedron and obtain the cube. Moreover,
this cube gives us an invariant for the tre-
foil 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 poly-
topes 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 sys-
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 sat-
isfies 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,

Recall that it is the functional relation on $\theta (0, \tau)$ which gives the functional rela-
tion 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'
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 ver-
tices represent the 7 regions of the Euc-
lidean 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 ver-
tices 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. Ob-
serve 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 interest-
ing in the context of M theoretic quantum information, and it would take some (kind of) in-
finite 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) experi-

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 mathematic-
al 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 phys-
ically 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

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 re-
volution, 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 ex-
tending 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 characterist-
ics, which were seen as cubed root of unity
analogues to the alternating signs that oc-
cur 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 mon-
ads, 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 mon-
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 experi-
ment: I'll be back. (Thanks to Backreaction
for the picture) Posted by Kea at 05:47PM

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 be-
cause 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 dec-
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 di-
mensions one draws paths on a cubic lattice. The paths on a single cube form the ver-
tices of one of our favourite hexagons. A simple braid on three strands is formed by com-
posing 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 fer-
mionic 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 over-
alls are provided! Actually, I have been spending a bit of time on a more exciting job ap-
plication, 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 for-
getting the crossing information, a braid in $B_{n}$ be-
comes a permutation on $n$ letters. So with bracketed
endpoint sets, it marks a vertex of the $(n - 1)$ dimen-
sional permutoassociahedron for $S_{n}$.

As well as the category of bracketed permutations, Bar-

Natan considers the category of bracketed braids with lin-
earised 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 nu-
merical 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 sat-
isfies, in particular, the 4T relation. On $3$
strands, the algebra is given by combina-
tions 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, giv-
ing 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 in-
ternal 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 composi-
tion 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 in-
tersection. The Vassiliev invariants dis-
cussed by Bar-Natan use the idea that
smooth paths of deformations of embedded knots in three dimensional space should nat-
76 urally 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 associ-
ahedra. Recall that the vertices of an asso-
ciahedron could be labelled by chorded
polygons, such as the hexagon for the poly-
tope 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 ex-
tension is interesting in the context of op-
erads. Does this octagon represent an octahedron in the same way that a hexagon rep-
resents 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 ver-
tical (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 re-
cursive 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 associ-
ahedron. 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 repres-
ents 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 ap-
pear 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 any-
thing 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 com-
binatorics 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
78 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 oper-
ator $D$ that sends a $d$ dimensional polytope to a $(d - 1)$ dimensional one. For ex-
ample, 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 associ-

ahedra. 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 invari-
ants 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 $\hbar$ hier-
archy, which insists that $q$ take on a fixed value determined by the categorical dimen-
sion. 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 primit-
ive 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 cross-
ing number.

A grading by strand number, however, is common in the connection between MZV algeb-
ras, 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 ba-
sic 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 en-
sures 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 renor-
malization 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 con-
sider 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


which is built from the modules $0$, $(1,1,1)$, their duals, and the $n = 3$ 2-circulant


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 clas-
sic paper [1], which in turn was used by Broadhurst and Kreimer [2] to analyse the al-
gebra of MZVs as it appears in QFT, although the latter paper uses chorded braid dia-
grams 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 cor-
responds 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) 81
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 di-
mension 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
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 de-
pendence for, in particular, the mass of a
sterile neutrino. Posted by Kea at 06:46PM

Cool Cats
Sunday, May 18, 2008
It's already here! Videos and slides from the second Categories, Logic and Physics meet-
ing 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 intersec-
tions. 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 inter-
section. 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 dimension-
al space. Observe that by alternating signs
we lose the information that there are 15 (= 4 + 6 + 4 + 1) pieces of Venn diagram. An in-
variant 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 ex-

ample. 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) compu-
tation 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). Refer-
ring 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 dia-
grams 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 dual-
84 ity between 2d simplices and 3d ones. But
how can this be? As a Poincare duality one exchanges 2d and 3d objects only in dimen-
sion 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 tet-
rahedron 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 de-
scribe 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 per-
formance. 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

Tommorrow morning kicks off with a lecture on Ernest Rutherford, followed by a talk en-
titled 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 in-
cluding 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, neut-
rino 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 bot-
tom 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 prom-
ising 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

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 discrep-
ancy? One would like to use CNO* neutrinos to measure the metallicity of the core of the

The next speaker was H. Robertson from the SNO collaboration. This is a 12 meter dia-
meter, 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 radiochemic-
al experiments, including an historical interlude on Ray Davis, who was the first to ob-
serve 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 de-
tector by Decowski. The antineutrinos come from 55 reactor cores throughout Japan, giv-
ing KamLAND an effective baseline of 180km. Current best values for the standard para-
meters, 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 presen-
ted a beautiful introduction to the history of collaboration between physicists and geolo-
gists, from Lord Kelvin and Wiechert to the new potential of neutrino physics for geo-
chemistry. 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 react-
or 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 techno-
logy. 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, planet-
ary tomography, light WIMP searches and other dark matter phenomenology. DAMA res-
ults were also mentioned in a noncommittal yet humorous fashion.
Potzel discussed the antineutrino Mossbauer effect, which is a recoilless resonant emis-
sion from decays such as 3H $\rightarrow$ 3He. To achieve minimum recoil one con-
siders situating sources and targets in metallic lattices. For the 3H/3He system it ap-
pears 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 contrac-
tion 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 col-
lection should begin in the next year and after 3 years they hope for at least 0.03 sensitiv-
ity 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}

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 Cheren-
kov 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 in-
jector, 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 ob-
serve $\nu_{\tau}$ events. Muon neutrino flux is optimized with L/E = 43 km/GeV. Rosa
described the detector modules, constructed of scintillator strip target modules embed-
ded 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 ex-
pected 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-genera-
tion 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 preci-
sion 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 con-
ventional superbeams and megaton water detectors should work and (ii) small
$\theta_{13}$, which would require new beam technologies, although liquid argon techno-
logy 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 wa-
ter Cherenkov detectors). For varying L, a test of CP violation would best use a low en-
ergy, 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 $\tex-
trm{sin}^{2} 2 \theta$ 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 opera-
tional 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 re-
quires 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 scintil-
lator in homemade highly reflective PVC cells. He stressed the importance of comple-
mentarity 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 re-
ports in the US, Japan and Europe. In the 100 to 1000 kt range, one needs precise track-
ing 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). Deep-
TITAND (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 col-
leagues 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. Gomez-
Cadenas 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

Maltoni chose to spend 1/3 of his talk on the LSND problem and the apparent require-
ment 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 disap-
pearance 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 frac-
tion 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 comparis-
ons 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 $\nu$ in-
duced $\pi^{0}$ 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 ex-
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 ex-
cess 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

*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 cur-
rently looking at a factor of 2 reduction in the 16% muon neutrino normalisation uncer-
tainty from $\pi^{+}$ production.

S. Zeller then discussed low E neutrino cross sections at a range of experiments, includ-
ing 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). Stat-
istics 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 cur-
rent $\pi^{+}$ 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 simul-
taneous 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 ex-
cess 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 ques-
tion 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 Major-
ana? 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 meas-
urement 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 ex-
ample 76Ge, whose element lies some-
where between 2 and 6, a rather large un-
certainty. He then discussed dipole mo-
ments and the present Borexino bound of
$5.4 \times 10^{11} \mu_{B}$.

G. Drexlin spoke about direct mass meas-

urements at KATRIN and MARE. In cosmo-
logy, KATRIN could shift the allowed re-
gion 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 hier-
archy 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 suc-
cessful, 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 op-
eration. Xenon is ideal for a large experiment, because it can be purified in real time, en-
richment 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 en-
ergies, time of flight and track curvature in a magnetic field. Phase II was a radon re-
duced 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 tar-
get 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 theor-
ist 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, occur-
ring 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, Min-
iCLEAN, WARP and ArDM) takes advantage of recent breakthroughs in electron extrac-
tion 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 experi-
ments 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 hypothes-

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 back-
grounds 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 re-
mainder 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 neut-
rino 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 trib-
imaximal. 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 experi-
mental 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 trans-
port methods have difficulty producing an explosion. But John Learned, the star com-
menter 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 dur-
ing the cooling phase. However, supernova 1987A released 1.7 foe visibly, which is con-
96 sistent 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 cur-
rent 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 statist-
ics. 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 distin-
guishing 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 ra-
tio 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 per-
haps 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, dis-
cussed 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 cata-
logue? 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 Gem-
inga. 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 monoiso-
topic 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

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 be-
fore 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 Christ-
church, and it is not surprising that UC has
a neutrino physics group, which is led by
Jenni Adams. The IceCube talk on Sat-
urday morning was given by S. Klein, who
began with a description of the detector:
4800 optical modules on 80 strings reach-
ing 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 con-
sidered 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 im-
proved. 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 ex-
pected. 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 al-
most 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 ob-
served, but satellite data still needs to be
checked carefully (solid state relays on
satellites can cause false events).

B. Dingus overviewed multiwavelength as-

tronomy 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 men-
tioned. 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 observat-
ory in Mexico that was turned off in April 2008. HAWC was discussed as a promising fu-
ture 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 res-
ults. 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 hypo-
thesis, which is consistent with the observed energy spectrum and predicts a smaller cos-
mogenic 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 supres-
sion of the neutrino-nucleus cross section. In summary, he says that neutrino observa-
tions are a unique laboratory for both Standard Model and Beyond Standard Model phys-
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 meet-
ing. In particular, they note that Manin's lectures on Zeta functions and Motives are avail-
able 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 func-
tion, 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) be-
cause the 12 dimensions are recovered very simply from the three Riemann moduli
spaces of twistor dimension (= 6 over $\mathbb{R}$) via marked points = spatial dimen-
sion 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 for-
mula 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 res-
ulting 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 fer-
mions 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 sys-
tem, whose complete partition function is the Riemann zeta function $\zeta (s)$ for $s =
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 Neut-
rino 08, so I thought I should take a look at it. They begin by describing the 3 dimension-
al 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

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
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 fol-
lows 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 ques-
tion 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 tribimaxim-
al 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 $3 \times 3$ circu-
lant mass matrix for the charged leptons. On using the same quantum Fourier diagonal-
isation 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 re-
placed by the identity! It is the interplay of $3 \times 3$ circulants and $2 \times 2$ circu-
lants 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 mix-
ing 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 util-
ises 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 com-
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 gen-
erators 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 trans-
formation 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 modu-
lar group is in Reduction Theory, nicely ex-
plained 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 do-
mains, and allows a finite intersection.
Then the region shown on the right, which
is three times bigger than the usual do-
main, 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 quo-
tient 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 icosa-
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, octahed-
ral 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 tetra-
hedron. 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 connec-
tions 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 ex-
plains the structure of stringy geometry, not the theory that confirms so called stringy
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 normalisa-
tion 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 $3 \times 3$ cir-
culant diagonalisation operator. One can have fun switching rows or columns. For ex-
ample, 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 ima-
gine 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 in-
clude the Platonic groups, the exceptional triple $(E_6, E_7, E_8)$ and the fields $\math-
bb{C}$, $\mathbb{H}$ 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 genera-
tions. Three kinds of being in ternary logic. The three squares on an associahedron in di-
mension 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 sur-
face 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 icosahed-
ral 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 dimen-
sions (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 ob-
ject 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 group-
like 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, con-
sider 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 op-
erator $S$, 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 ver-
tical 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 in-
stead $\sigma_{2}^{3}$ 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 pro-
cess 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. 109
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 liv-
ing 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 kilo-
metres 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 convention-
al notation for the permutations on three objects, given as usual by the $3 \times 3$ circu-
lant matrices with entries 0 and 1.

In logos theory multicategories are more important than ordinary categories, not least be-
cause 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 ar-
rows 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 rep-
resent 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 applica-
tions 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 Christch-
urch, 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 trib-
imaximal. Smirnov then discusses an implied $\nu_{\mu}$, $\nu_{\tau}$ permutation sym-
metry 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 per-
mutation 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
112 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 Bilson-
Thompson 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 ana-
lyses 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 dimension-
al circulant


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 cir-


One guesses that this must somehow be associated to the algebra $E11$, the mathem-
atics 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, re-
lies 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 com-
ments 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 reason-
able 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 de-
composition 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 or-
dinal. 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 in-
sult 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 Pontrja-
gin (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, particu-
larly the prime 5. Not only do we use the Hecke group $H5$, but the 11 buckyballs (trun-
cated 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 geomet-

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 permutohed-
ron 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 be-
cause 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 profess-
or? 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 some-
times 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 tern-
ary polytope with four pentagons and four squares. Is there a dual for the truncated ico-
sahedron? 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 quaternion-
ic $(\mathbb{R},\mathbb{C},\mathbb{H})$ triple, which appeared for instance in the rib-
bon 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 rib-
bon 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 mechan-
ics. 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 dis-
cussed 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 trunca-
tion 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 per-
mutation 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 recti-
fied 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 ( recom-
mended by Lieven) any such graph embedded in a closed, oriented surface can be rep-
resented 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

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
118 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-circu-
lant. 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 ob-
tained 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 ba-
sic parameters, yielding the result consist-
ent 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 be-
low, the black points are binned data. He
gave convincing arguments that their ana-
lysis 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 im-
plications 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 myster-
ies of the monster, which is associated to a
Riemann surface of genus

$ g =

That's an awful lot of gluing of heptagon

edges, which when halved define the ribbon
graph for the surface. Lieven's construction in-
volves our favourite modular group and its
group algebra, basically all possible combina-
tions 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 com-
binations, 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 al-
gebra 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 checker-
board underlying the graph. An interesting pa-
per 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 ver-
tices 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
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 com-
ponents. 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
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 ob-
ject $(X,Y)$. Then one can solve the eigenvalue equation for $\lambda = (231)$ to ob-
tain provided we do arithmetic mod 7. Try it yourself. The cyclic nature of the linear equa-
tions 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 geo-
graphical 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 pan-
el 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 pro-
posals 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.

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, en-
titled 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 Stand-
ard Model parameters may not be computable for anthropic reasons. Dear me. A land-
scape 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 uni-
verse, without even bothering to alter the status quo classical sea of galaxy super-
clusters. The more logical progression would be towards a physics which rethinks hu-
manity'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 $(231)$ corres-
pond 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 ex-
act Koide eigenvalues for a phase $\theta = \frac{2}{9} + \frac{2 \pi n}{3}$ in the compon-
ent $(1)$ 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 amp-
litude $c$ small, $\delta$ need not be small and one could take $\delta = \theta$. This in-
dicates 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-circu-
lant 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 dual-
ity 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 cyc-
lic shift operator for three 1-circulants that additively act like modular 3 arithmetic. But ob-
serve 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
Posted by Kea at 08:04PM (+12:00)

Moving Up
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Tomorrow is my last day at work in Christ-
church. In a few days I'll be sitting in the un-
crowded 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

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 it-
self. 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 illus-
trates 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 beau-
tiful 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 cat-
egory of V-species, where the monoidal product is species substitution.
This is far from being obnoxious, Todd! Struggling physicists appreciate perceptive com-
ments 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 multicat-
egories, 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 cat-
egory 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 relaxa-
tion 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 categor-
ical 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 observation-
al 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 identi-
fied, 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, natur-
ally conjuring up Leech lattices and the like. What thoughts would a categorical M theor-
ist have about this?

Firstly, 24 equals $3 \times 8$, which means we are really only looking at three dimen-
sions over the octonions, and three categorical dimensions is already fairly tricky when it
comes to 3-groups or groupoid structures. Higher dimensional manifolds are categoric-
ally 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,
128 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 tern-
ary 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 beha-
viour 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 al-
ways 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 the-
ory aims to do: utilise physically important structures such as MUBs to determine a re-
cursive 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
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

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 de-
scribe 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 cat-
egory 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 applica-
tions 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 ex-
ample 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 spe-
cified 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 ob-
jects in $V$.

The unit for $\otimes$ in the new category is $(I,K)$, where $I$ is the unit in $V$. In oth-
er 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. Ob-
serve 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 val-
ues 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


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


OK, so that was multiplication. Hitting the addition button instead, we get


Multiplying the $3 \times 3$ matrix $(231)$ by itself we get


Now try the Pauli swap matrix yourself. Then try a few more higher dimensional 1-circu-
lants, 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 ex-
pressed 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 Fouri-
er 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 133
$(XY)Z$, 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 asso-
ciating 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 in-
volves sixth roots of unity. So the Gaussian $\frac{1}{2}$ is responsible for the introduc-
tion of twice as many roots, which occurred for instance in the modular relation associ-
ated 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 con-
vince Lubos when he wants to believe something else. Debating seems as useless as ra-
tionally arguing with a female about emotionally sensible issues. (In case PC nazi-femin-
ism 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
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 cover-
age see Mottle, Jester and Woit.

Green's slides were the most surprising. I was just about to nod off after an initial inunda-
tion 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 in-
teger 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 ap-
pendix 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
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 factor-
ises 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 pa-
per 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 connec-
tion 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 astro-
labe, a small plate with fitted dials that uses
the position of the sun and stars to tell the
time. This required knowledge of trigono-
metry, which Hipparchus also used to cal-
culate 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 al-
Rahman al-Sufi listed many uses for it, from astrology to navigation and surveying. A typ-
ical 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, de-
clinations 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-or-
dinal 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-cir-
culant 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 causal-
ity (causal diamond) constraints arising from finite dimensional holographic pixel Hamilto-
nians on a lattice, which in turn are analysed in terms of noncommutative function algeb-
ras inspired by matrix models and M theory. Their main model considers a physical re-
gion 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 the-
ory 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 rich-
er mathematical discussion of the quantum operators (his Hamiltonians are only sup-
posed 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 divi-
sions 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 indefin-
itely. 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 in-
finitely divisible space.

Why should space appear infinitely divisible when time does not? Of course, for the pur-
poses of 19th century physics, the continuum is a useful construction, but now one ex-
pects 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 pos-
sibly 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 phe-
nomenological basis. Now let us not assume that this cosmic time is universal for all ob-
servers. Then its range of values is analogous to the quantized energy levels of a hydro-
gen 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 predic-
tions 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 ap-
proaches 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 sus-
pects. A high temperature ceramic superconductor is one possibility. Having eliminated
magnetic fields, one could look for Stern-Gerlach type pentuplet splittings of monoener-
getic 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 ar-
row 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

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 cat-
egory, such as a group, in which case one is permitted to draw in an arrow $1_{A}$ diag-
onally 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 dimen-
sional 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 custom-
ers 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 differ-
ent 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 fol-
lows 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 transforma-
tions 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 iso-
morphic to the set $F(t)$. Here $\eta$ sends a basic projection (of a square onto a 1-ar-
row) 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 complic-
ated 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: Ig-
noring 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 num-
bers, because the fourth root of unity is essential in defining the full set. However, ignor-
ing 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 de-
scribed by only three stranded diagrams.

Now let us view the Jacobi rule on a Lie algebra as a little computer program. The pro-
gram initialises a variable $\alpha$ to zero. It then takes an input $v = (X,Y,Z)$ and per-
forms 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. out-
put $v$ 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 di-
mension $p$ (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 progres-
sion, 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 inter-
ested 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 dimen-
sions 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 al-
gebras 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
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 re-
lated by a simple two dimensional map. If we divide all entries by $\omega$, this com-
ponent 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- 145
mensional MUBs lie on a Bloch sphere. Points in twistor space $\mathbb{CP}^{3}$ natur-
ally appear with MUBs in dimension four.

The general connection between the Fourier transform for finite fields and MUBs is ex-
plained 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 dimension-
al 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 Juli-
an 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 configur-
ations, in which Time is merely emergent. Carl will just love the long discussion about ac-
tion 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 Profess-
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 business-
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-circu-
lant and 2-circulant, using only 6 real numbers. The 1-circulant is the real part and the 2-
circulant 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 viola-
tion and the CKM values.

[1] C. Jarlskog, Phys. Rev. Lett. 55 (1985) 1039

Posted by Kea at 08:38AM (+13:00) 147
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

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 func-
tion put on by the friendly people at Air Sa-
faris. 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: Pos-
ted 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

$aI + ib \sigma_{Y} + ic \sigma_{X} + id \sigma_{Z}$

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 differ-
ence 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' noncommutat-
ive formulation of the standard model. We expect these parameters to arise from the in-
clusion 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 in-


but we will not bother multiplying out Lie brackets, because they are not particularly inter-
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 in-
teresting 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 re-
lations, 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 actu-
ally 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 ex-
plicit 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 neut-
rino mixing matrix, acts on the Pauli basis for $SU(2)$ to simply cycle the three basis op-
erators. 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 num-
bers. Only the numbers of the MUB Tower are q-numbers, which don't necessarily com-
mute. 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, ab-
solutely hilarious, snippets from Big Bang theory (forgetting the stereotypes for a mo-
ment). 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 $n \times n$ mat-
rix. 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 ver-
tices 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
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 fi-
nally 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 $2 \times 2$ circu-
lant 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 eigenval-
ues 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 simpli-

fied $\lambda$ 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 ex-
pression 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 cor-
relation 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 separ-
ated 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 re-
search 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 sec-
tion is a few orders of magnitude larger than what is predicted if the $h_{i}$ states be- 155
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 ei-
genvalue equation for a full six dimensional standard model operator, with the eigen-
value 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 stand-
ard 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 curi-
ous 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 Fouri-
er transformed to a block matrix which has exact entries

$\frac{2 \sqrt{2} - 1}{2 \sqrt{6}} \pm \frac{\sqrt{3}}{2 \sqrt{6}} i$ 157

$\frac{\sqrt{3} + \sqrt{6}}{2 \sqrt{6}} \pm \frac{1 - \sqrt{2}}{2 \sqrt{6}} i$
$\frac{1 + \sqrt{2}}{\sqrt{6}} + \frac{1 - \sqrt{2}}{\sqrt{6}} i$

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 num-
ber 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 Dutch-
man 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 polynomi-
als 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 iden-
tity 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 for-
ward to seeing some Dreaming Spires. I hear there is snow about at

Early in the new year, adventures will include this workshop in Lon-
don. 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 astro-
nomical 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 re-
cursion 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 polynomi-
al proceeds as follows. Now let $g$ be the number of vertices in $G$ and $d$ the num-
ber 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 expan-
sion 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 $T_{n} = T_{n - 1} + \over-
line{T_{n-1}}$. 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

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 2-
cell and $x$ is a single edge. The oddball $y$ term comes from the loop on a single ver-

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 dia-
gram 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
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 tribimaxim-
al 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 op-
erator, 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}

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 explan-
ation of dark matter evidence, based on work with various authors, including Neal Wein-

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 dis-
miss results from DAMA, PAMELA, ATIC, CDF (multi muons), the WMAP haze and In-

The model in question looks at a breaking of a dark sector $SU(2) \times U(1)$ sym-
metry, 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 pro-
cesses. 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 gen-
erating 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

$A_{n} (t) = (-1)^{n-1} t T(1-t,0)$

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

$a = \frac{x+y}{x^2 - 2y^2 + xy}$

164 $b = \frac{1 - ax}{2y}$
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 in-
formation 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 ali-
en 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 un-
known representatives of the UK government are holding my passport while my visa ap-
plication 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 omin-
ously 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 Fouri-
er 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 Py-
thagoras 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 Py-
thagoreans 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
166 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 -

$= \prod_p (1 - \frac{1}{p})[1 - \sum_{p_1} \frac{1}{p_{1}^{s}} + \sum_{p_1,p_2}
\frac{1}{(p_1 p_2)^s} - \cdots ]$

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
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 basic-
ally 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] -
$= 1 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{4} + \cdots = 2$,

which is almost the right answer! What does a minus sign matter, anyway? We can prob-
ably 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

The Khovanov cube for the trefoil knot contains the 8 ($= 2^3$) possible smoothing dia-
grams 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 ver-
tices 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 associ-
ated 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

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 simil-
arities 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-circu-
lants, 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 beha-
viour 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 un-
desirable 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 anoth-
er 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, con-
sider 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
172 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 sceptic-
al 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 evid-
ence 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 al-
gebra, 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 res-
ults 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. Ob-
serve 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 173
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 in-
finite 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

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 re-
ceived 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
174 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 (per-
haps 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})) \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
176 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. Non-
etheless, tomorrow I phone Australia, yet again, in an attempt to find out how my visa ap-
plication is progressing. It appears to be no longer possible to speak to Wellington. Pos-
ted 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 fla-
vours: 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 prob-
ably just plain wrong.

Then there is mottle, who recently said:

String theory is one theory, it predicts many possible vacua (Lorentz-invariant or dS-in-
variant 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 the-
orists 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 vec-
tor 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 in-
stead 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 incre-
ment 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 indefin-
itely 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 as-
sign $f(q)$ 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 us-
ing 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 rep-
resentative 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 $n$ represen-
ted by single level trees, the associahedra trees. That is, since we are allowed any num-
ber 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 associ-
ation with dimension.

Now recall that the $k$-ordinal trees can represent Batanin's polytopes, which are topolo-
gical 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

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 to-
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

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 $n$-cat-
egories using terminal coalgebras. This is very interesting since it involves both the cat-
egory Set and the category Top of topological spaces; the latter in order to supply an op-
erad 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 Math-
ematical 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
182 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 un-
usual here.

Meanwhile, the University has efficiently issued cards, keys, computing accounts and nu-
merous other useful things to help me get some research done. So I have been wonder-
ing a little about how our phenomenological MUBs might relate to, or extend, certain dag-
ger symmetric monoidal structures studied by Coecke et al.

Aside: Apparently the referees did not like Carl's paper because it uses quantum informa-
tion theory and not QCD, and they know that quantum information theory could not pos-
sibly be used to derive such patterns between particle masses. 183
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 per-
spective, 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 im-
portance 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 ob-
jects 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 Of-
fice 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 eigen-
184 vectors 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 iden-
tity): 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, hav-
ing 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
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 intro-
duction 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 confer-

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 conjuga-
tion, 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, be-
cause 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 sum-
mer 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 to-
gether 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
186 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 in-
finite 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 any-
way. 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 dimen-
sions 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 con-
tinues 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 entan-
glement. 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 com-
pared 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 dimen-
sion of the compactified piece in type IIB theory. So instead of ridiculous numbers of di-
mensions 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 al-
most 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 cat-
egorification 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 in-
sist 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, horri-
fying option: to rewrite analysis.

Topos theorists have thought quite a bit about this problem. But as simple minded physi-
cists we can always think about it more pragmatically, trying to build up the complex num-
bers 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 val-
ues. 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 $n$-or-
dinals 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
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 cat-
egorically 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 stand-
ard 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 189
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. Joy-

They prove a ( nerve) theorem characterising compact symmetric multicategories ( mod-

ular operads) in terms of Feynman graphs (which is an extension to the work in this pa-
per). 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. Any-
way, 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 cos-
mology that a child could understand. Now, thanks to the theorist Marco Frasca, Carl
190 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

$\frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{2} - \frac{1}{2} = 1$

$\frac{1}{4} + \frac{1}{4} + \frac{1}{4} + \frac{1}{4} = 1$.

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 sup-
posed 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 su-
perposition (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 bi-
products (such as the category of Hilbert spaces) it turns out that there is a unique super-
position 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 every-
where. 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 $4 \times 4 = 16$ ele-
ments in the full space. The basis cardinality was added while the vector space cardinal-
ity 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
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 maxim-
ize the entropy. They're the ultimate bound state of matter into which the matter col-
lapses 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 The-
ory, we agree wholeheartedly that black hole physics dictates the behaviour of such plas-
mas. We disagree that classical geometry, classical symmetry principles and unob-
served 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 Hil-
bert spaces and spectral triples disappear. In this brave new world, naive stringy extra di-
mensions 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
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 Bish-
op 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, en-
tailing 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. Unfortu-
nately, 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 cos-
mology 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 continu-
ally 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 ancest-
or 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 hap-
pens 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 op-
erators use only a small set of truth values. The qubit case requires the field with five ele-
ments, whereas qutrits only require the four element field.

But the factor of $i$ required in the qubit case means that one does not automatically en-
counter (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 dimen-
sion $6$. Thus there should be a measurement operator set based on the seven ele-
ment 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 di-
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 un-
successful 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 re-

These days one often comes across people in other (ie. usually not physics) depart-
ments 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 study-
ing 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 merchand-
ising 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 195
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 =

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) ver-
sion of the mixing matrix. This was the matrix that vaguely resembled a root of the CKM

Aside: A new paper by Harrison et al discusses the nearness of the CKM matrix to unitar-
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
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 April 25, 2009
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.

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 last-
ing 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

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...


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 trans-
form 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 multi-
plication 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 April 29, 2009
Wow, Tony, that's interesting. Let me take a look...

2. Re: M Theory Lesson 273

by:Kea 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 April 29, 2009
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
slides 48 and 51
show a 3-generation mass matrix

mu mc mt
md ms mb
me mmu mtau


1 e e^2
e e^2 e^3
e^2 e^3 e^4

where e = 0.04 = alpha_GUT

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,
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,
does that mean that he believes that GUT theory
is NOT ruled out by experimental observations such as Kamiokande etc. ?


Visa Update
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Is it almost May now? Yes, I thought so. Well, today I tried to contact the correct visa sec-
tion 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 April 29, 2009
Actually, I was just told that my passport will soon be returned!

2. Re: Visa Update

by:nige May 03, 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 April 30, 2009
I don't believe it! I have my passport, with permission to stay until October!

4. Re: Visa Update

by:LRiofrio April 29, 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 hollow-
point 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 2-
circulant, 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 de-
compositions 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 April 30, 2009
Hi Marni
I hear via MyFace that you have a visa extension. Yay...

3. Re: M Theory Lesson 274

by:Kea 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 sleep-
awake 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 con-
ference 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 May 02, 2009
P.S. Bob, it's re-see-pee - not re-cipe.

2. Re: Quick Update

by:LRiofrio 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)


5. Re: Quick Update

by:Kea May 05, 2009
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 May 05, 2009
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 May 05, 2009
See these war time poems from Oxford.

8. Re: Quick Update

by:TonySmith May 05, 2009
Sorry that the URLs were too long to show up.

Here they are with a line break (which must be removed) to make them visible:

My Pioneer paper is at

and a mirror site at



9. Re: Quick Update

by:TonySmith May 05, 2009
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)
female (women are smarter than men - and hugely exponentially smarter than the men
who don't know that).


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 May 05, 2009
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 ?


PS - I tried to use IMG SRC as a tag, but I got what I expected from my previous
"Your HTML cannot be acccepted: Tag is not allowed",
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 May 07, 2009
Congrats to Tommaso! I hope to say so in person sometime.

2. Re: Congratulations Tommaso

by:aquantumdiariessurvivor May 05, 2009
thank you sweety. I'll buy you a beer very soon!


M Theory Lesson 275

Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Last time we saw how a symmetric magic matrix could be decomposed into one three di-
mensional 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 re-
call 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 en-
codes 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 non-
associative operators.

M Theory Lesson 276

Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Thanks to Phil for commenting about magic matrices and MUB operators. The interac-
tion 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 differ-
ence 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 : )

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 May 07, 2009
I disagree with these conclusions. Category theory is much more elegant.

6. Re: M Theory Lesson 276

by:Kea May 10, 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 whop-
ping redshift of 8.2.
Posted by Kea at 05:45AM (+12:00)

1. Re: GRB 090423
by:MattiPitkanen May 09, 2009
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

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
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 ex-
pressed 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 tetra-
hedron 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 tri-
angles would have to be

$(1,3, \sqrt{10})$
$(5, \sqrt{10}, \sqrt{17})$
$(1,4, \sqrt{17})$ 209
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

3. Re: Taxicabs
by:PhilG May 12, 2009
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

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
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 view-
point on scattering amplitudes are quite different to those of the original string theory set-
ting. For those of us who don't like integrals, there were some nice diagrams of triangu-
lated polygons. Apparently Andrew Hodges put a new paper on the arxiv today explain-
ing 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 May 12, 2009
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);


(3) quantum gravity.

3. Re: Twistor Seminar

by:nige May 13, 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 space-
time 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

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

7. Re: Twistor Seminar

by:CarlBrannen May 12, 2009
Marni, check out the matrices in this paper.

8. Re: Twistor Seminar

by:nige 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 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 May 13, 2009
All right, thanks a lot, Nigel. Your enthusiasm is appreciated.

3. Re: Twistor Seminar II

by:nige 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 con-
tains 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 cat-
egory, independently of larger numbers. Just taking oriented simplices, for instance,
doesn't say anything at all about modular arithmetic, basically because one never ima-
gines 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

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 ...

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

by:CarlBrannen 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

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.


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 May 16, 2009
Congratulations to Carl! This gives hope to all of us.

7. Re: Force of Gravity
by:Kea May 17, 2009
Well, I missed that hour, lol! Anyway, I'm sure the talk went well.

8. Re: Force of Gravity

by:nige May 16, 2009
Well done Carl!

9. Re: Force of Gravity

by:CarlBrannen 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 Cor-
field 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 ori-
ginal 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 collabor-
ator (and active experimentalist) of the murdered physicist running the containment ex-
periment. 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 cre-
ation. 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 magic-
ally 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

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

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 re-
cently 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 re-
lativists, 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

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 con-
servation. Mason was discussing Yangian symmetries that arise from an integrable sys-
tem 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 May 26, 2009
One of these days the Higgs boson may be excluded out of existence!

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

The new building is far more impressive than I imagined it would be, since I clearly re-
member 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 May 28, 2009
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

2. Re: Perimeter
by:aquantumdiariessurvivor May 31, 2009

Wonderful! I hope you enjoy the trip!

Looking foward to meeting you soon,


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 cosmo-
logical 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 effect-
ive 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 re-
arrange 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 suc-
cessful 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 May 29, 2009
Hi Louise. Rio this winter does sound very interesting.

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

3. Re: CQC at PI
by:TonySmith May 30, 2009
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
therefore they do not consider Joy Christian's "Disproof of Bell's Theorem ..." to be

I guess that answers my question.

Tony Smith

4. Re: CQC at PI
by:TonySmith May 29, 2009

I see that the PI workshop includes sessions on such things as
Kochen-Specker (related to Bell's Theorem)
"non-locality for qubits".

What do the people there think of the work of Joy Christian ?

Particularly, his papers
which was written while he was at Perimeter
0904.4259 [quant-ph]
which was written while he was back at Oxford.

Tony Smith

5. Re: CQC at PI
by:TonySmith May 30, 2009

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
stabilizer qubit quantum mechanics (Stab) with phase group Z4
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,

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
that Edwards et al use a version of GHZ that is effectively equivalent to the Pauli matrix
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,
if Joy Christian is incorrect,
then the paper of Edwards et al may be correct,
it seems useful to determine whether or not Joy Christian is correct.

Tony Smith
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 four-
element groups,
Z4 (as in the case of Stab)
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
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,
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,
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 natur-
ally 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 hope-
fully 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


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

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-the-
envelope guesswork which is now unquestionable dogma.

7. Re: October
by:nige June 03, 2009
Hi Carl,

In that case, what's to stop you seeing radiation from the first microsecond of the big

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 June 01, 2009

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
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

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

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

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

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 June 07, 2009
Hi Carl,

'... I don't believe in the big bang.'

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 differ-
ence 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 June 02, 2009
Uh, "Physical interpretation for Riemann zeros from black hole physics"

3. Re: CQC Monday

by:LRiofrio 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 June 11, 2009
Nice, so, do you have any theme for papers in mind?

BTW, do you know Matt Visser?

3. Re: Back in Oxford

by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 June 16, 2009
OK. Next time I will ask you by email! :)

4. Re: Back in Oxford

by:DanieldeFranaMTd2 June 13, 2009
Is he an open minded and nice person?

5. Re: Back in Oxford

by:Kea June 13, 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 June 11, 2009
Daniel, there is no shortage of ideas, and yes, I have met Matt Visser.

Cool Cats
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Since the cool cats conference in Canada, I have been catching a few more Oxford sem-
inars. Yesterday, Andrew Dancer spoke about Frenkel's loop group version of the Lang-
lands Correspondence. He noted the category theorists in the audience, promising to dis-
cuss 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) beauti-
ful 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 in-
to a (now fashionable) tirade about protocols for quantum information, or two dimension-
al 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 cat-
egory 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
234 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 June 12, 2009
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
A3 = SU(4) = Spin(6) = D3 in compact version,
is where I got to thinking about the 4 of SU(4).

Tony Smith

3. Re: A Question
by:nige 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 June 13, 2009
I mean, defined in the categorical way.

7. Re: A Question
by:Qubit June 13, 2009
You can go on barking for ever, but it does not mean an apple will ever fall on your

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 June 12, 2009

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?",

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,
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

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 charge-
carrying 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 June 13, 2009

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,
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 June 12, 2009
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

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 suc-
cessful program of pest control on Raoul Is-
land, many of my kakariki friends have de-
cided to make their homes there again,
after 150 years. Posted by Kea at 03:03AM

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 ad-
vice 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

4. Re: Jordan M Theory

by:Anonymous June 21, 2009


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.
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 colloqui-
um by Nima Arkani-Hamed, called Holography and the S matrix, but secretly about com-
puting 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 sim-
plifications in scattering amplitudes for both Yang Mills and gravity. However, unlike seri-
ous fans of thermodynamic gravities (for instance, Padmanabhan) he didn't seem in fa-
vour 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 space-
time 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

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 Arkani-
Hamed 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 (
28f7586353b0e6db77b5313237636391/Spring_2009.pdf ):

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

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 June 23, 2009
Carrasco provided further information here:

Ambitwistor Holography
Monday, June 22, 2009
One of the interesting twistor ideas that I have been hearing about lately is the Ambitwis-
tor 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 $10$ dimension-
al ambitwistor component of the $12$ dimensional twistor space for $(Z,W)$. The fermi-
onic 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 Yang-
Mills 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 associ-
ated 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)

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, includ-
ing 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 dimen-
sions." 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 June 25, 2009
Somewhere towards the end he admits that he is Gina.

4. Re: The String Wars

by:Kea July 03, 2009
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
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 re-
lated 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 giv-
en 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 ap-
pears 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 J-
function which is great because the 2x2x2x2 hyperdeterminant appears in the J-
invariant. Question is, how does the monster get in?

2. Re: M Theory Lesson 281

by:Kea June 29, 2009
Ah, thanks!

3. Re: M Theory Lesson 281

by:PhilG June 28, 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 June 27, 2009
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.


2. Re: A Preprint
by:CarlBrannen 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 June 27, 2009
Carl, should we try another journal?

4. Re: A Preprint
by:CarlBrannen June 27, 2009
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
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

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 June 27, 2009
Marni, of course!

12. Re: A Preprint

by:CarlBrannen July 01, 2009
Uh, the arXiv version of that last reference is Feynman’s path integral and mutually
bases, J Tolar and G Chadzitaskos, 0904.0886, April 2009.

13. Re: A Preprint

by:nige June 27, 2009
Good luck!

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 cer-
tain 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 July 02, 2009
I did order from Amazon, and I only paid $61 for a nice hard bound copy.

2. Re: M Theory Lesson 282

by:PhilG July 02, 2009
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
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

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 refer-
ence 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

The front cover has a diagram that looks something like this: This is an example of a sec-
ondary 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. Nonethe-
less, 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 July 04, 2009
Wonderful that you and Tommaso are meeting. Paris is wonderful too.

2. Re: Summertime
by:aquantumdiariessurvivor July 05, 2009
Yep Louise, it was a wonderful afternoon with Marni. I will meet you too some day, I am


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:

Current: Clear
Wind: NW at 2 mph
Humidity: 19%

Googling you google "Oxford temperature" gives for today (Sat 4 July):

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 associ-
ahedra) 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 dia-
grams 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 cross-
ings 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 tern-
ary 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 popu-
lar 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 associahed-
ron. There are as many variables as one needs to label the sides of a square, and the di-
agonals, 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, unfortu-
nately, zero hits.
Posted by Kea at 11:27PM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 285
by:Kea July 09, 2009
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
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

That is, on the crackpot physics arxiv, rather than the gravity arxiv where it was submit-
ted, 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 July 09, 2009
As we know, archive minders have openly Stalinist beliefs.

2. Re: At Your Leisure

by:Kea July 06, 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.


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 scient-
ist. 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 ad-
ministrative 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 po-
tential 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 major-
ity 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 intellectu-
al skills able to be offered by the educational institution, agency or authority. If a scientist
256 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 rel-
evant 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 ex-
pert referees. The referees are for the most part protected by anonymity so that an au-
thor cannot verify their alleged expertise. Papers are now routinely rejected if the author
disagrees with or contradicts preferred theory and the mainstream orthodoxy. Many pa-
pers are now rejected automatically by virtue of the appearance in the author list of a par-
ticular 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 black-
listing 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 journ-
als, electronic archives, and any other media. No scientist shall have their papers or re-
ports 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 re-
search 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 other-
wise censured and prevented from publication by any other person whomsoever. No sci-
entist 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 July 06, 2009
"I don't see what the arxiv would gain by restricting readership."

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

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

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

You guys need to be writing and publishing your stuff.

5. Re: At Your Leisure II

by:nige July 06, 2009


From the helpful arXiv page: -

‘What are my responsibilities as an endorser?

‘... 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

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

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 July 07, 2009
Bizarrely, this post has a trackback.

7. Re: At Your Leisure II

by:Kea July 06, 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

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 July 06, 2009
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

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.
10. Re: At Your Leisure II
by:Anonymous July 08, 2009
Check this out!

11. Re: At Your Leisure II

by:Kea 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 sug-
gests 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 ad-
dress in the comments section. For this experiment, I will write a short paper on any sub-
ject 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 July 08, 2009
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

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 July 08, 2009
You have just given me an idea for the logo LOL.

Alternative name suggestions welcome.

6. Re: An Idea
by:PhilG July 09, 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

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 July 07, 2009
marni at comlab dot ox dot ac dot uk

10. Re: An Idea

by:Kea July 08, 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 July 09, 2009
I made publicity of the new site in my own blog, http://freelance-quantum-

I hope that you will not get disappointed with my presentation

15. Re: An Idea

by:Javier July 08, 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 pa-
pers under discussion. Unsurprisingly, this has generated comments elsewhere. Mottle
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 prob-
ably be improved by inventing a new term for string theory, to capture its latest meta-
morphosis into a background independent, holographic, information theoretic fermi liquid
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

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 July 09, 2009
Every war needs its Baghdad Bob!

6. Re: Is Everyone Dead Yet?

by:Kea 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 July 09, 2009
Second paragraph of 'Why viXra' - typo careers.

2. Re: A New Archive

by:PhilG 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.

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,
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

Tony Smith

5. Re: A New Archive

by:TonySmith July 10, 2009

Matti and Phil,

I tried to download the entire TGD web material
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
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

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,
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 off-

6. Re: A New Archive

by:MattiPitkanen July 11, 2009

Dear Phil,

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 July 21, 2009
Thanks for New Archive!
Yuri Danoyan
My blog in russian

9. Re: A New Archive

by:PhilG July 11, 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 July 11, 2009

Dear Phil and Tony,

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 July 17, 2009
Carl and I have submitted the paper on mixing matrices.

13. Re: A New Archive

by:Anonymous July 09, 2009
More typos in the fourth paragraph of the same page.

14. Re: A New Archive

by:PhilG July 09, 2009
thanks, got typo, will update shortly

15. Re: A New Archive

by:PhilG July 09, 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

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 super-
conformal 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 sub-
manifold 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 super-
conductivity 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 T-
shirt. 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. Any-
way, 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 experi-
mental constraints, with a prediction of around 120 GeV. The parameters and best fit fer-
mion 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

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 Yang-
Mills 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 July 15, 2009
I guess you will like this!

Fairy Interlude
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Higgs is the traveller and narrator in the adventures of Erewhon. He arrives in this myth-
ical land, as often in such stories, by crossing a mountainous region, which in its descrip-
tion 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 Dar-
win'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, follow-
ing 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 July 14, 2009
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

"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 non-
gravity mainstream Standard Model, breaking electroweak symmetry at low energy.

2. Re: Fairy Interlude

by:LRiofrio 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 excel-
lent 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 unpub-
lished, work. Anyway, this is the first official publication on mass matrices and the Fouri-
er 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

3. Re: Cats in London

by:Kea July 16, 2009
Nigel, just email Andreas et al, like it says. See you there!

News from home

Thursday, July 16, 2009
Fortunately, it appears that nobody was injured in today's large earthquake, which meas-
ured 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 July 16, 2009
Of course, wikipedia already has it on the the list ... faster than the news.

3. Re: News from home

by:LRiofrio July 17, 2009
Perhaps we'll someday see earthquakes as rumblings of a tiny Black Hole beneath our

4. Re: News from home

by:Kea 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 comultiplica-
tion, 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 $c$ la-
bels 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 operat-
ors 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 entangle-
ment. 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 in-
troduced 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
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 occa-
sionally 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 twis-
tor geometry is extremely helpful, because now we can write the (norm of the) hyperde-
terminant 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 cal-
culated 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 unfortu-
nately 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 July 20, 2009
*shakes head slowly at Nige*


3. Re: Fairy Update

by:Kea July 24, 2009
Nigel, go blabber on YOUR OWN BLOG.

4. Re: Fairy Update

by:MattiPitkanen July 20, 2009
This is what also I was wondering and why neither Tommaso nor Lubos mentioned

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 re-
membering the contribution of Parkes ob-
servatory in Australia, where I once briefly
worked in this same control room (suffi-
ciently long ago that it didn't look that differ-
ent to this). Posted by Kea at 03:06AM

1. Re: Apollo 11
by:Kea July 23, 2009
Yeah, great movie! I even recognised the coffee mugs.

2. Re: Apollo 11
by:LRiofrio 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 July 25, 2009
Higgs boson spotted
The mass of the Higgs is surprisingly large...

3. Re: Gina Says II

by:Gil July 24, 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 2-

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 July 25, 2009
Fairy dolls are not usually star shaped.

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 in-
stead 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 characteriz-
ing the state of reference systems. It is an experimental fact known since Greek philo-
sophers 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 July 26, 2009
Now I know where to submit papers!

3. Re: Biological Theory

by:CarlBrannen July 31, 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 July 28, 2009
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).

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 meas-
ured 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 val-
ues of $\hbar$.
Posted by Kea at 03:06AM (+12:00)

1. Re: M Theory Lesson 289
by:Kea July 27, 2009
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
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 July 28, 2009
Oh, I should link to the new paper, "Emergent Spin".

4. Re: M Theory Lesson 289

by:CarlBrannen 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.


5. Re: M Theory Lesson 289

by:Stuffy July 29, 2009
typo found on p. 20
"around 2/9 and give sthe mixing"

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 ver-
tices 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 en-

I regularly hear it rumoured, amongst colleagues, that I am no good at taking advice*. Oc-
casionally 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 assist-
ance, 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 imme-
diately urged us - along with all working cosmologists - to abandon this “ridiculous” no-
tion 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 August 02, 2009
Andrew Jaffe has a new post.

2. Re: The Imperial Force

by:Kea August 02, 2009
To begin with, watch and digest this. Then look at Riofrio's old graphs and blog posts ...

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

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 velocity-
dependent 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 previ-
ously 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 August 04, 2009
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
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 August 04, 2009
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 non-
trivially acted on by the E7(7) symmetry [9, 88, 89].

5. Re: M Theory Lesson 291

by:kneemo August 05, 2009
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

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 hypo-
thesis? Do we allow ideas that (a) permit more paper publications, and hence career ad-
vancement, 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 care-
fully 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 August 04, 2009
Louise, I hope you are enjoying Rio!

2. Re: The Farce

by:bobCoecke 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

Louise, I do not see how E + U = 0 could possibly be true if the speed of light is non-
constant. It should go without saying that these are fundamental objections, not trivial

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
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

by:Anonymous August 06, 2009
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
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 August 06, 2009

(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
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
It's hardly necessary to write more since what you have written is complete

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 August 07, 2009
U = - GMm/R

U = - (tc^3)m/(ct)

U = - mc^2


I'm having too much fun by the beach to write more.

27. Re: The Farce

by:Kea 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

by:Anonymous 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

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.

296 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 in-
volved 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 August 09, 2009
Why would they be grouped with the W?

A Sunny Day
Saturday, August 08, 2009
As one of my housemates put it, there is an unusual yel-
low 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 mis-
tress of his father Henry II, was known in the area of Blen-
heim palace.
Posted by Kea at 10:52PM (+12:00)

1. Re: A Sunny Day
by:chimpanzee August 19, 2009
Did you finally get your own camera?

2. Re: A Sunny Day

by:LRiofrio August 09, 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 evid-
ences 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 can-

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

must be constant, forcing $\hbar$ to vary, but not as in the usual description of Louise Ri-
ofrio'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 ini-
tially, 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

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 August 10, 2009
All right, Rhys, but I don't feel it is necessary to point these things out.

5. Re: Changing Light Speed

by:MattiPitkanen August 11, 2009

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.
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 H-
perspective. 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


6. Re: Changing Light Speed

by:Kea August 11, 2009

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
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 Greisen-
Zatsepin-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 August 10, 2009
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
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

11. Re: Changing Light Speed

by:Rhys August 10, 2009
"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
"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 Phys-
ics. But now, Carl has tried to post another paper on General Physics. It is most as-
suredly a completely innocent paper about certain aspects of quantum information the-
ory, and contains no offensive material of any kind. Nonetheless, the paper was re-
moved from General Physics, and Carl received an email, which starts:

From: Don Beyer [www-admin]

Subject: arXiv:0908.1209 Removed
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 August 12, 2009
That's depressing! Kea, and Carl :-(

2. Re: viXra Rules

by:PhilG 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 August 12, 2009
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
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

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

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 August 12, 2009

"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.


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.

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 August 13, 2009

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
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
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. Transla-
tion: 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 fea-
tures 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

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 Lorentz-

violating 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

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

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." -

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 Lorentz-
violating 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 num-
ber 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 giv-
en 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 im-
mediately and emphatically confirm under oath, on a stack of Newton’s Principia Math-
ematicas, 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 meet-
ings where they explained the application proceedure. I drafted the required documents
and discussed them in detail with a departmental research officer. A second department-
al research officer also looked over them and suggested helpful modifications. I com-
pleted 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, desper-
ately 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 en-

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 August 26, 2009
Proposal outline now available at here. See sidebar link.

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

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 August 23, 2009
Oh wow. Thank you for the links. I'm glad you liked my posts! :)

Gravity Goose
Friday, August 21, 2009
Recall that, at GRG18, the LIGO collabora-
tion 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 bin-
ary under the usual theoretical assump-
tions, 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 ac-
cess, 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 cos-
mic (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
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

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 ver-
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
Lubos vs the Loopies
Posted by Kea at 12:36AM (+12:00)

1. Re: The Latest Battle
by:Kea August 25, 2009
P.S. So maybe they're all wrong?

2. Re: The Latest Battle

by:Kea 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 August 25, 2009
People, not person.

5. Re: The Latest Battle

by:MattiPitkanen 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 August 25, 2009
"... I would not like to see either stringies or loopies in jail."

You are a kinder person than me.

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 begin-
ning 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 argu-
ment 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 aban-
donned 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 in-
terconnectedness 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 whole-
heartedly 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

2. Re: Computing Masses

by:Lumo August 26, 2009
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

3. Re: Computing Masses

by:Lumo August 27, 2009

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.
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

4. Re: Computing Masses

by:LRiofrio August 26, 2009
Thanx for the linx! They sound like very interesting talks.

5. Re: Computing Masses

by:Kea 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

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 state-
ments. 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
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 sub-

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 space-
time 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

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 August 30, 2009
Hi Louise. I trust in the good sense of astronomers and honest physicists.
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

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 August 30, 2009
whoa, the comment i was replying to disappeared !

3. Re: Twistor Buzz

by:kneemo August 29, 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 August 30, 2009
congrats kea :)

5. Re: Twistor Buzz

by:Anonymous 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 August 29, 2009
Physics World.

2. Re: Quote of the Week

by:MattiPitkanen August 28, 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

by:Kea 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 August 29, 2009
The Nature article.

6. Re: Quote of the Week

by:Kea August 28, 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,

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 August 31, 2009
Note that Nottale has a pile of papers on extrasolar quantization laws.

2. Re: Mighty Jupiter

by:Kea 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 August 31, 2009
"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
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 August 31, 2009
... but these usually refer to orbital quantizations and not stellar radii.

5. Re: Mighty Jupiter

by:MattiPitkanen 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

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 =
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 August 31, 2009
Thanks for the link, Nigel. I couldn't remember who had looked at this.

5. Re: Planets Galore

by:nige September 02, 2009
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

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