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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-