Maldacena on the Beach

As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently attending the Simons Workshop in Mathematics and Physics at Stony Brook University. The weather finally warmed up today, and we relocated to Smith Point Beach to hear Juan Maldacena tell us a bit about AdS/CFT and gluon scattering. If you’re looking for a precis of the talk, I’m afraid I’m not going to give it a try, but I’ll commend you to the paper if only so you can read about the beautiful wire frames.

This is actually the second workshop for me this summer. Before coming here, I had the opportunity to spend three weeks at the Aspen Center for Physics. These workshops have been wonderfully productive and are a great chance to get together with one’s colleagues in an unstructured environment and see what happens. Not that conferences don’t have their uses, but the wall-to-wall talks don’t leave much time for productive work. If you put enough physicists and mathematicians together with a few random chalkboards and whiteboards and nothing else to do, however, great things can happen. And, if not, at least it tends to be amusing.

And there’s nothing wrong with mountains or the beach either.

(incidentally, in addition to funding this workshop and many other worthwhile causes, Jim Simons also got a few friends together to help fund Brookhaven National Labs for some weeks last year.)