22 June 2006

Strings 2006 – Day 4

Yesterday I wrote that an alternative B. Greene gave a talk on cosmology at Strings 2006. In fact it was Koenraad Schalm who gave the talk. He belongs to the group of the real Brian Greene at Columbia. So what happened is that when I arrived the talk had already started. I went to the back of the room because the air-conditioning is better there. From there I could see that the speaker was not Brian Greene. He looked like Koenraad but it couldn't be him. After all, I met him when he was at Stony Brook and we discussed some calculations involving path integrals and anomalies. And this talk was on cosmology! Definitely it couldn't be Koenraad. So I was taken by surprise when he told me this afternoon that he had given the talk. He also commented that when he started the talk he said he was giving the talk in the place of the real Brian. I really have to change my glasses before I get into trouble. I mentioned Koenraad talk because it was really good. And now knowing that he went to cosmology makes it more valuable. Congratulations Koenraad and sorry for not having recognized you.

Besides that today was a heavy day. We had 5 talks in the morning and 6 in the afternoon. It is too much! Shiraz Minwalla gave an energetic talk as always. He reviewed the calculation of the partition function of N=4 gauge theories for 1/8 BPS states and the connection with giant gravitons. The next talk was by Schnabl and he described his solution of the open string field theory and the new advances. M. Green gave a nice talk about the new results for the four graviton amplitude. Stephan Hawking talked about the semi-classical birth of the universe. At the end there was a question and it took several minutes before he could make his computer answer it. It was a bit embarrassing. Some of the other talks were about emergent geometry and stringy phenomenology. The banquet at night was uneventful. Tomorrow there will be 11 lectures again. I will probably skip some of them.

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