Saturday, 23 August 2008

String 2008 Summary

My winners in the most prestigious categories.
  • Best Talk: Fernando Alday on Scattering Amplitudes via AdS/CFT . The word of the Lord, though always faithful, may be vague and subject to interpretation. Fortunately, PR stuff like annunciations and revelations is sometimes handed over to His seraphims who are able to beautifully explain a difficult technical subject. Plus a lilting Argentinian accent as a bonus in the live version.
  • Worst Talk: Renata Kallosh on String Theory and Cosmology. A speaker with little to say and little communication skills is a common sight. Changing to an orthogonal subject in the middle of the talk added a new quality and has won her this competition.
  • Best Review Talk: Lance Dixon on Structure of Amplitudes in Gauge Theory and Gravity, described here at more length.
  • Best Mobile Ringtone: Andy Strominger with the Pink Panther theme.
  • Best Performance: Shiraz Minwalla. To communicate his message, he uses four octaves and massive body language techniques. Some of the figures might have earned him a medal in the Beijing gymnastics competition. If you're not on the floor you may notice that the scientific part is very good too.
  • Toughest Computation: Romek Janik, with the anomalous dimension of the Konishi operator tr$\Phi_i^2$ at 4 loops on the gravity side of AdS/CFT. All he got for his effort who a scolding from David Gross who wants a moratorium on testing AdS/CFT.
  • Best Participant: Lubos Motl, even though off-shell. Probably the first live commentary in the history of physics conferences.
  • Best Andy Warhol double: Matthias Staudacher.

See also the official summary talk slides and Peter's review of David Gross outlook talk.

It's over now, the string theorists are slowly leaving, the CERN theorists are again the geekiest geeks in town.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh nooo.... the worst talk, undoubtedly, was Polyakov's. Incomprehensible as always.

Most entertaining and charming, on the other hand, was Ooguri.

And the first price for misleading commentary goes to Peter Woit.