All posts by nickhggtt

New Video: String Theory Lecture Series

We have just posted a course of six lectures, explaining the basic formal and conceptual framework of string theory, suitable for those with a basic understanding of quantum mechanics and spacetime theory — those with a general familiarity with philosophy of physics, say. They were filmed last year at the University of São Paulo, with an audience of mostly physics undergraduates. You can find them here. Enjoy!


Happy new year – and a new video

Happy new year from the project – it will be a few weeks before we get going with speakers (, but we will be publishing some new videos: to start off, a lecture that I gave at the University of Washington in the Fall on the emergence of space in string theory, now in our BST-POP playlist: Enjoy.

de Haro speaks at UIC

Please join us for an essay prize winning talk at UIC on Wednesday – 1430 of University Hall, at 11.15am (or via Skype in Geneva): full details above.

• Wednesday 14 November 2018 at UIC – Sebastian de Haro (Amsterdam): On Theoretical Equivalence and Duality

Abstract: Theoretical equivalence and duality are two closely related notions: but their interconnection has so far not been well understood. In this paper I explicate the contribution of a recent schema for duality to discussions of theoretical equivalence and physical equivalence. I argue that duality suggests a construal of theoretical equivalence for the physical sciences. The construal is in terms of the isomorphism of models, as defined by the Schema. I illustrate the construal in various formulations of Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory, and in electric-magnetic duality. In terms of technical difficulty, this talk rates 3/5

David Wallace Talk This Week

Wednesday 17 October 2018 at UIC – David Wallace (Southern California): Why black hole information loss is paradoxical

Abstract: I distinguish between two versions of the black hole information-loss paradox. The first arises from apparent failure of unitarity on the space- time of a completely evaporating black hole, which appears to be non- globally-hyperbolic; this is the most commonly discussed version of the paradox in the foundational and semi-popular literature, and the case for calling it ‘paradoxical’ is less than compelling. But the second arises from a clash between a fully-statistical-mechanical interpretation of black hole evaporation and the quantum-field-theoretic description used in derivations of the Hawking effect. This version of the paradox arises long before a black hole completely evaporates, seems to be the version that has played a central role in quantum gravity, and is genuinely paradoxical. After explicating the paradox, I discuss the implications of more recent work on AdS/CFT duality and on the ‘Firewall paradox’, and conclude that the paradox is if anything now sharper. The article is written at a (relatively) introductory level and does not assume advanced knowledge of quantum gravity.

11.15am local Chicago time, 1430 University Hall — or via Skype to the University of Geneva talks in room L208.

Smolin and Wüthrich video posted

A couple of nice new videos just posted:

First Lee Smolin’s amazing lecture from the Midwest Summer School, reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to QG, and his reflections on where to go from here:

Second Chris’ lecture from the Split summer school on black hole entropy and holography: