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Map of Bagger-Lambert papers-links, interviews

  1. Jan 23, 2009 #1


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    Map of Bagger-Lambert papers--links, interviews


    This is an interesting development in String/M, very recent, most papers just appeared in the past year or two.

    The map shows the most highly cited papers and their approx. degree of connectedness. The map give access to the abstracts, the papers, and also to two Sciencewatch interviews, one with Bagger&Lambert and one with Berman.

    Some math here seems interesting in its own right. Generalization of Lie algebra to something called a "3-algebra". An analog of a commutator (of two elements A,B) which is called an associator (of three elements A,B,C) and which they antisymmetrize.

    Interview with Jonathan Bagger and Neil Lambert

    David Berman interview

    These interviews help provide perspective because the researchers are asked to explain the significance of their work in plain language and to say why they think their papers are currently highly cited and why Bagger-Lambert stuff is forming a new research front.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
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  3. Jan 23, 2009 #2


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    Re: Map of Bagger-Lambert papers--links, interviews

    Here is Neil Lambert's home page, at King's College London
    His personal statement is calmly informative and forthright from his point of view.

    "...My reseach is primarily concerned with... String theory is generally (but certainly not universally) considered to be the most promising route to a fundamental quantum theory of Nature ...

    However to date the fundamental principles that define string theory are not really known. Rather there exist five different perturbative descriptions, which are valid in ten dimensional spacetime; that is five sets of rules that tell us how to compute physical quantities order by order in some expansion parameter. It is now widely believed that there is a single underlying eleven dimensional theory, known only as M-theory, that unifies these various perturbative descriptions and will, once it is better understood, provide a complete definition of what string theory is...

    Most recently I have be studying ... In general there is a lack of understanding of such inherently time-dependent processes in string theory and progress here promises to teach us a great deal about the fundamental degrees of freedom in string theory.

    I am also interested in attempts to find realistic, i.e. inflating, cosmologies from string/M-theory. A curiosity of this particular problem is that string/M-theory tends to predict many different possible universes, some like our own, but some almost unimaginably different. However, for all the myriad of universes that string/M-theory can account for, there is to date no satisfactory model of a cosmologically inflating spacetime.

    Although it seems very unlikely that this problem could ever experimentally falsify string theory, it does seems as if the recent advances in cosmological observations could tell us something about how we should think of string theory. For example one may ask questions such as whether or not string theory predicts a unique universe. If so, is it our universe? And if not, how many are there and how many look like ours? Increasingly the first option looks highly unlikely. Therefore we must face up to the second possiblity. This may well raise many "cocktail party" philosophical debates but it also begs the question as to whether or not string theory could ever be developed into predictive scientific theory..."

    My sense, on first encountering Lambert, is of a secure gifted young (37-ish) mathematician. Whose creativity may in time contribute in fields outside string. Someone whose career I want to remember to check on now and then. And I want to see where this idea of a "3-algebra" goes. This is just a first impression and I will try to correct or fill it out some if I find out more. May have done undergrad at Toronto and PhD Cambridge '96.

    I suppose that Bagger-Lambert stuff will be big at the Strings09 in Rome, around last week of June. In any case we will see.


    I think Bagger-Lambert's first use of the 3-algebra idea may have been in this paper
    and then more explicitly in this paper
    (which seems to spell out what's going on more patiently than their 2008 paper)
    Of course just having recently encountered this, as a spectator, I can't say if they actually invented this algebraic idea or simply adapted and applied it.
    Their first paper that has the term in the title is http://arxiv.org/abs/0807.0163
    Three-Algebras and N=6 Chern-Simons Gauge Theories
    This again gives a definition of what a 3-algebra is, so you could start there, but it's more concise.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
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