# Video of Toronto string panel

1. Aug 8, 2005

### marcus

Last edited: Aug 8, 2005
2. Aug 8, 2005

### Kea

Hello Marcus

I just sat down and listened to the whole thing. Nice comments from Lee Smolin and Ed Witten in the audience. No one mentioned category theory. My favourite panelist was Nati Seiberg with his initial comment that he had no idea what the next revolution would be about. He also discussed emergent spaces and the idea of time as a classical concept, and the resulting problem of figuring out what context to work in.

Cheers
Kea

3. Aug 8, 2005

### marcus

thanks Kea
glad you enjoyed parts, I did too!
does anyone else have a reaction?

4. Aug 11, 2005

### marcus

Here are some highlights---the times will let you find the spot by dragging the button on your realplayer. the second half (from about 1:05 onwards) was open discussion guided by Steve Shenker. the first hour was mostly short talks by panel members.

1:08:45 - 1:12:25 Lee Smolin making the case for string theorists to work on a background independent reformulation

circa 1:23:00--1:23:28 Ketov (?, russian accent) discussing the general idea of revolution and revolutionary conditions, suddenly asks a surprise question: "Why string theory?" It is not so obvious now why one should pursue it, compared with 20 years ago, he says. Where are the results?

1:23:28 -- 1:24:28 Ketov (?) elaborates this question: why do string theory?

1:25:17 -- 1:25:45 Shenker: "Because it is the only consistent theory of quantum gravity." [I personally have difficulty with this bald statement of Shenker's, but anyway the panel demurred so he supplied this answer to Ketov's question.]

1:25:55 -- 1:26:05 Susskind's remark about hoping Bush administration continues paying us.

1:26:20 -- 1:28:50 Strominger excellent speech. we shouldn't try to sell string theory, just do it. let people fund it or not, as they please, and let
new people join in the research or not. can think of plenty of reasons to put your money on string theory and plenty of reasons NOT to. no reason for pessimism and no reason to hype the field. kind of mature and honest attitude, which stood out.

1:43:45 -- 1:44:10 Jan de Boer says when Jeho. Witn. come to his front door he always tells them that their message is horsefeathers (or equiv.) because it is not falsifiable. "Can you imagine any experiment that in the next 20 years could falsify string theory?" Shenker: "You're not supposed to be asking that! "

1:44:30 -- 1:45:40 Smolin says AUGER and GLAST mission could falsify some non-string QG. AUGER is already collecting data and expected to report in a few months, GLAST (Smolin couldnt recall the name) flies next year. String does not predict modfied Lorentz invariance, he says. He claims some other QG do

footnote: Robert Helling says the russianaccent voice could be either Sergei Ketov or Djordje Minic.

edit, need somewhere to stash this:
<a href="http://www.arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0507012" rel="nofollow">hep-th/0507012</a>

----------------------
1:36:00 -- 1:37:10 unidentified questioner in audience pointed out that in the first hour no one on the panel mentioned M-theory, was it out of fashion? had focus of interest shifted elsewhere like to AdS/CFT?

Then someone on panel (Juan Maldacena?) replied that when people say "string theory" nowadays they mean "quantum gravity" [I did not understand how this answered the question.]
Then Nathan Berkowitz (?) in the audience replied to the question by saying that in particle physics it was customary that, if something was not solved within 5 years, you forget about it.
Ashok Sen on the panel then said that solving M-theory wouldnt solve everything in string theory [again, did not understand how it responded, they seemed mostly to just be minimizing the significance/interest of M-theory without providing specific reasons. the new watchword seems to be "string theory is quantum gravity"]

Last edited: Aug 11, 2005
5. Aug 12, 2005

### εllipse

That was really cool. I only got to watch the first half, and then my connection broke (it sounded like Witten was speaking when it broke but they didn't show his picture -- was Witten the first of the audience members to speak?) but I plan to finish watching it tomorrow. I didn't understand most of it, but that stuff about time emerging from a deeper theory sounded really cool. Thanks for the link.

Last edited: Aug 12, 2005
6. Aug 12, 2005

### Kea

Marcus, you are very helpful. Some of my favourite highlights: someone (who?) yelling out that $\Omega$ was always one, and Eva Silverstein saying how some phenomenologist friends of hers always laugh at the thought of the String theorists getting together and talking about their feelings!

Cheers
Kea

7. Aug 14, 2005

### marcus

quite a few funny moments like that, if you have a time for any favorite I'd be happy if you'd post it so anyone who wants to just watch the choice moments can scroll to it

I'm glad you found some of my "table of contents" listing helpful and I thought I'd continue adding a few more times to the list. this is for the roughly 7 minute talks in the first hour by the 8 panelists

they appear in alphabetical order, with these starting times

Raphael Bousso 8:00
Shamit Kachru 16:00
Juan Maldacena 22:00
Joseph Polchinski 29:00
Nathan Seiberg 35:00
Ashok Sen 41:30
Eva Silverstein 46:45
Andrew Strominger 52:00

My favorite is Andy Strominger --- I don't agree with a lot he says but I sense a forthrightness and kind of realism and willingness to face things squarely: qualities of strength. I would encourage anyone with limited time for this video to scroll right to minute 52:00 and listen to Andy

then also scroll to 1:26:20 where Andy injects a 2 minute speech into the open discussion---it is basically courageous and optimistic, and urges not hyping the field with pretentious claims or exaggerating its promise. This speech was applauded by the audience (unusual for statements made in the second hour, during the open discussion).

the panel was intentionally chosen to be young people---potentially a new generation of leaders in other words. I think that without any official sign or designation Andy was functioning AS a leader in this 2 hour discussion.
Of course Steve Shenker the moderator, who had chosen the panel members and primed them for it, played a strong role himself.

Last edited: Aug 14, 2005
8. Aug 15, 2005

### Berislav

For some reason I can't open the video, nor download it.

9. Aug 15, 2005

### marcus

that worries me.
try going here:

http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/audio/05-06/strings/discussion/

then on that page there is a link called "Start video presentation"

when you click on "start video presentation" (I expect this is obvious to you but i will say it anyway) it should start downloading. also a "Realplayer" window should apppear.
depending on the speed of your connection it may take a few minutes to download because the whole video is two hours long.

I hope the Toronto people have not taken it down. I have it on my desktop, as do hundreds of other interested persons I would imagine, so it should remain available in any case

Last edited: Aug 15, 2005
10. Aug 15, 2005

### Berislav

Yes, well I know how to view it. :tongue2:

But when I try to open it, it won't. I'm pretty sure that it isn't a problem with my RealPlayer as I can't download it either.

11. Aug 15, 2005

### marcus

sorry for stating the obvious, Berislav
I habitually do this, in case someone else is reading and needs additional clarification

as you probably saw on this page
http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/audio/05-06/strings/discussion/
RealPlayer 7 , or something equal to that, is required
I just went there and clicked and was able to download what seems to be the same file again---but with a different label. I now have two versions of this file on my desktop---one labeled "discussion.rm" and one labeled "Strings2005-July12.rm"

it bothers me that you cannot download this. I think you would get a lot out of listening to it. (the video image does not add much except in some cases to identify the speakers)

12. Aug 15, 2005

### Berislav

I managed to open it with Internet Explorer.
Apperently, it was a problem I have with Java and Firefox. Thank you, marcus, for highlighting this video.

13. Oct 7, 2005

### marcus

I'm going to bump this in Andy Strominger's honor.
the two-hour toronto video actually contains a lot.
things to learn about human nature, different people's attitudes, hopes,
visions of future, some humor.
I think Lee Smolin contributed a lot to the discussion---despite a kind of reflex closing off that followed each of his statements, a kind of damage-control response.
anyway it is something that one can listen to more than once. I want to keep the thread handy because it has times that you can scroll to on the RealPlayer.

But also this video leaves me with a strong impression of Andy S. plaintalk realism---something that in certain situations does more to win credit and respect than any brilliant rhetoric.

Andy S. just showed up at Peter Woit blog "not even wrong". Maybe he was there before but i didnt notice. so that reminded me of him, and this two-hour toronto tape.

if you want to catch the A.S. segments of the video
he was on the panel and his 8 minutes begins at 52:00

and his was the last panelmember talk so after that there is open discussion by members of the audience with occasional responses from panel----and A.S. talks briefly again in the interval 1:26--1:29

Last edited: Oct 7, 2005