Wednesday, 25 May 2011

LC2011: day 1.

Talks begin at 9am. At 9:11am the first mobile phone rings and the first person is asleep.

The conference begins with a five year old, rather too hype-filled discussion of Ads/cft/qcd and the wonderful things you can do by wrapping branes about each other. He is pleasingly honest in admitting that AdS/CFT has taught us nothing about real QCD.

Coffee and doughnuts! No-one speaks to me.

The second speaker begins with a sycophantic eulogy to Stan Brodsky, who is actually in the audience. Stan responds in kind. This goes on for several minutes. Just before the tears start to fall the speaker gets to his outline. It is 15 items long. The slides are almost blacked out with text. We have here yet another 50 year old physicist who can't write a talk. I die a little.

The morning session deteriorates into a bunch of wrinkly old sods cheerfully slapping eachother on the back. I vomit a little.

The topic of the day is AdS/QCD using lightfront approaches, in particular soft wall vs. hard wall models. There are, interestingly, several agressive questions from the audience about the physical relevance of all this research. In particular how the approach deals with stuff like the angular momentum of the proton, which it seems is something we should care and worry about. The answer to all such questions is simply "we'll probably be able to do it..."

Speakers begin to leave the conference entire.

There is some more simpering praise for various elderly physicists. Someone is annoyed that scalar fields are being used to model coloured particles. He interrupts with "I don't mean to interrupt but..." which is an arse-clenchingly irritating thing to say.

Advice: if your outline takes more than 30 seconds to present, it's not a fucking outline.

What astonishes, impresses and depresses me is that people can listen to all this badly presented complex crap and ask clever pointed questions about it, even if they admit they don't understand it. How do they do that? I am literally switched off.

Some people say some sensible things about confinement. It's all based on instantons and merons, it seems. Clearly I don't understand instantons in euclidean theories, because he's reduced his entire configuration space (of gauge fields) to just these configurations and says that does everything. Apparently the YM vacuum is a liquid crystal. That's nice.

Trousers which go up to the ribs. Astounding. I am eating way too many doughnuts.

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