Saturday, July 12, 2008


My long absence from this blog was due to a very intense week of the ongoing Monsoon Workshop in String Theory at TIFR. The workshop has been really wonderful and inspired me considerably, even if the monsoon itself has not showed signs of life in a longish while and is now making us all nervous about the state of our state (perhaps the rains will come back if we rename "monsoon" in Marathi??).

I'd like to relate a small vignette - which might not make sense to my non-scientist readers (if so, I apologise to them). A few days ago, Juan Maldacena delivered a superb public lecture here on black holes and spacetime. That evening the string theorists at TIFR took him out to dinner (at Khyber, if you want to know). Several of us were intrigued by his Powerpoint presentation, which had a number of animations depicting such things as the infinite time dilation at the horizon of a black hole. So we showered him with questions about how he had made his Powerpoint - which he was quite happy to answer. At this point my colleague Atish came up with the following gem: "The string theorists want to know how you made your Powerpoint, while the non-scientists want to know how you discovered the AdS/CFT correspondence"!

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