Friday, February 22, 2008

Science and religion

We have Fernando Alday here in Santiago for the next few days. He's talking about gluon scattering amplitudes in the planar limit (large number of colours) from AdS/CFT. Today he was taking us through the recurrence relations which one gets in the small ('t Hooft) coupling limit, but which, after resummation seems to give a general equation for all values of the coupling. (See Bern, Dixon and Smirnov)

In the next two lectures we will find out how Alday and Maldacena were able to use the AdS/CFT correspondence to show similar relations in the large ('t Hooft) coupling limit.

You can see one of Fernando's talks from when he was visiting last year's string programme in Cambridge here. He's a great speaker and I'm all for the use of blackboard talks whenever possible.

(See Jacques Distler's explanation from last year's Strings conference.)

A quick snap from last weekend.

The Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela is not only the end of the p.t. but also home to one of the largest incense burners in the world (Google Santiago de Compostela - I find the fact that it's so hard to find out anything about this place without it involving the p.t. rather frustrating so I'm aiming to steer searchers to something more about this place - even if on this case it is of a liturgical nature.)

The Botafumeiro was originally put in place to hide the smell of the pilgrims who had spent months on the road on the way to be relieved of their sins. It's still used today, though now it's more of a tourist attraction than a form of air conditioning. It takes several people to lift it onto the huge pulley system and six monks to swing it, and boy does it swing!

Have a look here for a simulation of the movement and a brief explanation of the mathematics behind it - I'm afraid my French is a little rusty to give a full translation.

Anyway, I took the following photo while they were loading the Botafumeiro.
Bota Fumero II
and a couple more here.


Tommy C said...

What's the p.t. Captain Cryptic?

Unknown said...

It's the religious path which people take to relieve them of their sins. It ends in Santiago de Compostela. I don't want to use the name explicitly because already trying to Google this city and wading through every man and his dog's site about the p.t is tough. Adding more noise to the search results won't help matters. If I can get Santiago known for being a beautiful place, with rich culture, a good social scene and a top-notch physics department then I'll be very happy.