String Theory, a collection of David Foster Wallace’s writings on tennis will be out next month.1 The five pieces in the book include his NY Times’ essay on Federer and a 1991 piece from Harper’s. John Jeremiah Sullivan wrote an introduction, which was published recently in the New Yorker.
The collection is also available on the Kindle, without the Sullivan intro.
Embiggen, the fauxcabulary word created for an episode of The Simpsons, has found its way into string theory. Here’s the usage from a recently published paper on Gauge/gravity duality and meta-stable dynamical supersymmetry breaking:
Here’s the original quote from The Simpsons episode, Lisa the Iconoclast:
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.
The uses are probably not related, but you never know.
Jim Holt reports on a pair of books that argue that string theory is hurting theoretical physics. The article contains a good overview of the history and current status of the theory. For those looking to discover which book is better, Holt recommends Smolin’s The Trouble with Physics.
On the heels of two books critical of string theory, a look at the string theory backlash.
The existence and behavior of dark matter is puzzling indeed, but some UK astrophysicists speculate that adding three more spacial dimensions to the universe explains the gravitational behavior of dark matter. If they exist, these extra dimensions would be about a nanometer across. A baby step toward string theory?