Thursday, December 09, 2004
While I was in Sweden, everyone was naturally excited about the upcoming Nobel Prize lectures. As you know, the Physics prize was given to David Gross, David Politzer, and Frank Wilczek for the discovery of asymptotic freedom (the phenomenon by which the force between quarks becomes weaker, rather than stronger, at short distances). All of the laureates give lectures on their work, although occasionally someone will wander off topic -- Einstein won the prize for the photoelectric effect, but talked about general relativity in his lecture.
So people were quite curious about David Politzer's scheduled talk, which had the provocative title "The Dilemma of Attribution." Now the lectures have apparently been given, but I can't find any indication of what Politzer talked about; does anyone know? Eventually the talks will appear online, but that hasn't happened yet; the news articles give every indication of being written before the events they describe.
In other news, we're talked a lot about the idea of sending robots to service the Hubble Space Telescope. They could never do as good a job as an ordinary manned servicing mission, but NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe seems set on the idea. Now a National Academy of Sciences study has come out strongly in favor of a manned shuttle mission. We'll see if it makes any difference.