Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Happy Witten’s Day!

My calendar says it is Witten’s birthday today. Hence this post’s title.

Many people have heard of Schrödinger’s cat but how many people have heard of Witten’s dog?

Thought Experiment

Most people follow Newton’s laws of motion but how many can truly say they understand the Newton-Witten equation?

Most people have no idea where this is going but then neither do I. Though, I do hope he does not remember the day almost a decade ago when I was able to “offend” him in a short walk to Stony Brook train station by suggesting he should have done something else or gone to some other place or some such thing. I also do not want to remember such “offensive” things for obvious reasons. However, I do remember that I was going for a haircut on that day and today I realize I need, very urgently, another haircut. But then it is raining heavily today and tomorrow is another day of lockdown here. So better to postpone this trip to the barber shop till next month.

With this existential crisis out of the way, let me read one of his papers today on the occasion of Witten’s Day. (I guess that is how one celebrates (t)his day!) Hmm… interesting! Let’s make it two as I choose the following papers (taking up less than 20 pages):

2004.14192 & 2005.12336

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Post-20 World…

What would the post 2020 world look like? One might wonder at this point in time… But who knows? I mean, who really knows? Really, who at all?


Anyway, that’s not what the title of this post refers to. It refers to the fact that I crossed the 20 papers mark this month, last month, this year depending on how you count. But let’s keep it simple and count the entries on InspireHEP (20), subtract my thesis (-1) and add two papers from IITKGP that are not there (2) so we get a total of 21. And that’s definitely crossing the just-made-up-number-for-this-post of 20 last month.

Now one may be wondering: Am I proud of this “achievement”? Not really, but I am “proud” of the last few papers I’ve written. That sentence may sound like I’m suggesting am not proud of some papers written before those. Precisely, that’s what it rightly suggests as I’m indeed not proud of a couple of those papers. But that’s a story for another day, when I don’t have much better things to do than to reminisce about things that didn’t exceed my expectations.

Of course, no scientific activity is done in vacuum (in a metaphorical sense, I guess), it is a result of collaboration, knowingly or unknowingly. And talking of collaborations, I seem to have had only two long-time collaborators: Warren Siegel and Marcos Crichigno. Former for obvious reason and latter also for obvious reasons. On last count, I have 6 papers with both (no overlap). With every other collaborator (of whom there are many, which surprises me!) I have only a single paper (tons of overlap). That may change in near future but I like the numerology as of now.

Another interesting fact, one of my last year’s paper’s list of authors abbreviates to AB²J²M! For the unfamiliar ones, ABJM is another well-known (to those who know-it-well) abbreviation for authors of this paper: O. Aharony, O. Bergman, D. L. Jafferis, J. Maldacena. The ABJM theory is like a harmonic oscillator for 3d supersymmetric theories, just like N=4 super Yang-Mills is for 4d ones.

Talking about my papers, how can I not talk about my parody papers from yesteryears? These are the two: 2010 and 2014. You might find that the latter has some overlap with my newest paper, which is purely coincidental. (Ya, right!) I guess I’ll leave it at that for now with the interesting facts about my publication record.

Oh, you might have noticed that my site has got a new coat of paint. That’s because Google is transitioning people from the old Sites to new Sites so I had to do the transformation sooner or later. I think it looks all right and it displays nicely on all sorts of devices. But gone are the days when one could edit the HTML code directly. That’s why the font colour is just black and blue on the pages on this new site!

To finish this post, I will leave you with one Sher from the last Ghazal of Rahat Indori who passed away on 11 August:

वबा ने काश हमें भी बुला लिया होता
तो हम पे मौत का एहसान भी नहीं होता

Waba ne kaash hamein bhi bula liya hota
To ham pe maut ka ehsaan bhi nahin hota

How I wish the epidemic had claimed me
Death would not have then indebted me

राहत इंदौरी (Rahat Indori)

Thursday, August 13, 2020

End of A Legend

The one who knew he was a great Shayar who would recite great Shers once in a while (preceded by a warning)…

ये चंद लोग जो बस्ती में सबसे अच्छे हैं
इन्ही का हाथ है मुझको बुरा बनाने में

Ye chand log jo basti mein sabse achhe hain
Inhi ka haath hai mujhko bura banane mein

These few good people in village
Are the reason I turned out bad

– राहत इंदौरी (Rahat Indori)

…is no more.

The one who stood up to the Sun…

पसीने बांटता फिरता है हर तरफ सूरज
कभी जो हाथ लगा तो निचोड़ दूंगा उसे

Paseene baanTta phirta hai har taraf sooraj
Kabhi jo haath laga to nichod dunga use

The Sun keeps dispensing sweat all over the world
If I ever get my hands on it, I’ll surely wring it dry

…will be surely missed.

I have translated a few more Shers of his in a couple of posts in the past: here and here (the two above are copied from the latter). Let me do one new translation (as always, read the page titled "Shayari" on this blog if you haven't read it already) in his honor, where he points out the irony in being a consumer and a product:

खड़े हैं मुझको खरीददार देखने के लिए
मैं घर से निकला था बाज़ार देखने के लिए

Khade hain mujhko khariddaar dekhne ke liye
Main ghar se nikla tha bazaar dekhne ke liye

Standing out there for me are buyers surveying
I had went out of my house for market surveying

Let us end this post with one of the last of his recitals from earlier this year.

Recital at Jashn-e-Rekhta

Rahat Indori