Here’s some good news about Azimuth:
1. George Musser, a science writer who is an editor for Scientific American, is coming to the Centre for Quantum Technologies here in Singapore from 10 October to 17 December 2011. I found this out in a Google Plus conversation when I happened to mention I was in Singapore. He will be visiting to write a book on “nonlocality and emergent spacetime”. But when I said I’m also interested in climate change, he suggested that we write a couple of joint blog posts on that! This is great news. He has written about “detection and attribution” questions.
2. I am hiring Brendan Fong as an intern during September 2011. He has just graduated from the mathematics department at Australian National University and is starting a masters in mathematics and the foundations of computer science at Oxford in October 2011. He has written a thesis on algebraic geometry, but now he’s working on image analysis for plant growth modelling, with Jinhai Cai of the Phenomics and Bioinformatics Research Centre at the University of South Australia. He wants to help with the ‘network theory’ program we’ve been discussing here
3. On Google Plus, Cameron Smith has expressed interest in writing an article for the Azimuth Blog. He has done work on synthetic biology, but now he’s interested in gene regulatory networks and multi-level selection theory in evolutionary biology. Best of all, he’s interested in applying elegant math, like category theory, to these topics! So, I’m hoping he’ll explain some of his thoughts here, and we can discuss them, and ideally push them forwards a step or two.
As you’ll note, two of these three items are directly due to Google Plus. (The third is due to this blog, which Brendan has been reading.) So, Google Plus may be a useful way of making connections and accelerating the growth of the Azimuth Project!
Meanwhile, over on the Azimuth Forum, we’ve been having an interesting discussion of Milankovitch cycles, enlivened by the new presence of Marcel Bökstedt, an algebraic topologist who has gotten interested in climate science. A lot of what we’re discussing will eventually find its way into This Week’s Finds, so I mention it only in case you want to peek into the kitchen and see what’s cooking!
On another note, Lisa and I are going to China tomorrow. First to Beijing, where I’ll give a talk on Energy, The Environment and what Mathematicians Can Do at Capital Normal University, and she’ll try to buy a guqin:
That’s not Lisa, but you get the idea: a guqin, also simply known as a qin is a zither-like instrument. The prefix gu- means ‘old’, and this instrument is mentioned in Chinese writings dating back almost 3,000 years.
Then, on Tuesday, we’ll take a train up to Changchun, which is about 500 kilometers west of Vladivostok:
There will be a mathematics workshop at Jilin University up there, and I’ll give a series of lectures on how the octonions let us construct category-theoretic structures good for doing superstring theory.
But before the workshop, there will be an excursion to Changbai Mountain from August 3rd to 6th. This is part of a mountain range near the border with North Korea:
or, on a warmer day:
Changbai Mountain is actually a volcano, and the lake occupies a caldera formed by an explosive eruption that occurred around 969 AD. Debris from this eruption has been found as far as the island of Hokkaidō in Japan. In 2011, experts in North and South Korea met to discuss the chances of a significant eruption in the near future.
So, if it blows up while I’m in Changchun: goodbye, it was nice knowing all of you!
Otherwise, I’ll be back on August 12th.