This time over in Europe I had a month of intense travelling and work. In Berlin I visited Marius Oancea, Jeremie Joudioux and Lars Andersson to finish up our review on the current state of research concerning the gravitational spin Hall effect of light (online soon). We also talked about a strategy to tackle some of the open questions discussed in the review.
The visit in Regensburg with Felix Finster was mostly dedicated to prepare the meeting with Jürg Fröhlich and Tom Ilmanen at ETH Zürich the following week. The meeting in Zürich was aimed to understand whether and how the Causal Fermion System Framework and the ETH approach to Quantum Mechanics can fit together. After three days of intense discussion, we had to come to the conclusion that at present it is not possible to establish a solid link between the two. The discussion gave me a clear picture where further work is needed to further develop Felix’ CFS framework. However it was great to see that the CFS framework held up to a three day intensive scrutiny by Jürg and Tom even if we were not able to fully convince them of the framework.
At ETH I also found time for a quick coffee with Christoph Niedermann whom I used to be in close contact with during my time on the board of VSETH. Besides catching up, we discussed how PhD programs are structured in different academic institutions.
This years annual meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Mathematical Physics took place in Merimbula. Probably the smallest airport I’ve ever flown from. It was interesting to see what is going on in other fields of mathematical physics and to meet the people around here, as well as this little birdy in the picture. Before the conference I had two days to explore the beautiful surroundings of Merimbula. Which I can really recommend.
My last trip in this crazy year lead me to Brisbane, where the weather in this time of the year can best be described by “blue sky with occasional sprinkles of holy shit what a storm”.
I had the pleasure to give an introductionary talk to Causal Fermion Systems at the Physics Department of the University of Queensland. There I also had a chance to discuss with Magdalena Zych her recent results on the implications for causality when the center of mass of an object is in superposition at two different locations.
Further I had the chance to go on a dive with my friend from school back home, Cedric van den Berg who is studying the role of visual information in marine ecosystems for his PhD.
I started my trip in Berlin with a visit back at the AEI admitting defeat on a bet with Marius Oancea (I promised him a first draft for our paper to the end of the trip, which I failed, so he gets to choose a costume for my next talk in Berlin). Then on Saturday I took part in the second edition of Kieznerds. Kieznerds is a follow up initiative of the Berlin March for Science crew. The idea is to bring science into the neighborhoods where people live. To initiate eye level conversations and make people aware that most science is done by absolutely normal people and not some crazy genius superstars.
Next I went for a quick vacation back in Switzerland and on the way back I stopped in Regensburg. There I talked with Felix Finster about the possibilities of a compatibility of Jürg Fröhlich’s ETH interpretation of Quantum Mechanics with the Causal Fermion System Framework.
My visit in Regensburg ended with a talk about my resent ideas around cosmology based on mechanisms provided by the Causal Fermion System Framework. A preprint should be ready soon, stay tuned.
I finished my trip with a stop at The Bear. A storytelling event in Berlin. I will link my story in the Science Communication section as soon as it is available online.
For once I make room here for another mascot: Say hi to ALGEE . So Mental Health First Aid is a thing here in Australia which is pretty cool. and ALGEE is the mascot for MHFA. I think such courses should be mandatory for any leadership position as much as normal first aid is for a driving license. It is a two day course and covers mostly emergency intervention and knowledge of professional support structures.
The second stop on my trip was Leipzig. There I attended the workshop “Progress and Visions in Quantum Theory in View of Gravity” At the Max Planck for Mathematics in Science. The program put a lot of emphasis on discussions. Probably by far my most favorite conference so far. The discussions ranged from philosophical questions on the nature of time to more practical ones such as creating a quantum gravity wish list (what do we expect from a candidate theory to be taken serious) to more mundane questions of academic politics. (“Why is String Theory still a thing?”)
The second event was a panel discussion organized by the Werner-von-Siemens-Ring Foundation where I was given the chance to act as a critical commentator to the discussion. The panel was staffed prominently but unfortunately there were only few young people present and even fewer women.
To round of the week I had a chance to present my ideas for discussions at the Digital Salon organized by Dirk Helbling. I presented a sketch for internet based science publishing system that makes use of the full capabilities digital platforms have to offer.
On a quick trip to Oxford I had the honor of Sir Roger Penrose attending my informal seminar talk on the shadow of black holes and their degeneracies. What a magnificent scientist. His contributions to the understanding of general relativity are only matched by very few people in the world and many of the outstanding open problems can be traced back to him. (yes I m a little fan boy 😀 )
Further I had the pleasure of extended discussions with Jan Sbierski on T-orthogonal trapping and the gravitational Spin-Hall effect.
I got to present our results on black hole shadows at the 15. Marcel Grossmann Meeting in Rome. This years meeting was very heavy on the physics side and little mathematical relativity. It was interesting to get an update on recent progresses in observations. It was evident on the theoretical side of the event, that the recent dramatic progress in observations, particularly towards the strong field regime of gravity, enables the test of modified theories. It seems to be the biggest fashion at the moment to modify gravity in any possible way, doing some basic checks and throwing it out as a new model (possibly fitting some observations here and there a little better). The interesting points I picked up:
When people talk about “raw data” it is in fact often highly contaminated by and constructive gravity provides an interesting link between the dynamics of the matter models and the dynamics of the geometry it couples to.
On the down side there were some questionable talks admitted to the meeting, which I think is inappropriate for one of the flagship conferences of the field of gravitation.